Mobile Browsing UX

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes browsing the web on the new touchscreen Blackberry Storm.

The rendering was passable but from a UI perspective, it was the most painful browsing session I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. The phone seemed to interpret every action I made as requiring it to do the thing I was least likely to want. I have a reasonably high threshold for poor usability (and several shipping apps on my current Android phone fall into that category) when I need to get something done but after only a few minutes I was close to tearing my hair out. I’m so glad we have Top Men working on mobile browsing UI. I can’t wait to get Fennec on my Android phone…

One thought on “Mobile Browsing UX

  1. Touchscreen is inherently an absolutely terrible mismatch for web browsing. The only way it could ever possibly work reasonably well would be if the screen were so large that you could scale everything up until every feature of any significance (e.g., a character) is more than a centimeter across. (For thick-fingered people like my dad, more like half an inch.) Otherwise, touchscreen just doesn’t have the resolution you need for stuff like web browsing.

    It’s even worse for photo editing. For that you’d need each *pixel* to be a finger-width across, at which point you’d pretty much have to walk across the room to reach another part of the image.

    A stylus can help a little, but it’s hard to see what you’re doing under the tip of a stylus, so you still need things to be significantly bigger than the diameter of the stick. On a handheld device, that would severely limit the amount of information you can fit on the screen at once. All the websites you want to look at had better provide mobile stylesheets that get rid of all the columns and sidebars and margins and stuff…

    Touchscreen is good for multiple-choice situations where they can give you big fat buttons for every option, e.g., those Create-A-Card kiosks at the mall. Touchscreen is a perfect fit for that usage case.