question for a usability guru
- I have a question for the usability gurus on this list --- (I was
going to send this as an email message just to Jeff Patton, but
decided the question could be of interest to more than just him)
I am about to buy the smallest fully functional computer I can find:
5" x 3.5", pen-based, with a tiny slide out querty keyboard (approx
5" x 2"). It runs Windows XP, has 20 GB hard drive, wifi, 800x480
screen, all that good stuff, so it is not crippled in capability,
just the keyboard is small and the screen is back to the mid-90s.
I told a colleague about this gadget and his question back
was, "Well, what you normally use your computer for?"
After driving home, I realized that this may be the wrong question
entirely. After all, I don't /normally/ use a tablet computer at
all, and I normally have a touch-typable keyboard under my fingers.
So what I /normally/ do with a computer and how I am likely to find
uses for this little guy may be two separate questions.
SO, O guru-i, what would be the question(s) to ask?
How would I determine what I might do with this little tablet?
Or, indeed, how would I ask suitable usage questions to determine
whether I should buy it at all?
((I imagine that these might have been the same questions the
designers had to ask before they started to build this thing))
thanks in advance,
--- In email@example.com, Jon Kern <jonkern@c...> wrote:
<<hmmm. i think i have some things i could sell you, alistair <g>>>
I kicked around the idea of a Palm for 3 years before I gave in
decided the only way I'd know would be to buy one. It proved
instantly useless. I use a week-at-a-glance DayMinder paper
appointment book and my laptop's address book instead.
I kicked around the idea of a Blackberry for two years and waited
till I had a killer app in mind before I bought the Blackberry.
((I am thinking of retrying the Blackberry, because radio packets to
wikis is still a killer app ... but I don't know how to test the
radio coverage before buying the 1-year subscription))
I finally got DSL at home, having kicked it and cable and satellite
alternatives around for 8 years.
I buy a new laptop every 3 or 4 years and expect it to last that
long. My current one is now over 4 years old and still has legs. The
keycaps are literally worn off (you HAVE to touch type to use my
computer!) and a couple of keys have little worn-down indents where
my fingers have worn into the plastic.
I've been lucky in buying laptops, almost all panorama screens, 4
pounds or less, typically 15-17 mm key spacing so I can still touch
type, running full current professional OS with excellent (for the
time) disk space. No cut down copies need apply. I've been doing this
since Gateway's first laptop in 1994.
It takes me about 6 months to select a new computer.
In other words, you'll only sell me something if
(a) you can hold your breath a really long time and
(b) you're lucky.
This new purchase is off the edge, though, because I can't figure out
what I can and what I can't do with that screen real estate or pen; I
assume I can get a remote foldable keyboard so I'll be able to touch-
type on it sooner or later. In this one case, I'm prepared to buy a
replacement laptop as a backup plan (can afford this because prices
have come down so much recently; my first several laptops cost over
$5,000 each). On the off-chance this thing works, though, I'll have a
dynamite setup using a pocket computer...