12:47, Saturday 6 Jul., 2002

An analysis of menu structures and their usefulness in Cellular Handset Interfaces (pdf) [via nooface]. Suggests ways of improving the interface for novice and expert users, from three angles: the user has to be aware of their position on the interface map and how they move in it (more options visible; animation feedback); options have to be categorised correctly (a ringtones menu, or a settings menu?); novice users have to feel comfortable exploring the map without fear of accidental changes. Also, is this the correct form of UI? How about using WML (the markup language behind WAP) to allow editable, non-hierarchic interfaces? This is where I feel the paper falls down -- it's the query vs hierarchy (or association vs location) problem. Just because hierarchy doesn't work brilliantly doesn't mean it should be thrown away completely. The problem with building association into the phone is that it replaces a human process (the brain is good at association) with an automatic one, which is bound to fail. But I'm getting off the point: A couple of days ago I saw a phone with the colour screen. And a swimming fish screensaver. O! The onward march of progress!

Interconnected

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