Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Save us from our mobile User Interface and User Experience!

Innovations in mobile user interfaces/user experiences (UI/UE) happen at a slow and somewhat unsteady pace. The iPhone UI with it’s effortless finger-navigation and screen expansion was certainly innovative. But other parts of the mobile phone UI/UE seem to be nearly immune from innovation. A good example of this is the icon matrix home page that has been with us for ten years. The iPhone simply added pages and pages of icons – which was duly copied by all other smart phone UIs. Another example is the phone browser that seems to be immune to innovation and has gone through little change since WAP days. The rendering is better and we can now zoom in and out on some browsers but cumbersome bookmarks and tabs remain. The iPhone again addressed the bookmark problem by turning bookmarks into apps and placing them on the icon matrix home page – thereby making the home page unwieldy and creating a different discovery probblem. This funny ad spoofs the typical user experience on current phones and poses the question as to whether things will remain the same.

From Microsoft 7 Mobile’s perspective the answer is of course no, but rather than describing the ins and outs of this new and slightly different user experience, let us take a look at some of the new underlying innovation that they bring to the table as they try to create a Glance and Go instead of a Stop and Stare user experience:

• Simple minimalistic design – fewer Tiles (icons)
• Active Application Tiles - glance to see changes
• Application Hubs – related apps in one hub for an integrated experience
• Hubs for integrated core services - social networking, messaging
• Personalize look and feel - your tiles - your way
• Dedicated Universal Search button (apps, sites, feeds)

While some things remain the same (like a home page with pages of icons/tiles) there is enough innovation to save us from our current User Interface and create an improved User Experience. At mJetz we already incorporate these concepts and will bring it to all phones - we even replace the static home page with an expanding user experience. More about this in a later blog!

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