Keypad Mobile Phones

Research methodology for

Creative Digital Technology on

Interaction Design

Interactive Mobile

Keywords:Interactive mobile phone, interactive keypad, OLCD

The purpose of this paper is to present my idea of interactive keypad for mobile phones, i.e. OLCD (organic liquid crystal display) keypad display changes according to the selected option. Specially designed for the users above the age of sixty. According to our team survey, people above the ages of sixty find it difficult to write sms or maintain contact list on conventional mobile phone.

The phone with interactive keypad will have two displays, one that acts as only the output (main display of the mobile) while the other one (the keypad) can take the input and display keys depending upon the requirement. There will be a fixed button for immediate access of the numeric keys for going back and forward.

In this report we present the methods that we used to develop our idea and also our user evaluation. The reactions we received about the Interactive keypad were positive.

1. Introduction

1.1BACKGROUND

The fundamental concept of cellular phones exists from 1947, after that, a lot of changes came in the form of mobile services and mobile phones with multiple functionalities. (Phone Warehouse 2004) [5] But one thing that is never changed is the mobile keypad. Mobile manufacturing companies are still designing same old style keypads for their products. Today mobile phone companies are trying to design compact size mobile phones but are ignoring the user above sixty. Human ability to interact become weaker when they are getting older and with shaking hands. Dialling or typing sms is almost impossible for Senior citizen/Old age, and thus consider the last stage of the human life cycle. This gave us an idea to design a keypad that can be big in size and interactive so users can easily recognise the functionality of the selected option.

1.2 Keypad Functionality

Instead of using simple keys this technique allows you to easily interact with your mobile. OLCD supported icons that assist mobile user to categorize the functionality quickly. (See fig.1) Keypad will support contacts option of the mobile with image displaying features on keypad to easily access to their contact. (KDE Quality Team HOWTO, 2007) [7]

Fig 1 our mobile interface designed by Azeem OLCD showing contacts pictures

1.3 OLCD (organic liquid crystal display)

For keypad we have done some research to fine right display, for that we use internet and compare displays like LED, LCD, OLED but according to our research OLCD is commonly used in small devices because of its low power consumption and that makes it perfect selection for our interactive keypad. According to the web site www.howstuffworks.com (By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. 2007) [2]

“An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is any light-emitting diode (LED) whose emissive electroluminescent layer comprises a film of organic compounds. The layer usually contains a polymer substance that allows suitable organic compounds to be deposited. They are deposited in rows and columns onto a flat carrier by a simple “printing” process. The resulting matrix of pixels can emit light of different colors” (By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. 2007) [2]

1.4 Previous work

The report uses ideas and technology that already exists, but in new way. These days a lot of research going on in the field mobile interfaces for instance I-phone. This phone’s input is accomplished via touch screen with virtual keyboard and buttons(The New York Times, (2007-06-27). [3] On the other hand our interactive keypads idea is a bit unique.

We present our idea Interactive Mobile Keypad on SIDeR 2006 as a poster conference and had very positive feedbacks from other research students and representatives from Nokia mobile company; we got an invitation to meet them in Finland to discuss more. Due to the financial problem we were unable to except there invitation. (SIDeR 2006) [9] On other hand i-phone lunched during the keynote address at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 9, 2007. (Iphone Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 2007) [4]

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2. METHOD

We decided to use different methods to see if we can get more interesting information. What we have decided is that by using all of these methods we hope to get valuable information, for example asking open-ended questions from end users. We use the method that should not be time consuming, and help to collect much more information from the intended users.

2.1 Writing a Diary method

We planned that during our design process we will be keeping a diary and note down what we are doing, thinking and telling. This will allow us to keep everything recorded, so nothing valuable will be lost during the process. We noticed that it was very easy to get an overview of what we have done and what was left to do. (Joaquim Sá 20 February 2001) [6]

2.2 Brainstorming Method

At our first get-together we sat down to brainstorm about ideas for our design project. The aim of the brainstorming was to quickly create large number of ideas [1]. We discussed what mobility is and what we can come up with that we want to design. During this session all team members where allowed to express their ideas. (Löwgren & Stolterman (2005) [1]

2.3 Design Methods

We decided that we wanted to apply why-why-why method, so that we would keep a broad perspective in the inquiry-intensive phase. We used brainstorming, the future workshop method. By using all of these methods we got a good overview, if the idea can be interesting for the elderly people. (Löwgren & Stolterman (2005) [1]

2.3.1 Why-Why-Why Method

According to Löwgren & Stolterman (2005)[1] in order to keep a broad perspective it is essential to question and move beyond the problem as it is currently perceived. We asked a number of why questionsand build a chain of logic to clarify the users their characteristics, for example, background, attitude to user backward from theoriginal formulation on the white-board (See figure 2). We believe that this method helped us to see what can be the reason behind the problem area and it helped us to recognize how our solution will help to solve the problem. (Löwgren & Stolterman (2005) [1]

Fig 2 Designed by me showing some of the questions and answers for why why method

2.3.2 Brainstorming & body storming method

After we had done the why-why-why method we started to brainstorm again to find which functionalities we wanted the mobile keypad to have. We wanted the mobile phone to have the following functionalities

  • Easy number dialling function
  • Big size
  • OLCD icon support functionalities
  • User in control

During this brainstorming we decided to make some body storming, the idea is to imagine what it would be like if the creation existed and act as though it exists, ideally in the place it will be used. (Oulasvirta, A., Kurvinen, E., & Kankainen, T. (2003). [8]

Opinions on this method

The proponents of this idea like to direct out the fact that you get up and move, trying things out with your own body rather than just sitting around at meeting table. The most common assessment seems to be that it is not really an appropriate user-centered method since it is more often carried out by the designers than the end users. (Oulasvirta, A., Kurvinen, E., & Kankainen, T. (2003).) [8]

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2.3.3 Future Workshop method

After the brainstorming we went for the future workshop method. The aim of future workshop was to simplify the common problems in our current situation and to plan visions about the future, and talk about how these visions could be realized. We did that by using three phases, the critique, fantasy and implementation. (Löwgren & Stolterman (2005) [1]

In the “critique” phase we came up with how the condition looks today and what the problems are

  • Mobile phone is getting compact.
  • How can my grandmother type sms?
  • She also have problem dialling a number because keypads are very small.
  • Mobile supports many functionalities but it is not easy to use them.

