π

The Limitations of Gesture Based Device Interfaces

Show Sidebar

As I already stated in my task management blog entry with Android (section "On finger gesture devices"), I had the strong feeling, that finger gesture based devices can not provide the same interface and featureset as stylus based devices.

On the mailinglist of Pimlical there was a message from a user, who describes his first impressions with his Palm Pre. Besides other problems he reported, he wrote about problems using DateBk6 (a classic Palm PDA software) in his Palm Pre emulation for old-style PalmOS applications.

http://karl-voit.at/temp/suderei/2010-02-23_Touch_Limits.png"

He mentioned problems while using his fingers to hit the small display elements that were designed to be used with a stylus and not with a finger.

In another message he suggested a separate program version as a solution: one for finger friendly use, and another one for use with a stylus. He also broke down the problem to the technical differences of capacitive and resistive touch screens. As a result, he suggested to use stylus based devices for PDA/PIM-apps and finger based devices for easy use or browsing the web. What a surprise that this happens to be exactly my current configuration (Android phone with Palm PDA).

Clayton Miller mentioned in "Why the iPad is not for web browsing (yet)" that there is a big difference (in terms of possibilities) between gesture based browsers and mouse driven browsers. Things like drag and drop or mouse hover effects can not be used by a finger based device. So he also comes to the conclusion that there is a need for a second version of each web page. One for mouse usage and one for devices that are used by fingers.

It might be the case that developers have to face the reality and provide different user interface implementations for different user interface types. Or they prefer the "easy way" and implement only the subset of things that go well on every interface.

Either way, it seems to me that there are not only problems with missing PIM-features on nowadays smart phone systems. There are also basic technical issues concerning the different usage paradigma. I will probably end up using separate devices for PIM and Web/communication/... for a longer period of time.

Note: this blog entry was originally authored using Serendipity and converted to Org-mode format for publicvoit via a dumb script. This may result in bad format or even lost content. Please write a comment if you want to get in touch with me so that I can try to fix things.


Related articles that link to this one:

Comment via email or via Disqus comments below: