Monday, 3 March 2014

Big Hands: Remedying the Ergonomic Problem

Posted by Jason Whitewood On 3/03/2014
Smartphones represent a quantum leap in mobile technology. Whereas a mobile entertainment system must consist of several devices (mp3 player, mobile phone, laptop, etc.), smartphones integrate everything. Now you have a mobile phone that can play music and movies, as well as browse the Internet.

Despite the radical leap, ergonomics still remains an issue, especially with the early smartphones and mobile devices. With the screen barely big enough to properly press a button, some users find it hard to send messages or browse websites without accidentally hitting something. Admit it: this has very likely happened to you once.

Manufacturers look to bigger screens in future models to mitigate the ergonomic issue, giving rise to the so-called “phablet,” a phone-and-tablet hybrid. For web designers, however, they see bigger buttons as the solution. Make mobile versions with buttons big enough to accommodate big fingers and prevent hitting the wrong buttons.

Think about it: instead of hyperlinks in text that you have to pinch-zoom to access, make buttons that don’t need pinch-zooming. Aside from faster loading times, mobile websites make browsing easier for smartphone and tablet users. It may not be the ultimate solution to the long-standing ergonomic problem, but it’s a good springboard to other, more advanced solutions.


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