Designing an Interface For Small Screens

I 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 remote computer is that it runs Windows XP. Now, I don’t have anything towards Windows XP in general, and 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 complete location that everyone to without difficulty fails to fulfill the proportions of the human finger.

Small Screens

Many attributes of the machine itself make things difficult, including that it’s far as such, a tiny computer. Long ago, the evil Dr. Netbook fired a reduced ray at the ordinary computer and then laughed maniacally as the little laptop turned into born. Yes, it 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 indeed 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 is so awesomely nerdy that they would like a command line. 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 reasonable 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 encourage ‘2’ and create a new tweet. These examples are relatively 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 can be the recent headlines; for others, it probably sports scores or perhaps the climate. Now how can our psychic marsupial buddies remedy this architectural conundrum? Common answers include widgets, a dashboard detail, or a customizable domestic view ( i.E. IGoogle ).

Widgets are pleasant because they can be self-contained, allowing builders to lead them to every area of interest. Things like having a button to click on with a view to replica Lorem Ipsum in your clipboard or only simple calendar widgets are excellent at filling within the gaps left by way of significant applications. However, gadgets can also soak up a large amount of space if left unchecked with their self-contained nature, leading us to a dashboard.

Small Screens

Dashboards ( suppose automobile dashboard now, not OS X dashboard ) act as a brief reference for things 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 genuinely do not want to click or press buttons every time we need to see these statistics. So it lives on the house display, alongside our listing of programs.

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