Nokia UI the "standard" for handheld devices?

7 Jun 2004 - 8:27pm
10 years ago
7 replies
574 reads
David Liu
2004

Hi all:

I am an interaction designer for mobile phones. I've been asked this
question many times by people outside of our team: "why don't you copy
Nokia? Nokia is so easy to use." This has been a big discussion topic
within our team, because we don't want to just "copy" Nokia, but it seems
like Nokia UI has well-established itself as the guidelines/benchmarks for
all mobile phones.

What do you think about Nokia's position in handheld UI design/usability
field?
Are all the handheld UI going to converge at some point?

Thanks!

David Liu
UE PM
Networking & Communications
BENQ Corporation

BenQ. "Bringing Enjoyment 'N Quality to Life". Enjoyment Matters.
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Comments

8 Jun 2004 - 3:39am
Olly Wright
2007

Nokia has worked hard to establish conventions in this area -- it's
worth looking at the Nokia usability book that came out for a history
of how they've done this.

Will they converge? It might be nice to have some kind of standard,
especially for designers. Any kind of so-called standard gets picked up
and imitated, as we see on the web (left nav, tabs on top). I've found
that students often use the Nokia menu system as a basis for designing
architectures for mobile phone applications.

On Jun 8, 2004, at 3:27 AM, David Liu wrote:

> Hi all:
>  
> I am an interaction designer for mobile phones.  I've been asked this
> question many times by people outside of our team: "why don't you copy
> Nokia?  Nokia is so easy to use."  This has been a big discussion
> topic within our team, because we don't want to just "copy" Nokia, but
> it seems like Nokia UI has well-established itself as the
> guidelines/benchmarks for all mobile phones.
>  
> What do you think about Nokia's position in handheld UI
> design/usability field?
> Are all the handheld UI going to converge at some point?
>  
> Thanks!
>  
>
>  
> David Liu
>
> UE PM
> Networking & Communications
> BENQ Corporation
>
>
>  
>
>
>
>
> BenQ. "Bringing Enjoyment 'N Quality to Life". Enjoyment Matters.
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
> --
> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
> http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
> --
> Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
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> Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements
> already)
> http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
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8 Jun 2004 - 4:56am
Navneet Nair
2004

I'm all for convergence of UI standards be it handheld or otherwise, so it's
not about 'copying' but about providing users with something they are familiar
with.

On the Nokia angle, there was an article today in the Business Standard on how
Nokia has taken over the mobile market in India, and it cites, the easy to use
interface as one important reason for that. Clearly a business case for more
usable interfaces?

http://tinyurl.com/2okp4 (links to the Business Standard site)

Cheers
Navneet

Quoting David Liu <DavidLiu at BenQ.com>:

> Hi all:
>
> I am an interaction designer for mobile phones. I've been asked this
> question many times by people outside of our team: "why don't you copy
> Nokia? Nokia is so easy to use." This has been a big discussion
> topic
> within our team, because we don't want to just "copy" Nokia, but it
> seems
> like Nokia UI has well-established itself as the guidelines/benchmarks
> for
> all mobile phones.
>
> What do you think about Nokia's position in handheld UI
> design/usability
> field?
> Are all the handheld UI going to converge at some point?
>
> Thanks!
>
> David Liu
> UE PM
> Networking & Communications
> BENQ Corporation
>
>
>
>
>
>
> BenQ. "Bringing Enjoyment 'N Quality to Life". Enjoyment Matters.
>

Navneet Nair
Interaction Architect
http://www.onclipevent.com
form follows function();
Blog: http://www.onclipevent.com/enterframe/

8 Jun 2004 - 5:56am
Matt Davies
2004

David,

My overall impression, from testing with numerous mobile users in the
UK, is that many users start with a Nokia phone, and so their conceptual
model of how a mobile phone UI should behave is often built on the
'Nokia way'.

Added to this is the fact that Nokia seem be the most user-centred of
any manufacturer in their approach to design, creating the most
intuitive and user-centred approaches in their UI design.

I recently had the 'copying Nokia?' problem when we designed a phone UI
from the ground up, and wanted to make it as easy as Nokia without
copying them. It is a difficult area to address for sure. As Molly says,
standards appear as with the web, and we have certainly used some
similar approaches to Nokia in some work. But, it is also possible to
improve on the Nokia approach in some situations/areas of applications.

I'm sure many standards are already being adopted across manufacturers
UI's - use of 'Options' and 'Back' softkeys, structures for menu
systems, and so on are often quite similar when you analyse a range of
handsets. It's the way these elements are used and combined in a
user-centred way which I feel makes the handset effective or not - and
Nokia are often the best at this.