In the second phase “Fantasy” we came up with what we wanted the solution to be for the identified problem. In our case, we wanted to replace mobile keys with a better solution. We wanted to add interactive keys on mobile phone. We believe that this phase helped us to use our thoughts for the future solution. But we think that this method was very difficult to use the whole way out. It was difficult from the beginning to think about the implementation stage.

2.3.4 Cultural probes

We felt we required some more insight in how people are using their mobile keys and how they feel about the whole situation of the interactive keypad. Therefore we decided that each one of us will ask questions from their grandparents about there daily life and why they don’t use mobile and will write it down on a diary. By using this method we noticed that we received valuable information that we believe we would not get otherwise. It was very useful method, been a family members it was very easy for our grandparents to share experiences… By analyzing the results of our cultural probe method, we came to build up a pattern of how users behave, what they love and hate, what motivates them to do and what they do and why

2.3.5 Presentation Technique

We have been using different type of techniques to visualize our idea. We have created prototypes. We simply made some interface sketch and images.

2.4 User Evaluation Method

Our team did two user evaluations. In the first one we used low-fidelity prototypes sketch designed by Azeem (Fig 3) and in the second one we designed the interface using Photoshop (fig 4).

2.4.1 The First User Evaluation method

For our first user evaluation we went out on the old age and asked people of different age groups and gender about our idea. In that stage we only showed keypad interface sketch solution and briefed them about how helpful it can be to type sms and contacts saving option. Out of 8 (3 women, 5 men) subjects aged between 60 and 80 years that we interviewed, 5 really liked the idea. The negative response we received was about the safety of keypad, they feel that OLCD can be damaged easily. We were very surprised of the positive response. They liked the design of the interface and felt that it can be easy to navigate. By doing this evaluation we got info that our idea can do well/ can we work well.

Fig 3the low-fidelity prototypes design used in our first User Evaluation method designed by Azeem to make it possible The First User Evaluation

2.4.2 The Second User Evaluation method

For the second evaluation, we asked five people (2 women, 3 men) of different age group (oldest 84, youngest 57) about their opinion on interactive keypad. By showing colour pictures of the interface, and explaining the functionalities (fig 4) users gave us rich feedback. We got positive response which guided us to the final solution.

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Fig 4Mobile interface design by on of team member Azeem for Second User Evaluation method

2.5 FUTURE VISION

When we did the second user evaluation, we asked the users if they would like to have more functions in interactive keypad. Everyone had their own favourite function that they would like to have, all from putting key that open and close home doors to customized icon option. So we believe that there are many areas where further work can be done.

2.6 Result

This is short summary of the survey result. One of the methods that we tried was writing a diary method. It was very simple and very helpful method. By doing this method we noted down all the discussion results and ideas on the diary.

Brainstorming method was the second method that we used. With the help of this method we quickly generated a collection of ideas. And each of the group members got a chance to experience his ideas and options or opinions. Very effective method when someone is working as a team.

Why-Why-Why Method after having list of ideas we wanted to choose the best of them. So, we started asking questions about each idea and that helped us to leave others.

Cultural probe method

We come-up to develop an outline of how users act, what they like and hate, what motivates them to do what they do and why.

2.6.1 End Result

The phone with interactive keypad will have two displays, one that acts as only the output (main display of the mobile) while the other one (the keypad) can take the input and display keys depending upon the requirement. There is a fixed button for immediate access of the numeric keys for going back and forward.

Interactive keypad will support all available functionalities in mobile phone of recent days, for example address book option. The OLCD can display pictures of the contacts, control options for MP3 & Camera

CONCLUSION

Our decision to use different methods worked very well what we have realized is that by using different methods help us gather more information from target group. Our user evaluation method showed us that people like our idea. We believe that this idea is good, and it is simple and fun to use. The introduction of this technique can be costly since there will be a two displays for a mobile. We wanted to remark that during this design process, but after some discussion our team decided to focus on interactive aspect of mobile keypad rather than cost.

Reference

[1] Löwgren, J. & Stolterman. Thoughtful Interaction Design.

MIT Press, 2004

[2] How OLED,s work by by Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. 2007  1998-2007 HowStuffWorks, Inc.

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/oled1.htm

Macworld Conference & Expo 2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_light-emitting_diode

[3] Pogue, David. The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype, The New York Times, (2007-06-27). Retrieved on 2007-06-28.] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/technology/13phone.ready.html

[4] Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 from Wikipedia® (updated 23:44, 18 September 2007)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macworld_Conference_%26_Expo

[5] Phone Warehouse 2004 History of Cellular Phones (updated 16 Jan 2005)

http://www.phonewarehouse.com/sub/historycellular.asp

[6] A Research Method of Teaching and Learning by Joaquim Sá Education-line database on 20 February 2001

Available at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001698.htm

[7] User interface, KDE® and the K Desktop Environment 2007

Available at http://quality.kde.org/develop/howto/howtoui.php

[8] Oulasvirta, A., Kurvinen, E., & Kankainen, T. (2003). Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 7(2), 125-134.

[9] SIDeR 2006 25-26 February 2006. POSTERS

http://www.cs.chalmers.se/idc/sider06/contributions.html

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