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Awards Entry: 01 Phone User Interface

Human interaction is critical to the success of mobile experiences, and often where current phones let people down. The 01 Phone design addresses the real needs of users interacting with a multi functioned device. At the core of this concept is a completely new user interface that is embedded into a tactile, rubberised sliding keyboard that is uniquely context sensitive.

Research shows that full screen QWERTY solutions remain popular, but are an imperfect interface for many modern mobile applications. On touch screens, there was a strong need to improve the accuracy of input, as well providing ‘feel-forward’ and ‘feedback’, which currently fall well short of user demands. Also, users report issues with the smudging and smearing of the screen, with the latest mobiles described as “needing more rubbing than Aladdin’s lamp!? TheAlloy has long been a proponent of dual screen solutions, one for input, one for viewing, but it became apparent that the input screen required significant additional consideration.

The physical aspect of the keyboard combines a transparent tactile button layer fitted over and protecting a bright OLED capacitive touch screen. OLED touch screens guarantee clarity and extended battery life, whilst the tactile layer offers screen protection, feel forward, haptic feedback and a significantly more comfortable experience when using the keyboard.

The key aspect of the 01 Phone user interface is the uniquely context sensitive graphical user interface that underlies the tactile ‘button’ layer. When sliding open the keyboard, the user sees the full transparent QWERTY keyboard, this keyboard then changes depending on the phone mode selected from the main menu. This means that each phone application has a completely unique and appropriate set of controls – all utilising the tactile button matrix. This concept dispenses with complex multifunction keys, and the complete dependence on sometimes inaccessible touch screen technologies – to create a unique and compelling user experience.

Choice is key with the 01 Phone concept. If the user prefers – all applications will also function completely via the main touch screen – the slide out keyboard can be used just for those applications where it is most preferred.

Taking the gaming interface as an example, on launching a mobile game on the handset, the interface will intelligently switch to Game Mode and the keyboard reflect a more familiar and dedicated control interface, with direction and action buttons clearly defined and distanced from the start/select/home buttons. Such a gamer friendly layout delivers on the aspirations of our target users who are traditionally irritated by the poor control options on mobile phones when it comes to playing, for example, popular, fast paced, arcade style action gaming.

“The 01 phone not only looks beautiful, it brilliantly addresses many of our readers’ desires for their ultimate mobile phone. We created the 01 Phone to challenge the industry to deliver better; we believe we have the design for a worthy market-leading handset.?
Michael Brook, Editor, T3 Magazine

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About the author
Marek Pawlowski Marek Pawlowski is the founder of MEX. Since 1995, he has focused the MEX business on helping digital industries to develop better, more profitable products through improved understanding of user behaviour with mobile devices and wireless networks. MEX is best known for its events, research and consulting, which balance commercial, technical and user insights to define the future of mobile user experience. Web http://www.pmn.co.uk/mex/ | Email mp@pmn.co.uk
Posted on
8 May 2009
Categories
Design Competition