Tactile buttons.WAS iPhone Keynote

9 Jan 2007 - 4:56pm
7 years ago
12 replies
1277 reads
Bryce Johnson
2007

http://www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com/

I bought the keyboard above after seeing it on CSI Miami :-P

It is super cool but the fact that there was ZERO tactile response
made it just as difficult to use as my regular blackberry keyboard. I
ended up with a regular bluetooth fold up keyboard.

Hopefully similar products will become available for the iPhone.

Bryce
EnterpriseCamp in Toronto this weekend
http://barcamp.org/EnterpriseCampToronto

On 1/9/07, Robert Barlow-Busch <rbarlowbusch at quarry.com> wrote:
> Lovin' a lot of things about the iPhone. But something I'm sure we'll
> miss is the tactile feel of buttons under our fingers. Being able to
> feel the buttons means we don't need to pay *quite* as much attention
> visually when, say, dialing a number.

Comments

9 Jan 2007 - 8:16pm
jstanford
2003

I recently did a user study on tactile button feedback and talked to users
about feedback on remote controls, phones, and other devices with buttons.
The consensus was that raised buttons that provide feedback are so much
easier to interact with than even flat button that provide
feedback...nevermind flat buttons that provide no tactile feedback. In
particular, people were sensitive enough to identify a specific button on a
remote control as their favorite button for its feedback (for example, a
specific button on the Tivo remote that had a slightly nicer feedback
mechanism than the other buttons). People who had a Motorola Razr complained
about the lack of feedback on the phone but still said they liked it for the
look. A few said they would not buy it again as a result of the difficult
with the flatness off the buttons.

This makes me very suspicious of the keyboard on the iphone...but we'll see!

Julie

________________________________
Julie Stanford
Principal, Sliced Bread Design
650-969-0400 / 800-969-0434 x706

9 Jan 2007 - 9:45pm
Todd Warfel
2003

What was the context of the study? Did this study include
touchscreens? What kind of flat keys/keyboards did you test and what
tasks?

I've had a Razor and hated the buttons. Now I've got the Samsung SGH-
t519 (really slim candy bar phone, thinner than the Slvr) and I
prefer the raised edges on the buttons. Helps me w/targeting.
However, when using touchscreens, like an ATM, the buttons are easy
to target and the audio cues provide sufficient feedback.

Really depends on the context, goals, use, and needs. I've done
research on projected keyboards and they failed. But given their
intended target is for portable use and projecting a keyboard onto
your lap doesn't work very well (common use of laptops at home are in
bed or on the couch) it's no wonder they failed.

Considering the intent and applications that are on the iPhone, I
think it's going to be incredibly successful. But I think the success
goes beyond just the touchscreen keys/keyboards - it's the entire
experience - hardware, software.

On Jan 9, 2007, at 8:16 PM, Julie Stanford wrote:

> I recently did a user study on tactile button feedback and talked
> to users about feedback on remote controls, phones, and other
> devices with buttons. The consensus was that raised buttons that
> provide feedback are so much easier to interact with than even flat
> button that provide feedback[...]
>
> This makes me very suspicious of the keyboard on the iphone...but
> we'll see!

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

10 Jan 2007 - 2:28pm
Josh
2006

I wonder if there isn't 1 use-case that many of the "slim" phone
manufacturers are forgetting when testing their new buttons.

I'm originally from Los Angles, so 90% of my mobile phone usage took place
while driving my car. It is almost impossible to "touch-type" a number or
even speed dial a number on a Razr, Samsung T519, or HTC Wizard. After
watching Steve Jobs use the new iPhone during the presentation, I think it
will be just as, if not more, difficult to use the iPhone in a "touch-type"
scenario. Apple is selling the potential of app-specific interfaces, but I
see this as a potential problem as each new app will have to be learned -
Lots of new jobs in Usability! The lack of fixed buttons reduces the ability
for users to touch-type and almost ensures that the phone must be seen to be
used - Potential accessibility nightmare?

That said, I live in NYC now, so no driving. I'm probably going to get one
of these in June, and we'll probably begin developing apps for it in the
near future.

- Josh Viney

10 Jan 2007 - 8:28pm
Todd Warfel
2003

This is true. However, the flip side is that the larger screen allows
for larger buttons, which is a trade off. My Garmin GPS has a large
screen, but small buttons. So, the window mount keeps it in place and
the large screen makes it somewhat easy to hit the buttons. But if
they were larger, it would be easier. And I find this easier and
safer to use than the nav that was in the Jeep Liberty we had - that
used a dial.

On Jan 10, 2007, at 2:28 PM, Josh Viney wrote:

> The lack of fixed buttons reduces the ability
> for users to touch-type and almost ensures that the phone must be
> seen to be
> used - Potential accessibility nightmare?

