Designing for the mobile and fixed

Found time to sort my notes from last week's workshop. Quick and dirty revision below The first presenter, Alan Dix, nailed down the differences between designing for the mobile and fixed in his "interaction with and through the mobile" speech. He pointed out the main differences: context/device/interaction/infrastructures.

Limited: screen size (if they have screen at all), input, bandwidth, cost connectivity (still today), computational power, heterogeneous platforms BUT opportunities (sensor, camera, projector) Context: variable context (street, meeting, train), focus of interaction (short focused activity, divided attention), interruptions (by mobile devices or mobile task, opportunistic), privacy and security issues, intimacy and availability, ergonomics (movement and vibration when walking/in car, etc.)

Besides, he showed how requirements and evaluation is hard: it's not that you can't do things, it's different. It's particularly hard to do field observation: - distribution of tasks in time and space - may use diary studies - or 'transect' study (loots at people for short time), you only get snippets

And even in the lab because screen capture and device logging may need special toolkits AND it's hard to capture eye gaze etc. hard with device in the air, but holding device on table worse

Heuristics such as Nielsen's are heavily used in UI design but situation is changed with mobile. There are heuristics of mobile UI literature: see Bertini et al. (2007). Appropriating heuristic evaluation methods for mobile computing

May use screen emulator OR "kludge" hardware; what is good enough? Or have 1/2 prototypes (physical input proto but screen on computer with different levels of fidelity)

The second tutorial was by Paul Coulton who gave an insightful overview of the creative capabilities of mobile devices to support original interactions. Paul presented a wide range of interactions using touch/near field communication, the digital camera or location-based scenarios using hands-on examples. I have already blogged about this "exquisite corpse" design rationale which I found intriguing. A slide that struck me as relevant concerning the difference between mobile and fixed computing stated the following:

Opportunities: context (location, presence, sensing), connectivity, feature evolution large demographic, high device penetration, changing fashion Constraints: constrained platforms, fragmentation (difficulty to reach critical mass), porting, distribution (nobody download), low revenues (nobody wants to pay), skills shortage

Why do I blog this? even if it's very raw here (no time to blog lately), I find interesting to describe recent material concerning the difference between fixed and mobile computing.