Saturday, June 23, 2007

The iPhone and Interaction Design

I like great, simple, functional design.
I do.
So - like many others, I also got as close as I could get to the new Apple iPhone by viewing the latest iPhone tour.

I really liked what I saw for two main reasons: (1) It seems like a really innovative and great product. (2) It is not perfect. Do not get me wrong - I am not taking pleasure in others problems, it just make me feel better about the challenges I'm facing when designing complex business products.

The interaction design of this device is outstanding. There are some new ideas I did not see or think of before, made available by using the touch-screen, which inspired me.

But I also saw great examples from how hard it is providing a continuously interaction model, even within this 'closed' device (The interaction options are well defined. The device has known display options).

As I reviewed the movie I've noticed that some of the interactions, especially regarding zoom actions, are different.
I think I've noticed that because the iPhone is promoted as a one device with all these great integrated applications (you can call by clicking numbers appearing in notes, eMail, SMS and such, for example) and the experience is not as integrated as for the zoom actions.

Some examples:

Zooming in:

In documents such as Excel and PDF zooming in done by using two fingers clicking and dragging to opposite directions.

In Safari (browser) and in the Google maps zooming in done by double taps on the area you would like to increase.

Zooming out
is done by tapping with two fingers in the Google map and with one tap (and finger) in the browser and other applications.

I think this shows the complexity of designing and building a system/device/service, composed by many providers. Some additional challenges, in business applications, include legacy systems with totally different UI concepts and technologies.

Overall – I think the iPhone is a very promising device and I will keep monitoring and looking for opportunities to use its (current) unique capabilities beyond the consumer market.


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1 comment:

Mickey said...

This is really interesting. I believe the iPhone would probably be the first device to really integrate many devices we like in our lives (iPod/MP3/GPS/Phone/other) into one slick cool device (a-one-stop-shop for everything we need in our lives...except it doesn't make coffee yet, darn!). However, I will be waiting for the second version (hopefully where all the infancy bugs are fixed and perhaps when the price is somewhat reduced). In the meantime I think it would be wise to buy some Apple a current price of ~$122 they can easily reach the $200-$300 level if Apple continues to introduce one hit after the other as they've done recently...