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iPhone GUI Inconsistencies: Take 1

The iPhone offers many ways to send mail. Unfortunately, consistency is not the strong point here. You'd imagine Apple would have designed a single universally recognized "compose email" button and placed it more-or-less in the same place for each application. You'd be wrong. Here's a quick run-down of several extremely different ways to create a new message across several programs:

  • Compose Button. The compose button, which looks like a square with a pencil through it, appears at the bottom right of many Mail screens and in the SMS Text application at the top-right of the screen. The Reply/Forward button appears just to the left of the Compose icon in Mail. Tap this to reply to a message or forward it on to another party.
  • Envelope Icon. In the Notes application, the envelope icon appears on the bottom of the page, to the left of the garbage can. Tap it to email the current note.
  • Use-For Icon. The use-photo-for icon appears at the bottom left of the screen. It looks like a rectangle with an arrow jumping out of it-the arrow is basically a mirror of the Reply/Forward button. Tap this and select Email Photo from the pop-up menu.
  • Share. You can share YouTube video and Safari URLs by email. Tap the Share button on the Information page in YouTube and in the navigate-to-URL screen in Safari. To find this in YouTube, tap the blue reveal button located to the right of the video name. In Safari, tap on the URL bar and then look up and to the left.

So why so many ways to do what is essentially the same task? This inconsistent design speaks volumes to me about rushing the iPhone to market. It's as if the different groups simply didn't have time to communicate with each other and standardize the way they do what is truly a core task with consistent icons and naming. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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