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What Were They Thinking

Articles about stupid things I see out in the world. This page lists all posts in the category, in reverse chronological order.

  • Note: An AI Generated pill displayed in the list below indicates that the post description displayed on the page was generated from the post content using Generative AI (GenAI). The post content itself was written by a human (me).

  • What Were They Thinking 14

    Posted August 18, 2013  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    OK, so I was registering my daughter for fall Soccer (That's Football to most of the world) at the local YMCA. The person behind the counter scanned my membership card, so had all of the information she needed to complete the registration except for payment. Actually, that's not true – they automatically transfer the monthly fee from my checking account, so they even had the information they needed to collect payment as well.

  • What Were They Thinking 13 – VZ Navigator

    Posted April 30, 2013  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    While I worked at AT&T, I became a big fan of the TeleNav Navigator application which later became AT&T Navigator. The interface was intuitive and it worked pretty well. When I joined SAP, they gave me a Verizon BlackBerry 9900 and I lost access to the navigation solution I was accustomed to using. On Verizon, they have their own navigation solution called VZ Navigator; here's what it looks like:

  • What Were They Thinking 12

    Posted May 9, 2012  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    For several years now, I've been writing articles for this site that analyze poorly designed mobile applications.  It has always amazed me how mobile application developers just don't seem to think about how their applications would be used and the 'What were they thinking?' series of articles was born. It rarely takes me more than a few seconds to see where these applications fail.

  • What Were They Thinking 11

    Posted October 25, 2011  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    US Airways is such a technology unsavvy airline. I've been signed up for alerts for a long time now, but they just refuse to alert me when it's time to check in for example. Their day of travel alerts are next to useless as well (see Figure 1). They're notifying me that my flight is expected to be on time, but they refuse to tell me what gate the flight is scheduled to depart from.

  • What Were They Thinking 10

    Posted October 20, 2011  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    In preparation for BlackBerry DevCon 2011, RIM released this year's version of the DevCon mobile application. I've written here about this application and the BlackBerry World (WES) conference applications over the years and I've never been quite happy with the applications. I've always felt that the applications were hard to use and included features that just weren't needed in an application like this. My belief was that RIM focused too much on making a flashy, showcase application instead of focusing in an application that got the job done as efficiently as possible.

  • What Were They Thinking 9 (RIM Again)

    Posted July 13, 2011  in BlackBerry, What Were They Thinking

    For a long time now, I've been running a series on mobile applications, highlighting where developers build an application for a mobile device without really paying attention to the mobile device or the needs of the mobile user.  In this article, I'm going to shift gears and talk about something related to mobile, but not directly to mobile applications. I've written about this company many times before, let's take a look…

  • What Were they Thinking 8 (part 2)

    Posted May 6, 2011  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    A few hours after posting my article about the BlackBerry World conference application, RIM released an update to the program. I can't imagine what change would be so important to release an update to the application in the middle of a four day conference, but they did. Must have been a bug.

  • What Were they Thinking 8

    Posted May 4, 2011  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    I'm at the BlackBerry World conference this week and I thought it was a good time to add an article to the What Were They Thinking series. The example for this article is the conference application for the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. RIM has hired different developer organizations to create the different applications, there was the Sweet Ceasar applications commissioned for the BlackBerry Developer conference which used so many fancy screen effects that the application was unusable. What happens is RIM is trying to demonstrate how cool applications can be on the BlackBerry platform and encourage these developers to do all sorts of fancy things to highlight that. Unfortunately what you end up getting is something unusable and this year's BlackBerry World Conference application is no exception. When you focus on flash rather than functionality, the end user suffers.

  • What Were They Thinking 7

    Posted April 16, 2010  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    Apparently March 18th was a big day for updates to applications in the BlackBerry App World. As the screen shot below shows, my device inbox was all of a sudden filled with notices of applications that needed to be upgraded.

  • What Were They Thinking 6

    Posted March 17, 2010  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    For this installment of my What Were They Thinking series I'm going to pick on Research In Motion. Considering that they invented the whole smartphone market, they're usually pretty good about designing BlackBerry applications with forethought and an attention to detail. After all, they created the platform and they're responsible for maintaining consistency across all applications. Right?

  • What Were They Thinking 5

    Posted February 4, 2010  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    As part of my family's move to Charlotte, it was time to start looking for a new bank. We selected Bank Of America and proceeded to setup our new accounts. It occurred to me to take a look to see if the bank had an iPhone application and I was pleased to find that they did. I downloaded the application from the iTunes and proceeded to launch it. When the application starts, it presents you with the screen shown in the following figure.

  • What Were They Thinking 4

    Posted December 17, 2009  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    My company recently asked us to install and use an application on our BlackBerry devices and as soon as I saw the application icon, I knew I had another topic for my 'What were they thinking' series.  Please take a look at the following BlackBerry screen shot:

  • What Were They Thinking 3

    Posted December 13, 2009  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    This example of 'What Were They Thinking' is for a Java application, not a web application - but I thought it would be an interesting addition to the series. It refers to something that absolutely drives me crazy in BlackBerry Java applications and I've seen the same kind of thing on other mobile platforms as well. Here we go...

  • What Were They Thinking 2

    Posted December 10, 2009  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    At first I thought I might have difficulty finding enough examples to make this an interesting series but that's turning out to not be the case. Just on a whim, I navigated over to to see how their site looked on the BlackBerry Browser. I expected that they'd detect that I'm running a BlackBerry and give me a mobile version of their site, but I was wrong - take a look at the following screen shot:

  • What were they thinking?

    Posted December 9, 2009  in Mobile Development, What Were They Thinking

    For our Lotusphere presentation in January, Rob Wunderlich and I started talking about how to approach our topic about mobile web development. One of the things that came up was an agreement that a lot of developers, while they know all about web development, didn't think of the ramifications of their decisions as they mobilized their sites. Even though the mobile browser supports most of the web development standards, it doesn't mean you should make use of them. Also, even though you know how to build a site for a desktop browser, doesn't mean you should do the same thing for the mobile user.

Header image: Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash.