Designing an Interface For Small Screens

I actually have a tiny pc, and it is name is Chewbacca. Some might say that I am in truth the proud proprietor of a “netbook”, however, nay, Chewbacca is a tiny pc. One of the troubles encountered on my tiny computer is that it runs Windows XP. Now, I don’t have anything towards Windows XP in general, it’s first-rate sufficient. The trouble is: the interface wasn’t designed for a laptop with a screen the scale of a paperback thriller novel, and a trackpad with the full location that everyone to without difficulty fails to fulfill the proportions of the human finger.

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There are many attributes of the machine itself that make things difficult, including the fact that it’s far as such, a tiny computer. Long ago, the evil Dr. Netbook fired a reduce ray at the ordinary computer, and then laughed maniacally as the tiny laptop turned into born. Yes, it really is how it took place.

Now in which was I… Ah yes, the interface. Since we are however feeble customers at the whim of whatever hardware comes into the shop (unless we want to hack them and make our own that’s splendid but not truly the point of this post). The only issue to be had for us to tweak is the software, and ordinarily, the person interface.

This might be first-rate to customers, but unluckily once I say, customers, I honestly imply that 0.1% of the population that is so awesomely nerdy that they would like a command line. Okay okay, so perhaps it’s more than 0.1%, but this is beside the point. The advantage to a command line is that effects are instantaneous, the second one the consumer hits go back, they are on their way to what they wanted. The disadvantage is that they should recognize precisely what they want, that’s why this wouldn’t be a good desire for a number one enter mechanism.


Shortcuts are neat, significantly. With a rapid stroke of a few keys, magic can appear. A line indented, duplicated, moved up or down. Letters transposed, files created and stored, strange characters replaced with HTML-entities, in short, shortcuts are neat. So how can we translate this not unusual practice to a user interface for an OS? We should create a listing of objects to be launched, every with a given quantity. The user then presses a ‘1’ and sees twitter posts of those they comply with, they press ‘2’ and create a new tweet. These examples are fairly arbitrary, however, the concept here is that we want to have the shortest distance from where the consumer enters, and wherein they get what they are after.

Another way for us to shorten that distance is to expect not unusual matters the person is after. For some it is able to be the contemporary headlines, for others it is probably sports scores, or perhaps the climate. Now how can our psychic marsupial buddies remedy this architectural conundrum? Some common answers consist of widgets, a dashboard detail, or a customizable domestic view ( i.E. IGoogle ).

Widgets are pleasant due to the fact they can be self-contained, which allows builders to lead them to for every area of interest functions. Things like having a button to click on with a view to replica Lorem Ipsum in your clipboard, or only a simple calendar, widgets are excellent at filling within the gaps left by way of big applications. However, with their self contained nature, widgets also can start to soak up a big amount of space if left unchecked. Which leads us to a dashboard.

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Dashboards ( suppose automobile dashboard now not OS X dashboard ), act as a brief reference for things which are going on. We might want to recognize what time it is, or what-have-you. So we take a brief appearance and spot that it’s miles in truth three: fifty-two AM, and no matter our high-quality intentions, have stayed up all night programming again. Or maybe it is noon and you’re past due on your weekly experience to the put up office to shop for stamps. Whatever. We truly do not want to should be clicking or pressing buttons every time we need to see these statistics. So it lives on the house display, alongside our listing of programs.

Lee Hogan

Gamer. Twitter fan. Unapologetic analyst. Award-winning beeraholic. Subtly charming explorer. Cyclist, follower of Christ, drummer, Saul Bass fan and collaborator. Operating at the nexus of simplicity and elegance to save the world from bad design. Concept is the foundation of everything else.

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