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

11 Jan 2007 - 12:50am
Esteban Barahona
2006

You're forgeting the possibility of "extensions" (a là Wii-nunchuck). Why
not use "special covers" that have numbers? A frogpad? etc (though it's lame
to pay for $500 and essentially buy later the keys).

2007/1/10, Josh Viney <jviney en gmail.com>:
>
> I wonder if there isn't 1 use-case that many of the "slim" phone
> manufacturers are forgetting when testing their new buttons.
>
> I'm originally from Los Angles, so 90% of my mobile phone usage took place
> while driving my car. It is almost impossible to "touch-type" a number or
> even speed dial a number on a Razr, Samsung T519, or HTC Wizard. After
> watching Steve Jobs use the new iPhone during the presentation, I think it
> will be just as, if not more, difficult to use the iPhone in a
> "touch-type"
> scenario. Apple is selling the potential of app-specific interfaces, but I
> see this as a potential problem as each new app will have to be learned -
> Lots of new jobs in Usability! The lack of fixed buttons reduces the
> ability
> for users to touch-type and almost ensures that the phone must be seen to
> be
> used - Potential accessibility nightmare?
>
> That said, I live in NYC now, so no driving. I'm probably going to get one
> of these in June, and we'll probably begin developing apps for it in the
> near future.
>
> - Josh Viney
> ________________________________________________________________
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11 Jan 2007 - 1:18am
Josh
2006

How would you use an overlay if the interface changes with every
application? That would be like buying a tablet PC and covering the screen
with a keyboard, not very useful. A nun-chuck type thing would be awesome,
esp if it was wireless and not a nunchuck but more of a 2007 version of the
Nintendo Powerglove.

Obviously, Apple knows what it's doing with this product. I haven't seen any
other topic get so much coverage on IxDA, but it is fun to imagine the
possibilities and the potential limitations. The mere fact that we're
already thinking of ways to extend the interface would mark this product as
a success in my book. I'll be curious to see if this buzz keeps up over the
next 6 months.

- Josh Viney

On 1/11/07, Esteban Barahona <esteban.barahona at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> You're forgeting the possibility of "extensions" (a là Wii-nunchuck). Why
> not use "special covers" that have numbers? A frogpad? etc (though it's lame
> to pay for $500 and essentially buy later the keys).
>
> 2007/1/10, Josh Viney <jviney at gmail.com>:
> >
> > I wonder if there isn't 1 use-case that many of the "slim" phone
> > manufacturers are forgetting when testing their new buttons.
> >
> > I'm originally from Los Angles, so 90% of my mobile phone usage took
> > place
> > while driving my car. It is almost impossible to "touch-type" a number
> > or
> > even speed dial a number on a Razr, Samsung T519, or HTC Wizard. After
> > watching Steve Jobs use the new iPhone during the presentation, I think
> > it
> > will be just as, if not more, difficult to use the iPhone in a
> > "touch-type"
> > scenario. Apple is selling the potential of app-specific interfaces, but
> > I
> > see this as a potential problem as each new app will have to be learned
> > -
> > Lots of new jobs in Usability! The lack of fixed buttons reduces the
> > ability
> > for users to touch-type and almost ensures that the phone must be seen
> > to be
> > used - Potential accessibility nightmare?
> >
> > That said, I live in NYC now, so no driving. I'm probably going to get
> > one
> > of these in June, and we'll probably begin developing apps for it in the
> > near future.
> >
> > - Josh Viney
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> http://www.zensui.org

11 Jan 2007 - 5:08am
Brian Forte
2004

Gentlefolk,

Josh Viney wrote:

>I wonder if there isn't 1 use-case that many of the "slim" phone
>manufacturers are forgetting when testing their new buttons.
>
>I'm originally from Los Angles, so 90% of my mobile phone usage took place
>while driving my car. It is almost impossible to "touch-type" a number or
>even speed dial a number on a Razr, Samsung T519, or HTC Wizard. After
>watching Steve Jobs use the new iPhone during the presentation, I think it
>will be just as, if not more, difficult to use the iPhone in a "touch-type"
>scenario.

Which got me distracted enough to spend most of this afternoon
writing the following, rather than cleaning up a bunch of XML files
(which is what I'm supposed to be doing at the moment):

<http://nonstandarddeviation.com/2007/01/11/paying-attention-to-non-tactile-buttons/>

It's posted to the URL above at least partly because it's too
link-heavy to make for a good read in a text-only environment.

Regards,

Brian Forte.
--
words, edits, type, layout, code
<mailto:bforte at betweenborders.com>
<http://betweenborders.com/>

11 Jan 2007 - 12:23pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> Considering the intent and applications that are on the iPhone, I
> think it's going to be incredibly successful. But I think the success
> goes beyond just the touchscreen keys/keyboards - it's the entire
> experience - hardware, software.

Definitely. The lack of tactile buttons isn't going to make an ounce of
difference in sales of the iPhone. When it comes down to it, people use
touch-screen ATMs and self-checkout devices all the time. They may not
*prefer* flat-screens with no physical feedback, but it won't stop them from
using it, especially when it will be so difficult to deny the usefulness of
the rest of the iPhone.

