Hardware/Software UI Relationship

Lars Hallberg lah at micropp.se
Wed Jul 18 03:40:39 CEST 2007

David Duardo skrev:
> That's great that you have the dexterity to use your fingernails to poke
> at tiny  buttons, but what about the wider audience? Do you think Aunt
> Jane or Uncle Leo would feel comfortable operating a phone with such
> tiny buttons? Is this even a relevant question? Is the phone being
> marketed to them? If not, then who?
> Before we dive in and start creating user interfaces from scratch we
> need to have some sort of basis of who will be using the phone and what
> they will be doing. Right now it is unclear which direction the
> community and FIC want to take. I have my personal ideas, but I want to
> get a consensus from everyone else.

Initially I believe in some experimentation and choice.

After that there is time to seek consensus on the default and guidelines 
for how to blend in with everything else.

But stuff like input method should be easy to replace after taste... 
That's probably the most important part of the process, identify what 
should be easily replaced and what interface that needs.

> The Neo1973's LCD is 43mm x 58mm.

I would like a high density input method... but You can come a long way 
with 3x3 buttons and two press entry. 9x9 = 81 input combinations.

Alternatively... make that one stroke where start and end defines the 
two 'button press'.

My favourite for main UI is a text input tool at the bottom, where you 
input a progressive search term, say "we br"... That might match:

web browser (app)
tux web broadcast (web bookmark, document)
Werner Brown (contact)
Wera Brooks (contact)
Wera Brooks at the pub (photo, document)

The matching object is shown on top and selectable. Size on those object 
can depend on number of matches and can be compacted in intelligent ways 
like: [contacts 3] [document 12] [apps 2]

choosing one hides the input area and use the whole screen to show the 
chosen matches.

Selecting one match show that with large buttons for appropriate 
actions. Gesture short cuts like select a contact and drag down to dial 
can speed the interface up.

If no search term is entered these 3 categories (contacts, documents and 
apps) may be displayed for browsing rather then searching after what You 

Maybe there should be 3 modes/preferences the user can shoes and that 
all/most UI should obey (explicit choices like input method may override):

Minimum UI element: Mode name
4x4mm: Small stylus interface
8x8mm: Big stylus/small finger interface
12x12mm: Big finger interface

I'm pretty sure the neo can be made highly usable :-)


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