Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Redesigning the iPhone's Buttons

Design recommendations for the iPhone ...

"... There are three possible positions that the iPhone can be in: Portrait mode, landscape mode with volume bottoms on top (BoT), and landscape mode with volume buttons on bottom (BoB). The first two positions have good natural mappings, meaning that the position of the volume buttons map well to their meaning.

When the phone is in the the portrait position, the mapping between the volume buttons and volume is clear: You press up to increase the volume and down to decrease the volume.

When the iPhone is in the BoT landscape mode, pressing right increases the volume. Is this mapping natural? It might not need to be — the relationship between volume increase/decrease and left/right is certainly weaker than with up/down. But, there is a convention held by everything from stove knobs to number lines that right means "increasing". On the iPhone, this mapping is further strengthened by the on-screen display. When you press the right button, the volume indicator moves to the right. So yes, the mapping is natural.

However, when the iPhone is in BoB landscape mode, pressing right decreases the volume. This mapping is not natural because contradicts both our conventions and (more importantly) the on-screen display. When you press the right button, the volume indicator moves to the left! You can't get much more reversed than pressing one way and having the iPhone's volume go the other."    (Continued via Humanized)    [Usability Resources]

Depending on orientation, pressing right can mean either increase or decrease the volume. - Usability, User Interface Design

Depending on orientation, pressing right can mean either increase or decrease the volume.

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