-r-

11 Jan 2007 - 3:30pm
Alain D. M. G. ...
2003

Hello!

It's not only a question of feedback it's also a question of sufficient
yield to avoid injuring fingers in the long run. Yes, a lot of people
use touchscreens in ATM in the States (never seen them here) and for
some library or supermarket self-checkout systems, but they do so only
once or twice a week on average. You don't have people coming in to
compose their email several times a day.

If the iPhone's used for anything (making phone calls from a downloaded
list, listening to music, taking pisc, etc.) except instant messaging
or some other keyboarding-heavy functions everything will be all right.
Otherwise, Apple will get constantly sued for repetitive stress
injuries.

I see danger signals when I notice that Apple has an agreement with
Yahoo for email for the iPhone. If everybody uses this just to check
their emails then it's OK. If people actually start typing letters or
messages on that little qwertyuiop then there's major trouble ahead.

Sony solved that problem for small touchscreens in their pro recording
studio equipment (it's not in their consumer goods as far as I know) by
having the whole block of that small touchscreen yield just a little
bit, just enough to soften the "blow" and also let the user get the
feeling that a button's been pressed, even though all of the
touchscreen is moving. The graphics and sound FX also help with the
illusion of a successful single-button press.

Alain Vaillancourt

--- "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com> a écrit :

> > Considering the intent and applications that are on the iPhone, I
> > think it's going to be incredibly successful. But I think the
> success
> > goes beyond just the touchscreen keys/keyboards - it's the entire
> > experience - hardware, software.
>
>
> Definitely. The lack of tactile buttons isn't going to make an ounce
> of
> difference in sales of the iPhone. When it comes down to it, people
> use
> touch-screen ATMs and self-checkout devices all the time. They may
> not
> *prefer* flat-screens with no physical feedback, but it won't stop
> them from
> using it, especially when it will be so difficult to deny the
> usefulness of
> the rest of the iPhone.
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

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11 Jan 2007 - 8:26pm
cfmdesigns
2004

>From: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <rhoekmanjr at gmail.com>
>
>
>Definitely. The lack of tactile buttons isn't going to make an ounce of
>difference in sales of the iPhone. When it comes down to it, people use
>touch-screen ATMs and self-checkout devices all the time.

But briefly and not as "lifestyle" devices.

My own experience with my last cell phone: I looked at the RAZR and I so desperately wanted to be cool by having one (ahem), but I couldn't stand the feel and response of the buttons in the half-minute I played with it. I knew that I *could* manage to use it, but that if they annoyed me in that short bit, I might come to loathe the thing later on.

(That and blue glows are sooo 2005.)

So I'll go with half and ounce of difference. It's one of the things I'll definitely look at, and if it's too annoying, I'll pass on the rest of the candy and stick with something I can stand to use. (Well, maybe.)

-- Jim

12 Jan 2007 - 11:13am
alexphil
2007

I'd like to share two things:

1) Apple's introduction of "the pinch" is awesome. Has anyone seen this
in use before?

2) UCD does not mean User Created Design.

Oftentimes users are unable to verbalize or even demonstrate interface
problems they don't "know" they have.

Listen to this NPR interview with OXO leader:
//www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6582979

We don't always use the most effective user feedback and observation
techniques. Often, we are focused on observing the user interact with a
mock-up, with existing products or interfaces limiting the imagination
of those creating new solutions to human/machine interfaces.

Read: "How Customers Think" by Gerald Zaltman.

>From the outside, it looks like Apple considers Steve Jobs to be THE
"uber user" since he must approve and be comfortable with Apple's
choices in product designs. I do believe that he and Apple designer
Jonathan Ives are as "user-centered" as anyone in business can hope to
be.

Sometimes it makes sense for someone with design genius to lead the way
and create a new way to do things. The rest of us can learn and adapt as
long as the end result satisfies us in some way.

Alex de Soto

12 Jan 2007 - 2:07pm
Nasir Barday
2006

Multi-touch techniques have been around for some time, with work in
two-handed input going even further back. A bunch of recent demos are
collected here:

http://multi-touchscreen.com/

The video at the top shows the "pinch to zoom out" technique, among many
others.

A high-profile demo of a large multi-touch display showed at the TED
conference last February (see link to that on the above URL). That video is
particularly cool. Note the thoughts on an on-screen keyboard, and use of
the "pinch" with a NASA-Google-Earthy app.
TED Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLhMVNdplJc&eurl=

Bill Buxton did a lot of the early work in multi-touch and two-handed input.
Lots of cool videos at his website here:
http://www.billbuxton.com/buxtonVideos.html

And oh yeah, you saw a lot of multi-touch/two-handed input in Minority
Report. That movie made the Ubicomp people hog-wild when it came out :-).

- Nasir

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