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Innovation Of Mobile Interfaces Computer Science Essay

The invention of mobile phones has changed the lifestyle of every one and now they have become the basic need of daily life. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of different innovative mobile interfaces, especially iPhone-style phone with touch screen interfaces that meet the diverse demand of the user. The new innovative interface design brings a totally new concept of interactive mobile phone interface design. The iPhone-style phone mobile devices have opened new horizon of research in future innovative interface design.

First we described about some motivations, why we are in need of iPhone-style phone as other mobile phones are also available with call and many others functionalities in the open market and they are easy to operate for the general use of phone. In this report, we are going to focus on iPhone-style phone mobile interfaces only with touch screen. The iPhone-style phones give us some extra advantages with the basic call facilities. These extra facilities include internet services, multi-touch and high resolution interface. With the rise of internet mobile phone users, the iPhone-style phone mobile are coming into play to facilitate an increase in the internet workforce and personal computing users.

We used the literature reviews to compare the different kind of smart phone interfaces which are available, some new coming smart phones interfaces and their types. A survey based analysis to identify the users of the iPhone-style phone with touch screen and the problems with the usage of iPhone-style phone with touch screen.

Mobile phone devices have become an integral part of our daily life. No one can imagine the life without them. There are many different types, brand of mobile phones and multimedia smart phones are now available, all these devices are used for phone calls, writing messages, internet browsing and some other activities. Now they are not merely devices but people seem to be addicted. They often feel inadequate and uncomfortable without them [1]. The success of any mobile model is based on the way of interaction provides to its users. There is need of the time to provide a user friendly interface, and it has been the challenging task for the manufacturers to keep them active player in this game [2]. That’s why there is much competition in mobile phone manufacturing industry that how to provide the products that are simple to use, attractive and reasonable for different types and classes of users. During the last 10 years, extensive research has been done in mobile interface development and it has brought new innovation in it.

In the history of interactive mobile phones, touch screen interface has been developing for several years. Apple Newton was the first device which was like a PDA. After that it was greatly enhanced by the Palm Pilot. In this decade the mobile phone’s launch, it has changed the world of mobile phone, bringing new age of smart-phones with multi touch-screens and minimal hardware interface. Apple’s iPhone is the latest version of touch screen mobile phone family. The iPhone is an internet-enabled multimedia smart phone. It has a multi touch screen with virtual keyboard, buttons and minimal hardware interface. It has finger friendly user interface include iPod and camera functionality, in addition to messaging and visual voicemail. It also offers internet services including e-mail, web browsing and local Wi-Fi connectivity [3].

An importance of smart phones is increasing day by day. This is due to the fact that the touch-screen user interface provides easy and quick access to the application, rather than in some simple mobile phones, user need to press too much buttons to perform single task.

Nowadays touch screen is a latest technology in mobile phones. Three types of touch-screen mobiles are available.

Single-Touch

Multi-Touch

Multi-Touch All-Points

2 Historical Background of iPhone

Mobile phone technology is transferring generation to generation from many years. This technology has become an essential part of our lives and mobile phone devices became more vital and attractive in the telecom sector. Nowadays the mobile phone users are more than the PCs user as Martin writes in his White paper on Universal mobile interface that

”Today there are about 3.5 billion mobiles, as compared to about 1 billion PCs. This relationship is not expected to change very much but more mobiles are gradually becoming Internet enabled, data speeds are increasing, and services are becoming more affordable” [4].

The Apple is considered as one of the major electronics products company especially in case of the iPhone with touch screen, as for as our knowledge their products considered to be innovative, trendy and functional. The Apple has introduced a device in the mobile accessories known as the iPhone with touch screen. The Apple’s iPhone is the small and light phone device with the ability to run the internet services on it.

Generally the iPhone has a touch screen, we performed input task from the touch screen‘s virtual keyboard, that keyboard contain all the possibly used characters, numeric keys, functional keys and other virtual keys like enter, escape and exit. The origin of the iPhone is the United States of America here first time the Apple iPhone became available in 29th of June 2007. This is the start in the development of the iPhone and at that time the iPhone started purchased at Apples own sales centre and AT&T brand stores. After that the iPhone became available in Europe [5].

