Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Co-Design, China, and the Commercialization of the Mobile User Interface

Collaborative design with China for mobile interfaces ...

"The mobile user interface is becoming a key differentiator for mobile telephony devices and services. The increased focus on usable, emotive, and branded user interfaces is the result of three key drivers. (The term “device user interface” refers to both the “core” applications management environment and applications such as contacts, messaging, and call control, as well as third-party applications such as games.) First, standardization of mobile platforms, networks, and screen technology allows the production of more-powerful handsets at lower cost. Such handsets are capable of presenting complex and display-rich user interfaces (see Figure 1) that are more attractive to users and content providers. Second, competition for the loyalty of mobile users is intense. Both mobile operators and manufacturers see a well-designed and emotive user interface as a way to differentiate their otherwise “me-too” products from competitors. Finally, end users are demanding ever more easy-to-use services and devices especially as device/network features, and therefore complexity, increase.

Collaborative Design—How Did It Start?
This user-interface design as a commercial imperative has meant that collaboration on the user-interface design has become important to those organizations facing end users, e.g., the operator and manufacturer [13,14]. The increased buying power of operators through transnational mergers, coupled with their desire to push their own brand in all aspects of product use, has created a new commercial environment vis-à-vis the user interface. In this environment, the operator and their handset “vendors” are required to work together in close proximity and within tight timescales.

The first clear example of a new kind of collaborative UI design activity began to take shape in 2003 as Vodafone [2] began to define its Live! WAP Service following a model that had already been defined by NTTDoCoMo in Japan [8]. At this time, the author led a major manufacturer’s first attempts at collaborative UI design across its European portfolio with the top six European operators. Codesign was born."    (Continued via uiGarden)    [Usability Resources]

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