Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Voice 2.0 conference examines usability issues behind mashups

Do multifunction devices add to usability problems? ...

"The phones of the future need to be simple, meet specific needs and give control to the people who use them, panelists at the first Voice 2.0 conference said.

Specialized services like this are where the money will be made in the telecom industry in future, said Martin Geddes in the conference’s opening keynote. Geddes, a British telecom consultant and author of the Telepocalypse blog, said that while the money in telecom used to be made when a customer picked up the telephone, in future it will be made before and after the phone call, on specialized devices and added capabilities such as presence awareness, integration, directories and social-networking tools.

... Research in Motion’s BlackBerry mobile device is an example. Before it appeared, said Desmond Ryan, vice-president of experience design at Design Interpretive in Ottawa, research had indicated people would not use small handheld devices with a lot of tiny buttons. Yet the BlackBerry has been a major success.

Alec Saunders, chief executive of Ottawa technology startup Iotum, described his BlackBerry as a “ridiculously complex device” that took him a long time to learn to use, but said he uses it because it keeps him in touch with his office and because of its dial-by-name capability. “You probably couldn’t pry it out of my hands,” he said, “because I’d have to go out and learn somebody else’s equally bad device.”

If user interface design is so important, an audience member asked, why do so many deep-pocketed companies do such a poor job of it?

Buxton suggested it’s partly because many businesses think that once they hire a designer or usability expert they have addressed design, but the commitment needs to go much deeper than that, becoming a part of company culture."    (Continued via IT Business)    [Usability Resources]

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