James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

To Mobile Media or NOT Mobile Media

Posted on | May 28, 2011 | No Comments

I am a huge advocate of creating and diseminating media to be consumed via a mobile device, a smartphone.

But there are problems to be addressed.

I am not a BlackBerry fan BUT maybe, just maybe, the PlayBook is the answer to the problems of reading off of a mobile phone screen?

The pairing or bridging of the PlayBook with a BlackBerry phone is the logical extension, or playground for the user of the BlackBerry.

So what is the issue of reading with my iPhone?

Size of the screen and the ability to read the content.

This is something that is being spoken about and I am not so sure enough attention is being given to the content consumption issues associated with smartphones and the screens.

Here is an interesting bit of research on screen size and data comprehension.

When reading from an iPhone-sized screen, comprehension scores for complex Web content were 48% of desktop monitor scores.It’s more painful to use the Web on mobile phones than on desktop computers for many reasons:

  • Slower downloads
  • No physical keyboard for data entry
  • No mouse for selection; no mouse buttons to issue commands and access contextual menus (indeed fewer signaling states, as discussed further in our seminar on Applying HCI Principles to Real World Problems: a touchscreen only signals “finger-down/up,” whereas a mouse has hover state in addition to button press/release)
  • Small screen (often with tiny text)
  • Websites designed for desktop access instead of following the usability guidelines for mobile
  • Whacky app UIs that lack consistency

New research by R.I. Singh and colleagues from the University of Alberta provides one more reason: it’s much harder to understand complicated information when you’re reading through a peephole.


Yet another area to give a little more consideration as we start talking about smartphone use in education.



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