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Injuration: What Makes A Good UI of a mobile device?

What Makes A Good UI of a mobile device?

Having use several different devices from various brands, including Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, and the little known brands from China, I have noticed several points that can make a difference between easy to use and not having a good experience. What I'm describing are ones released since 2007, the year the iPhone came out and touch screen were starting to become common. The iPhone was a revolutionary product at the time it came out, and made all the mobile phones that were out at that time look outdated.

While using these devices, I have noticed some things:
  • Stylus pen: This is a relic from the PDA era that is somehow carried over. The response times are not ideal and the items to select are too small. You might also need to apply pressure while selecting too. If you have lost the stylus and it only has an on-screen keyboard, you are going to have trouble entering text because the selection is too tiny and not responsive.
  • Accessibility: Most of the phones seem to have this as the lowest priority to the point that most don't even have any. With a keypad, you could just memorize which sequence does what without looking, but, except for the iPhone, you can't tell what you are selecting.
  • Multiple Language support: Until recently, support for the displaying text of multiple languages is quite poor, but being able to change the menus in the settings in another. As the second lowest priority after accessibility for mobile devices, it only includes commonly used languages of the market it's sold in, or languages like English, French and German. Apple is the only one that supports the most number of languages.
  • User Interface: With the exception of iOS, Android, Maemo, and WebOS, the user interfaces seemed kind of dated with problems including the above. For smart phones that run on Windows Mobile or Android, the manufacturer might do some customizations that would either make it better or worse.
  • Updates: The operator or the phone manufacturer is supposed to provide updates, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the hardware, they would only do it for a while, and then never.
  • Applications: Until the Apple and Android app store came along, applications built-in are quite basic and to find more are hard to come by. It was almost non-existent as apps could be installed, but there was no centralized place for it.


Written by Haruka Takahashi on Saturday, August 21, 2010