Thursday, September 6, 2012

Phone Call screen in Windows Phone

   I've wanted to write this post for quite a while but I've always postponed it as it is a very subjective matter. In the end I decided to write my opinion. Windows Phone is really great but there are some aspects that could be improved and seem that have been designed in a hurry and never finished. One of this aspects, and it is not what this post is about, is the Application List. It is ugly and not very usable. How is it possible that Windows Mobile had before anyone else folders/groups but they are still missing in Windows Phone after more than 2 years? The application list really needs improvements/redesign.
    This post instead is about the Phone call screen. I've have always had problems with my windows phone devices starting with the Omnia 7 and ending with my Lumia 800 (I've actually tried 3 different Lumia 800 all of them gave me the same problem). The short story is that I am able to drop the call with my face by pressing the Endcall button, put the call on speaker, put it on mute or hold. I am not the only person that has these problems: my wife has the same problem with her new Lumia 710 and also heard from other people. It is a combination between the proximity sensor that activates the screen and the way I am holding the phone. So I've wondered if maybe there is a better location for the Endcall button.
    Lets start with a photo I've found on the web  (have no idea who she is) :
If you look at the way she is holding her phone (which I think is 90% of the cases) the upper part of the screen is in contact with the face. Let's presume that by a faulty behavior (bad driver, hardware fault, OS fault or the fact that the hardware and the software are not designed by the same company) the screen turns on while you talk. The highest probability to touch the screen with the face is in the upper half of the screen. Let's see what it means in Windows Phone:
So it is Endcall, Speaker, Hold, and Mute (exactly my case).

If you look again at the picture you can see that the less exposed part of the touchscreen(so the better choice for the buttons location)  is the lower part of the screen. The lower you go the smaller the probability is, so the best choice for the End call button is the lower part of the screen (this way you minimize the probability to press the button on faulty behavior). This is exactly (I don't know if this is the reason) what iPhone and Android did:
Both of them have chosen to put the End call button near the lower part of the touch screen. For Android (which also depends on the hardware implementation) Google concentrated all the buttons at the lower part of the screen. On the iPhone they kept the other buttons in the center region but they do have really good control over the hardware and putting a call on hold or mute is not as bad as dropping the call.
So it would be better to move the buttons in the lower part of the screen. The blank space could be filled with social information, last call, email, sms. 
Hope we will see some improvements in Phone Call screen in Windows Phone 8


  1. I also really wish they would give me the option to PASTE a phone number that I want to call into the dialer. I've needed that several times and it can't be done at this point. My HTC phone never accidentally presses buttons with my face because they have a sensor that shuts down the screen when you put the phone to your ear. Very nice.

  2. No - they did NOT improve windows 8 phone. I have the same problem, and it appears I'm not the only one. Thanks for the blog article. I've put in a complaint to Microsoft Windows feedback, but doubt it will do any good. I've ended 2 out of 3 calls I've made from my new phone.

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