Smartphone Downsizing and User Error

Incredibly, I’ve been taken to task on my piece about the potential for data loss with Fuji’s mobile apps by some readers who insist this comes down to user error, and we should all STFU and RTFM.

This is absolutely not user error. It’s using marquee features with dedicated buttons as advertised. Suggesting the onus is on regular people to read the manual about a standard, discoverable feature which comes with a penalty that is fairly well hidden from the user is a terrible response when discussing a consumer device or consumer behaviour.

Think back to when you got your first Fuji camera. Did you read the manual before connecting it via USB or slapping your SD card in your computer the to make sure your files wouldn’t be downsampled? I thought not.

Just For Good Measure

Let me throw a couple analogies at you:

  1. What if tethering behaved the same way? Captures are saved on the card, but are sent to the computer by default at a reduced size without the user knowing. The user format their card thinking the images are already on a computer, and loses the original 16MP files. That would be crazy, right?
  2. What if Apple automatically reduced the bit rate of songs when copying to a mobile device without letting the user know for faster transfer speeds and so your device could hold more songs? It would be pretty difficult to actually lose your data entirely in that case, but it would still be less than optimal UI design. Good design, is to have a checkbox for that setting on the import screen, as they have done.

Something Like This

An obvious button here, or at in the Browse and Receive screens would be ideal. Trashing full resolutions photos after would then actually be user error.

An obvious button here, or at in the Browse and Receive screens would be ideal. Trashing full resolutions photos after would then actually be user error.

You might think using WiFi for image transfer is crazy, but the reality is there are a lot of people who’s primary and/or only computer is a smartphone, and that number is growing. It won’t be long before waiting to plug a cable into something to transfer images will be considered quaint. Queue the #believeinwires tweets.

There are others, like Yours truly, going iOS-only for a considerable portion of their workflow. With mobile devices outpacing laptops in some benchmarks, destroying them in sales, and capturing images at 12+MP natively themselves, transferred images probably shouldn’t downsized by default, and they definitely shouldn’t be downsized without it being really clear to the photographer.