Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Apple FaceTime printed adverts

Apple is pushing its FaceTime application where you get video calls on the iPhone although only from one iPhone to another and only via WiFi in other words pretty useless when you look at things like Skype.

Now while the TV adverts are just awful it's the print ones that got me thinking. Here's the setup from Apple's own site

Just to explain the larger picture is what you see the smaller picture is what they see. So the man's phone is the one on the left, the woman's the one on the right. Note the woman is looking down and to the left; however on her phone she's looking down and to the right. Check the squiggles and the hair parting on the man and you can see this is the same mirrored image.

However now take the printed adverts. There are two types the 'grandfather' looking at the child holding the picture and the 'father' looking at the kid with a broken arm. So taking the same picture as above imagine that the mini picture of the man appears simply as a smaller version of the one on the right. That's how both these printed adverts appear. But just the one screen on the left - the other screen shows the mini mirrored image as this version does

[Update 21/9 - Scanned photo]

Has someone screwed up or has this been done on purpose?


Dan said...

I could well believe it's a deliberate UI decision. People are used to seeing mirror images of themselves, and all except the youngest children know how to respond to it - even though the brain's really poor at understanding reflection. I could believe they got as far as usability trials doing it the 'right' way, but found that if someone was off-centre in the picture they'd naturally try to tilt the phone the way you would a mirror to see your own reflection, which is exactly the opposite of what they need to do. Flipping the image is much easier than retraining all your users.

You can see similar thought patterns in Wii games that make you act out motions with the Wiimote (e.g. Wii Sports). They avoid the problem of having to decide whether to reflect or not by always showing you the character from behind, so his right hand is on your right. They even go as far as splitting the screen to achieve this, when for things like boxing and fencing they really wouldn't need to with a more old-fashioned control mechanism.

FlipC said...

Oh hey no I've zero objection to the flipping and think it makes sense for the very reasons you state. My question is - why only do it for one handset and only on these print ads?