How do you access your contacts? (How Nokia should improve contact search in S60 5th edition)

| August 6, 2009 | 4 Replies

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One of the easiest tasks on Nokia phones was getting to your contacts. Type a few letters of the name as you would in a text message, i.e. via alphanumeric keypad, and possible names are suggested, narrowing down the choices the more letters you typed. No more lengthy scrolling.

Annoyingly, we don’t get that option in S60 5th edition.

There are a few ways of getting to your contacts on the N97, but none as efficient as the classic ‘Nokia method’.

  • Scrolling – by far the most annoying method (on the N97). When you move the scrollbar so it’s at the contact you want, the moment you take your finger off, it slides the screen up/down to view contacts you did not want to see. Maybe N97/5800 users will get kinetic scrolling like in the 5530 in future firmware upgrades?
  • Voice Dialling – Pretty accurate but only works in moderate silence, e.g. in a car. You can reduce the “No match found” message by decreasing the voice dialling sensitivity in settings.
  • Favourite Contacts widget – you can have up to 8 short cut contacts on your home screen (via 2 widgets) and these appear first in your contacts directory
  • Adaptive Search (on) – whilst this would be extremely useful for someone who’s a complete novice to a mobile phone, anyone who knows how to use an alphanumeric keypad to type text will find this frustrating. The letters are arranged alphabetically and only half the alphabet can be seen in one view at the start. As you type, the only letters that remain are those which can match your phone book. For me, I find it annoying as I sort of have to relearn this shifting keyboard every time I use it, whereas I could have found it with the traditional method an a fraction of the time.
  • QWERTY Keyboard – by far the fastest way to find a contact, as you type some letters, your search is narrowed. Although only works best when using two hands
  • Adaptive Search (off) – this is the closest thing to Classic Nokia style contact search for S60 5th edition at the moment. You search for a contact using the standard alphanumeric keypad, although suggested contacts will NOT appear until you exit the keypad view.


If possible, (in addition to kintetic scrolling) I’d like to see the classic Nokia style in finding my contacts (see mock screen shot below). It was a method that worked really well and it’s a shame that it disappeared in S60 5th edition. It’s fast because I’m so used to an alphanumeric keypad and you can use it one handed.

ideal contact search

Mock up of how contact search SHOULD work on S60 5th edition - Classic Nokia style. I can see both the alphanumeric keypad and the possible suggested contact names.

Also, turning adaptive search off should be accessible from the phonebook itself, not hidden in the main settings.


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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]