Windows users can’t make Bluetooth visible quickly

Problem

Bluetooth is a practical way to transfer files between mobile phones, tablets and computers. However, the protocol had some issues from the beginning that cause software platforms to add a “invisibility” option to it. But that created another problem. For example in order to successfully send a file from your mobile phone to a computer via Bluetooth, the computer should be “visible”. It’s a little bit tricky to make the Bluetooth visible in Windows 7. User has to right click on a small Bluetooth icon on the taskbar and then choose “Open Settings” (which should be only “Settings…” according to Windows user experience design guidelines):

And then choose “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer”:

The computer will be “visible” until the user goes to the same menu, opens the same dialogue box and un-checks the above checkbox. This is too much work for such a basic functionality.

Moreover, many mobile phones have an interesting feature that allows them to be visible for a specific time. This time can be around 1 to 10 minutes and is usually enough for transferring a file or contact information from one device to another. However, Windows Bluetooth misses that option.

Solution

Add an option to the right-click menu of the Bluetooth icon on the taskbar. Something like this would be better:

Description of the changes:

  • Showing Bluetooth devices is now the first menu. The word “Bluetooth” is not necessary because the user has clicked the Bluetooth icon so obviously it is an action with Bluetooth so “Show Devices…” is the same as “Show Bluetooth Devices”. Just as the original version the default option is marked with bold font (default option is used when user double-clicks the Bluetooth icon rather than right-clicking it). Moreover user can see or add new devices using this menu option so there’s no need to the “Add a device” because that one is going to open a dialogue box anyway so let’s merge them together so that the user can see the current devices and add new ones if they don’t currently exist.
  • The next important action for Bluetooth icon is to make it visible or invisible. It is simply done by clicking the checkbox of the “Visible” menu.
  • Also “Open Settings” is changes to “Settings…” because first of all, it is an action and with the trailing “…” it’s obvious that it opens a dialogue.

The Bluetooth dialogue and options on Windows have a lot of place for improvement. I hope to write more about the other issues later.

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One thought on “Windows users can’t make Bluetooth visible quickly

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