Nowadays iPhone is not a very atypical, rare and unique thing for the users and they are available throughout the world according to our information. The invention of iPhone opened the new horizon in the telecom field. Now in current iPhone mobile interfaces many extraordinary features added and still the research is continuous as before that how the touch screens of these mobile phone became more and more attractive and how the more new features embedded in them which may be proved more user friendly and attractive for the market. We discussed these features and some extra features in this report.

3 Research Methodology

We used the qualitative research approach, for investigating the ongoing research in this area. Our research question is “What are the new innovations in mobile interfaces, especially iPhone-style phones with only touch screen”.

We ensured the validity of our question by literature review and by using the different techniques of the qualitative research approach. This review enabled us to present an insight about the responsible factors concerning the gaps in the iPhone-style phones interfaces with only touch screen if there exist any. We compared the different kind of interfaces, research and new adaption in the iPhone-style phones with only touch-screen. Try to evaluate the best design by previous research, ongoing research analysis and survey.

“Qualitative research uses the natural setting as the source of data. The researcher attempt to observe, describe and interpret settings as they are.” maintaining what Patton calls an "empathic neutrality" (1990, p. 55) [6].

Similarly we tried to observe, describe and interpret the iPhone-style phones innovative mobile interfaces which are already available and the new interfaces as well which are coming in near future.

To evaluate the “iPhone-style mobile interfaces” existing and new ones we used the usability analysis to observe that how much people like which kind of iPhone-style mobile interfaces and reasons for liking and disliking by conducting some interviews, analysis of the previous documents published, materials available on the internet and from the previous research observations.

3.1 Usability

“Usability is a qualitative attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use” [7].

There are many definitions for usability but the Donna Maurer used very good one from ISO 9241-11 “usability as ―the degree to which a product can be used by particular users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a particular context of use” [7].

Jakob Nielsen defines Usability in terms of five characteristics:

Learn ability: The system should be easy to learn, so that the user should quickly and easily do their work with system.

Efficiency. The system should be efficient to use, when the user learned about the usage of the system. Then we can expect the good level of productivity.

Memorability: The system should be easy to remember, if frequent users used the system after some period of time. They should not learn the entire thing again.

Errors. Whenever the users use the system, they should make a very few errors while using the system. But on the other hand the system should be protected from catastrophic errors or failure of the system

Satisfaction. The system should be pleasurable to use, so that users should free from discomfort [7].

As the end user became more diverse and less technical, interactive system came to be compared and evaluated with respect to usability-the quality of the system with respect to the ease of learning, ease of use and user satisfaction. The factors that make a system more or less usable are complex and are still the topic of considerable research [8].

The term usability is an abstract term that refers to these and similar qualities of a user interface [9]. The usability of a device can be maximized by using different usability engineering techniques. Some of them are used before and some are used after the development of new product i.e. paper and computer prototyping (low fidelity and high fidelity prototypes), gaining user feedback through online surveys, focusing target groups, contextual observation, requirement analysis interviews and heuristic evaluations [10].

In this project work we emphasized on the efficiency factor of usability. We identified and discussed the iPhone-style innovative interfaces features in the new touch screen mobile phones that were either not present or less developed in old mobiles. A mobile phone with an innovative interface creates good impact, awareness and understanding among the users by guiding them in multidimensional ways for achieving their goals, hence resulting increase in the efficiency of mobile phones usage.

4 Innovation in Mobile Interfaces

Normal user’s demands change swiftly and they want the same pace in technology to meet their changing lifestyle. That is the reason for the short life duration of the devices and companies have to introduce new models. Therefore people like new innovation in the devices regarding new technology and new fashion. They want to see their interest and their taste in the things belonging to them so companies offer devices that meets the user requirement, and which lets them free and fun, which should be light, simple and carefree. User can change internal and external interface according to their needs and interest. The iPhone, WM interface, Nokia 888 and Dynamic 3D S-Class user interface are the best suitable examples for the purpose of this new innovation in mobile interface

Some of the new innovations in mobile internal and external interfaces

Single-touch interface

Multi-touch interface

WM interface

Reshape the interface

4.1 Single-touch Interface

Normally we operate these types of devices in super market, filling stations and check-in terminal at the airport. We can interact with touch-screen devices only just one finger.

