Saturday, June 09, 2007

Users won’t care about iPhone keyboard usability

The iPhone will sell dispite lack of keyboard usability ...

"Each time I look at something related to the iPhone, I keep coming back to one aspect of the device I don’t like - the onscreen keyboard. As much as I think that the glass-topped software-powered keyboard on the iPhone looks cool, I keep coming back the one thing that’s important about a keyboard to me - usability. Do I think that the iPhone’s keyboard is going to be an efficient input device? No. Is this going to mean that Apple is going to have a hard time selling iPhones? Probably not.

For me, the main point of a keyboard is to allow me to input data quickly and efficiently. I don’t like the idea of screwing around with a critical input device just for the sake of simplification and making it cool. The trade-off just isn’t worth it. You can have the best, coolest, most fully-featured device in the world, but if you can’t get information into it, it’s really nothing more than a fancy paperweight. For me, any company that claims to have come up with a new, innovative, easy to use keyboard on the first attempt makes me wary. When I need to pay $500+ and sign-up to a 2 year contract to discover just how easy to use that revolutionary new system is, it’s a total deal-breaker. Pass, I’ll wait and see what the next version has to offer. That’s why I can still be excited about the technology crammed into the iPhone and yet at the same time give it a wide berth.

But will the lack of a usable keyboard on the iPhone cripple Apple’s dream gadget? No, it won’t. Why? Because the people who will be the early adopters are buying a feeling they’ve been sold. I remember the owner of a publishing company once telling me that they could happily ship out books where everything past the first chapter was replaced by a block of styrofoam and most people wouldn’t notice (and it would be profitable, even if they had to overnight a proper book to everyone who complained). Folks in the publishing industry know that many of their customers never read past the first chapter. Folks in the cellphone industry know that many of their customers never use anything other than the most basic of features on their cellphone."    (Continued via    [Usability Resources]

iPhone - Usability, User Interface Design



Anonymous Peter said...

I think that the usability crowd unanimously agrees that the lack of keys is going to be a significant issue for the iPhone and it is nice to see some logic applied to some of Apples product as opposed to blindly falling in love with everything they make.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that those of us who've had touchscreen keyboards (even with predictive text) know what a pain they are to use for any length of time.

I predict that carrying a little stylus nub that fits over your forefinger, could become a popular iPhone accessory for the messaging owners!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

QWERTY is designed for ten fingers! But keyboards like what has are desinged for one finger on a touch screen. Why not use that?

Besides, that keyboard works for PDAs and Tablet PC by real people.

Someone has solved that problem for apple. all they have to do is to become less complacent and use it!

2:55 PM  

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