Space Ramblings

Extra Small iPhone

I am over six feet tall with over size twelve feet and all the according parts to match (no this isn’t a come on) and average keyboards often strike me as a little too small. And when it comes to portable pc keyboards, you can pretty much forget about it. The keys are just too small. When my fingers try to hit one key, they often wind up hearing more than one.

I’m not some sort of massive giant but device miniaturization, especially designed in countries where the average size man is more than a bit smaller than me, produces devices with interfaces that are just too small to use. That’s why I can sympathize with iPhone users suffering from their tiny iPhonish keyboards.

Businesspeople and others who use their phones regularly for text messaging are likely to experience lots of frustration in using the Apple iPhone, at least in the short term, a research firm said Thursday.

A usability study conducted by research and consulting firm User Centric found that people who use QWERTY phone keyboards, a favorite among BlackBerry and Treo smartphone users, took twice as long to type the same message on an iPhone.

Most participants also complained that their fingers were too large for the iPhone touch keyboard, and more than half preferred the feel of an actual key, which they claimed helped them type faster. Only seven of the participants figured out how to use the predictive and/or corrective text features on the iPhone during the 30 minutes they worked with the device.

The frustration came over the sensitivity of the iPhone keypad, which resulted in 11 errors per message versus 3 errors when the same message was created on the participants’ phones. Ten of the participants owned phones with QWERTY keyboards, and 10 had phones with multi-tap systems. None of the participants had ever used an iPhone.

My own limited Apple experience with Macs suggested that they were oversensitive too. In theory input sensitivity should be adjustable but that may not be one of the features on the iPhone and after all Apple is notorious for not giving its users options, right down to elevators in stores with no keys.

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