Single-touch mobile phone provides more space and minimal button interface, which are easier to use. Mostly single-touch mobile phones using the Apple’s Mac OS and Microsoft’s Vista operating system. These operating systems are providing more comprehensive support for touch-screen mobile phone operations.

“In 1993, BellSouth and IBM released the Simon smart phone, the first to use touch-screen technology” [11].

Currently available mobiles are HTC Magic, Palm Pre, LG Arena, Sony Ericson IDOU, Nokia N97, Samsung Omnia HD.

Figure 1: Single-touch screen Interface

4.2 Multi-touch screen Interface

In multi-touch screen interface user can touch the screen more than one point simultaneously.

For example, one can zoom-in and zoom-out images by pinching the display with the thumb and forefinger [11].

The finger is considered to be more efficient pointing device as compare to mouse. So that’s why Apple introduced multi-touch interface, which is considered more innovative now a days. Apple’s iPhone is stylish device which has touch screen interface. As a touch screen, its user friendly and have powerful features, such as messaging, email, calls, internet browsing, music player and application installation facility [12]. Currently multi-touch interface mobiles are iPhone 3G, HTC HD2.

Figure 2: Apple’s 3G and HTC HD2

4.3 Windows Mobile Interface

Microsoft provides the windows mobile platform. Windows Mobile Smart-phones were designed to fulfil the requirements of phones which were not provided in Pocket PC Phones. These mobile phones are not fully touch-screens but have maximum functionality like emails, messaging, multi-media features, software installation, internet browsing, and phone calls.

Motorola Q and HTC's TouchFLO 3D are examples of Windows Mobile Smartphone. Windows mobile Smartphone are smaller and lighter than Pocket PC phones and keep it in your pocket [13].

Figure 3: Windows Mobile Smartphone Interface

4.4 Reshaping the interface

Nokia gives the new concept of reshaping the interface of mobile phones. According to the idea of Nokia’s 888, user can change the shape like bent, twisted and wrapped into different shapes like a wristband. It is light weight, flexible-touch screen and also has speech recognition facility.

Figure 4: Nokia 888 mobile

5 Recently launched Smart phone

Google has launched its smart phone on 07th of January 2010. Google's Nexus One mobile phone has all features of smart phone which are currently available in other mobile phones. It has some new features like voice enabled key board for any text field, in this way one can send messages by just saying something as voice input, similarly in the case of e-mail and some search query you just speak and it takes text accordingly [14].

Figure 5: Google’s Nexus One

6 New Future Development

Apple’s iPhone 4G was announced in last year and it is coming in June 2010. The new iPhone is going to be loaded with new features like sleeker body design, OLED screen, removable battery, built-in GPS, Add-in facility and front side camera for iChat [15].

Figure 6: Apple’s iPhone 4G

Nokia and University of Cambridge have announced the development of Morph which is a new concept of mobile phone. It is new idea of future mobile devices which are stretchable and flexible. User can change their mobile devices into different shapes [16].

Figure 7: Nokia’s Morph, a concept mobile phone

7 Data Collection and Survey Analysis

To get detailed information about the usability analysis of the iPhone-style mobile interface with touch screen we conducted interviews based surveys round about 150 people randomly almost of all ages and different professions in Stockholm Sweden and some online questions based survey. It helped us to estimate a rough idea about the iPhone-style phone with only touch screen and if they are using the iPhone-style phone with touch screen then their thinking about the iPhone-style phone with touch screen’s user interface. It’s very hard to conduct interviews like this. Especially when you are in a new place and also the language is also problem for us because when we start the physical interviews most of the people starts in Swedish but then understanding the language barrier they communicate well in English. Most of the places which we selected for interviews are the centrums or the places where all kinds of people are easily available so we assured our questions about each profession, technical and non technical people. Major focused of our questioners is on what are the major issues related to the usability of iPhone-style phone with touch screen and how they used these interfaces. Are they feeling easy to use the touch screen as compared to the interfaces with physical pads with buttons?