Regards

Matt

>
>
>
>
>
> molly wright steenson wrote:
>
>> Nokia has worked hard to establish conventions in this area -- it's
>> worth looking at the Nokia usability book that came out for a history
>> of how they've done this.
>>
>> Will they converge? It might be nice to have some kind of standard,
>> especially for designers. Any kind of so-called standard gets picked
>> up and imitated, as we see on the web (left nav, tabs on top). I've
>> found that students often use the Nokia menu system as a basis for
>> designing architectures for mobile phone applications.
>>
>>
>> On Jun 8, 2004, at 3:27 AM, David Liu wrote:
>>
>> Hi all:
>>
>> I am an interaction designer for mobile phones. I've been asked
>> this question many times by people outside of our team: "why
>> don't you copy Nokia? Nokia is so easy to use." This has been a
>> big discussion topic within our team, because we don't want to
>> just "copy" Nokia, but it seems like Nokia UI has
>> well-established itself as the guidelines/benchmarks for all
>> mobile phones.
>>
>> What do you think about Nokia's position in handheld UI
>> design/usability field?
>> Are all the handheld UI going to converge at some point?
>>
>> Thanks!
>>
>>
>>
>> *David Liu*
>>
>> *UE PM*
>> *Networking & Communications*
>> *BENQ Corporation*
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> *BenQ. "Bringing Enjoyment 'N Quality to Life". Enjoyment Matters.*
>> _______________________________________________
>> Interaction Design Discussion List
>> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
>> --
>> to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest):
>> http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
>> --
>> Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
>> --
>> Announcement Online List (discussion list members get
>> announcements already)
>> http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
>> --
>> http://interactiondesigners.com/
>>
>>
>>------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>_______________________________________________
>>Interaction Design Discussion List
>>discuss at interactiondesigners.com
>>--
>>to change your options (unsubscribe or set digest): http://discuss.interactiondesigners.com
>>--
>>Questions: lists at interactiondesigners.com
>>--
>>Announcement Online List (discussion list members get announcements already)
>>http://interactiondesigners.com/announceList/
>>--
>>http://interactiondesigners.com/
>>
>
> --
> ____________________________
> *Matt Davies*
> UI Designer / Usability Consultant
>
> *www.trigenix.com* <http://www.trigenix.com>
>
> tel: +44 (0)1223 478900
> fax: +44 (0)1223 478901

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8 Jun 2004 - 6:47am
Michael Bartlett
2004

Isn't this what Symbian is trying to be? They license their mobile operating
platform to a number of vendors - although some of them do implement it
slightly differently, there does appear to be some better consistancy across
different phone vendors who are implementing Symbian. The obvious problem
here is that Symbian is a for-profit organisation and competitors are bound
to arise (MS for example) and start pushing the boundaries and then we are
back where we started.
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8 Jun 2004 - 6:55am
Dave Malouf
2005

my issue here is not whether Nokia does good work or not, and is worth
"copying" or being inspired by, but that Nokia is a 'standard'.

Qualcomm, Motorola, and Samsung to name a few might have something to say
about that. Maybe outside the US Nokia is more of a standard, but here in
the US, Nokia has become one of many vendors and styles. There is no one
close to being a winner here, so saying anyone is a 'standard' feels, well
premature.

-- dave
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8 Jun 2004 - 6:14am
Movito Subscriptions
2004

Quick summary:

Underlying functionality types and UI structures may profitably be shared
across brands, but customization, rather than standardization, awaits future
mobile users.

While it is certainly true that Nokia¹s phones traditionally have been easy
to use, the fact that many users say ³why don¹t you copy Nokia² also implies
that they¹ve used the Nokia UI for some time and dislike having to learn
something new. Simply put, the benefits of the new Benq (or any other) UI
would have to exceed the switching costs of learning a new system.

I doubt that mobile UI¹s are going to converge ­ look at the PC industry,
look at customization and skins. I have more faith in an underlying
functionality system that can be skinned or customized. When possible, we
like to add a personal touch to our mobiles ­ note the explosion of mobile
services for background pictures, skins for the Ericsson T610 etc, ringtones
and so on. A manufacturer who had the guts to make the UI graphics more
accessible for third parties (this requires flashing of the system per today
­ scary) has a bright future. Manufacturer dominance is under attack -
operators want to lock-in their customers and increase switching costs.
Operator-specific functionality (from a user perspective, at least) with
shortcuts, custom icons, etc. pre-installed when the users receive their
mobiles.

Also, as mobiles become functionally more complex, new interaction models
(or at least revised ones) can make a successful entry into the market - if
the timing is right. The UI that Nokia has been developing over the last 10
years has certainly made mobiles easier to use, but there¹s no reason why
another developer could usurp their UI dominance when the next functionality
shift arrives.

Best regards,

Fredrik Matheson

Interaction designer, Oslo, Norway

8 Jun 2004 - 7:42am
avaduva
2004

I was an interaction designer with Symbian and we did design some very
inovative interfaces and services for mobile phones. It was intended
that the phone companies using the Symbian OS would then adapt the
designs to fit their image etc.
Unfortunately, our design team was made redundant during the big tech
slump two years ago - we are still hoping that our designs will one day
make it to the market as we had received some very encouraging feedback
during the usability testing.

Michael Bartlett wrote:

> Isn't this what Symbian is trying to be? They license their mobile
> operating platform to a number of vendors - although some of them do
> implement it slightly differently, there does appear to be some better
> consistancy across different phone vendors who are implementing Symbian.
> The obvious problem here is that Symbian is a for-profit organisation
> and competitors are bound to arise (MS for example) and start pushing
> the boundaries and then we are back where we started.
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> Interaction Design Discussion List
> discuss at interactiondesigners.com
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--
===============================
Andreea Vaduva
User-Interface Design Lecturer
London Metropolitan University
===============================

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