Bad usability – Nokia Memory card

I was presenting at the stage in the picture last week (no, it’s not me in the picture). During my presentation I have a part about usability, and I could not help mentioning the picture of a horrible example of bad usability hanging behind me. A picture of a Nokia 6630 with a hand that is about to insert a memory card. Marked in red in the picture.


Looking at the closeup, someone could think that the photographer snapped the picture at the wrong moment. The memory card has its back facing towards the user. It should be like the next picture in this post.

The same situation. Looks OK, the front of a phone, the front of a memory card, and a slot on the side of the phone where you are supposed to insert the card. But, no. This is the wrong way to do it. The photographer is not stupid, you are supposed to insert the card with the back facing towards yourself. Why on earth would they put the card reader into the phone that way?

The correct way to insert a memory card in a Nokia 6630 is how it is illustrated in this picture. Because I am interested in technology on a level that is above average people tend to ask me when they have questions. Lately I have had quite a bit of questions regarding the Nokia 6630 and Nokia 6680. Questions regarding music, pictures, podcasts and navigation software on the memory card. I have tried to observe closely, and not one of the persons have tried to insert the card in the correct way on the first try.

Simply because the correct way to insert the card is what most sane people would think of as the wrong way.

And, as a finishing note:
If you insert the card the wrong way, it will lock itself into the slot and you would have to use some kind of tool to get it out. When you get it out you have to insert it the wrong way once more to release the slot and then insert it the right way.

Nokia – why?

Related post: An example of good and bad usability design

Bad usability – Nokia Memory card

5 thoughts on “Bad usability – Nokia Memory card

  1. Ever tried to insert a game card into an Nintendo DS?
    The “label” of the card has to face backward, not forward as you might expect. Try explaining the usability of that to a seven-year old 🙂

  2. …or try to explain tha Nokia problem to a fifty-year-old…

    Why are they doing things like this? I have never seen anyone make a DVD-player or VHS-player where the disc or tape should be inserted with the label down…!

  3. For the DS – well, the cart goes into the back of the device, so I instinctively turn it around so that I can see the slot clearly. When you do this, the cart goes in with the label facing you, which seems to make sense. The DS even has a picture on it below the slot, showing what the cart should look like as you insert it (a quick shot on flickr).

    With the 6630 the slot is almost exactly in the middle of the device’s side, and it’s virtually impossible to determine which way around it’s supposed to go in. I hate having to change my memory card, I can never remember which way around it’s supposed to go. Very, very bad UI.

  4. Nice to know that I am not the only one that have this conclusion when it comes to the memory card on the Nokia 6630.

    According to the response during my presentation it seemed like the audience got my point as well.

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