Now we described the question based analysis first we interviewed around about 150 people and among these only 31 people used the iPhone-style phone with touch screen which is very low as compared to our thinking. The figure below indicates the percentage of users of according to the survey question iPhone-style phone with only touch screen.

Figure 8: Show Statistics of question (How many people use iPhone-style Phone with touch screen?)

Next important question about the age of the user when we count the age question among the above 31 users of iPhone-style phone with touch screen from total 150 persons the most of the people are below 30.We also draw a chart according to the age of iPhone-style phone users which indicates the percentage according to the user’s age.

Figure 9: Show Statistics of question (What is your age?)

Diagram shows the users of iPhone-style phone with respect to age. Normally the people used the iPhone-style phone with touch screen are mostly the technical people and they are young as we discussed above most are under the age of 30. This gives us the conclusion that iPhone-style phone is not used by the all people with different ages equally as the others simple phones are used.

Next important question about the iPhone-style with touch screen is that are you satisfied with the available interface of the iPhone-style phone with touch screen. This proved to be confusing for the users as well as for us because nobody has some compact answer of that question.

Anyhow most of the people replied as they are almost satisfied with the available interface of the iPhone-style phone with touch screen. Any how some said that there should be something extra on interface but when we asked about what there should be extra then they have no answer of that but they said that there should be something more which proved to be helpful for them. The chart below shows the Distribution of the satisfied and dissatisfied people among 31, 20 users are satisfied, 4 have no comments just 7 people says they are not little bit satisfied with the iPhone-style phone touch screen’s interface which are available in the market.

Figure 10: Show Statistics of question (Are you satisfied with iPhone-style Phone with touch screen‘s user interface?)

When we asked the users, using iPhone-style phone only with touch screen, that why they used the iPhone-style phone with touch screen?, everybody has its own opinion but most common answers are because they want to use the internet on their own mobile phone instead of the note book computer, by listening songs and watching videos, just because of fashion and due to good colour resolution and so on. The chart picture given below show the representation of the answers received from different users.

Figure 11: Show Statistics of question (Why you used iPhone-style Phone with touch screen?)

Another important thing which we asked to the users of the iPhone-style phone is about the problem of using the iPhone-style phone the most of the user said that some time the iPhone-style phone browser fail to properly display the web site they want to open most probably the web sites and some users said that their also some time they feels the hand pain when they used the touch screen of the iPhone-style phone with only touch screen for some long mail or message. These are the most commonly used problems with the iPhone-style phone with only touch screen which we observe during the survey. The figure below shows the percentage of the people which indicates the problem and which says it’s ok.

Figure 12: Show Statistics of question (What are the problems you faced by using iPhone-style Phone with touch screen?)

This interview based survey proved to be very useful for us first with respect to the Scientific writing’s and research methodology report and second it would be very useful for us to get some technical information about the iPhone-style phone with only touch screen and we observed the things as we have mentioned above which we can’t learnt before.

8 Challenges in iPhone-style phone Mobile interfaces

8.1 Customisability

Personalization or customization is very common in mobile phone users. A normal user may personalize the following attributes, sorted out by H. Jonna, et al. in a case study [17].

Background image (wall paper)

Screen brightness

Screen backlight off timer

Screen saver

Adding photo to a phonebook contact

Audio profiles

Some options that are not mentioned would be good for some users but not important enough for other user or these options should be customizable, and every user choose option according to their choice and liking.

8.2 Problems with touch-screen of iPhone-style phone

Hand pain by long time using touch screen.

Some time web sites not available when you browse.

Low precision due to finger.

Screens may get dirty.

It is also difficult when driving and walking through a busy super market.

Some people feel that a touch screen is so sensitive.

Touch screen makes it difficult to text using touch alone.

