Innovative UI Means More Usage

One of the problems with smartphone mobile data has often been that designers simply tried to shrink the desktop experience down to the mobile phone — which didn’t make sense for two core reasons: (1) the real estate is obviously much more limited and (2) people don’t use mobile phones in the same way they use computers. They serve a different purpose, and the UI doesn’t necessarily make sense for the mobile environment, which is often about communication and doing things on the go. That’s why it’s interesting to hear that Virgin Mobile in the UK has apparently had success with a new mobile interface system called Qix. From the description, it sounds like Qix takes the “predictive text” concept already used on many mobile phones and expands it beyond just the actual writing of text, but to figure out what you intended to do with the phone. So, as you go about doing something on your phone, the system learns from what you usually do, and tries to quickly make suggestions of what it thinks you’re trying to do — often letting you get there more quickly. It’s not hard to see how this could be even more useful, but also showing users that their mobile phones can do things they didn’t even know it could do. Qix isn’t new (and not the only player trying to do this) and has received some rave reviews in the past — but hearing about actual successful results in a real world environment is encouraging that maybe we’re finally getting beyond the idea that the mobile interface is a mini-computer, and towards making it much more useful.

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