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Designing a better cell phone user interface

Given that the cell phones on the market seem to be so often badly designed - at least in terms of usability - it seems that the industry could use some sort of design reference. Cell phones have been on the mass-market for rather a while. Surely by now someone would have taken a stab at writing up some sort of guidelines, or offered some sort of reference design?

Went searching and - oddly enough - did not come up with much.

Tiresias - Guidelines (Mobile Phones) MIDP GUI Programming: Programming the Phone Interface Trace and phones Excerpt from "Everyone Interfaces" Trace Center Cell Phone Reference Design 1

Seems that most of the guidelines are focused on folks with disabilities. To be brutally honest, free-market companies care very little about the disabled as they represent only a very small portion of the market. On the other hand, there does not seem to be focus on usability for mainstream consumers. Maybe I did not look in the right places. On the other hand, since the end result - the devices on the market - is so poor, we have to assume that effectively no one else is able to find relevant information.

From personal experience I can take a rough first cut at guidelines:

I am sure with thought, working examples (and counter-examples), additional guidelines would be easy to come by. Note that the minimum usable widths given above for the screen and keypad both work out to about the same (a big hint perhaps?).

Consumer Reports sent out another survery lately, asking which areas we thought they should focus their efforts. Of the choices they offered, none really struck me as especially suitable for Consumer Reports, as while I did not doubt their intentions, I did doubt their ability to make a difference (some issues are just too big).

On the other hand, focusing on cell phones and good user interface design might be just exactly the right-sized problem for these folks to tackle. Guidance in choosing easy-to-use cell phones will surely help out a lot of consumers, and the number of consumers involved is enough to make manufacturers pay attention. I can hope :).