8.3 Performance and Cost

Performance and cost are also the important factors for users. Before designing any product, target group should be in mind and it should be research that which class of users will target this device? And what functions should be included in this device according to their cost and performance? Similarly by embedding too much functionalities and features in a single tool may result in high cost and complexity. High performance and features also affect the cost of the device. But one of the reasons which we observe from the survey conducted that very rare people use the iPhone-style phone with touch screen, is also that they have high cost as compared to other simple mobile phones, that’s why mostly the business class and wealthy people mostly keep the iPhone-style phone with only touch screen. One more thing which raises the cost of the iPhone-style phone is the monthly bill of the phone.

8.4 Technology Freaks

From study and survey we came to know that young and teenager users are more technology freaks, as compared to the old ones. Teenagers and young users’ demands change swiftly and they want the same pace in technology to meet their changing lifestyle. That is the reason for the short life span of the devices and companies have to introduce new models. Also we observe that the people under 30 years of age mostly used the iPhone-style phone with touch screen due to the technology freaks.

9 Benefits of iPhone-style phone with touch screen

According to the survey we conducted the following are the major advantages of iPhone-style phone with touch Screen.

In touch-screen mobile phones finger behave as a pointing device which is direct pointing to objects, so it is fast but less precise without pen.

Key pad is not necessary for applications that need button click and menu selections.

Another main advantage is that it provides a bigger screen, which is fit for multi-media functionality, photographs and internet browsing.

QWERTY format keypad.

Easy to carry as compared to note book computer and give the almost same functionalities.

Nowadays some latest iPhone-style phone with touch screen provides the facility to send messages, mails and typed text by just sound input. This will prevent the user from hand pain by just typing text and save time as well.

10 Analysis

From the discussion above we analyze that due to the improved innovative mobile interfaces of iPhone-style phone with touch screen of new mobiles they support variety of functionalities which were not presented in the old mobile phones. Due to improved interfaces, the number of functions performed by them as well as the way the functions are performed by the new mobile phones we can say that they provide greater efficiency as compare to old mobiles phone’s interfaces.

The efficiency is visible from the new iPhone-style phone with touch screen in the term of voice and gesture user interface, flexible design, and intelligence interface feature. That’s why iPhone-style phone with touch screen users as shown in our survey report which is going to very high level of satisfaction with this product.

On the other hand it is not possible that everybody likes the product at the same rate. Because everyone has its own choice that’s the reason some people in the survey and survey’s result criticise the design and the features of the iPhone-style phone with touch screen. But these kinds of criticism and gaps are really good for the future improvements of the design. Due to this criticism and gaps new features gradually added in the interface design and functionality of the iPhone-style phone with touch screen. As we discussed above in our report in latest smart phones Google nexus one has given some extra functions in its design and had overcome some of the problems of iPhone-style phone with touch screen like text input by just voice input. This will almost reduced the problem of hand pain by typing mails and long messages on the touch screen key board. Competition in the interface design of iPhone-style phone with touch screen also one of the major factor is improving the design problems and it brings innovation in the field of mobile interface design.

11 Conclusion

In this report we have explored the important factors, design patterns and principles that should be in consideration to incorporate the user’s requirements into devise of iPhone-style phone with touch screen mobile devices. We have also discussed the some of the challenges of iPhone-style phone with touch screen interfaces. This study and survey we conducted also support in understanding the new innovation in the field of iPhone-style phone mobile interface design. This new innovation will revolutionize our life.

We discussed the iPhone-style mobile phone with touch screen interfaces that seemed amazing and new innovation in this field. These new concepts totally change the interface design of the mobile devices and bring a new innovation in the field of iPhone-style phone with touch screen interface design. The result of the study and survey analysis shows that a significant research is going on, but there are many surprising aspects creating great opportunities of research and development in iPhone-style phone mobile interfaces with touch screen.

Improvement and innovation in the iPhone-style phone with touch screen is only possible by identifying the challenges and user requirements. These new innovations strengthen the faith to design best fit design interface that fulfil the diverse demands and requirement of the user. This is the step forward for future innovation in the field of iPhone-style phone with touch screen interface design.


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