I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

Exploring a Web Phone: Getting Physical

As part of the Concept Series, we’ve been playing with what a phone that is optimized for the Web. That is the web.

We’ve been working with Billy May, just like we’ve been working dozens of other talented designers as part of the Concept Series, to envision what such a beast looks like from a physical perspective. He’s got some initial sketches of what an phone with a change-on-the-fly OLED keyboard would look like. It’s a throw-away first concept and I know that we’ll see additional concepts from Billy May and other Concept Series participants soon.

I’m not normally a fan of changeable/contextual keys — you end up with a buttons that change in the night, but if executed very carefully with strong guidelines they can provide a platform for physical innovation. They can provide the benefits of a touch screen with actual tactile feedback.

I’m also happy to say that Billy’s work on envisioning an open Web phone was picked up by NPR. Mozilla Lab’s is its community, and it’s exciting that main-stream press is starting to pick up on that by highlighted the virtual members of our team.

Here’s the interview from Future Tense:

[MP3]

One of the strengths of the iPhone as a platform for user experience innovation is the wealth of physical inputs: a microphone, a camera, an accelerometer, a GPS, and a touch screen. That gives the freedom to make our interfaces more human, by allowing us to interact in physical, personal ways.

Question: What are the physical aspects of a phone that you think are missing? What would your “Mozilla Phone” look like?

RT @aza Exploring a Web Phone: Getting Physical | Follow @aza on Twitter | All blog posts

View all 67 comments



sep332

How about a small, thin, flexible computer encased in a sturdy plastic cover with the words “Don’t Panic” inscribed on it in large, friendly letters?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/gallery/images/1024/babel3.html



tylerstyle

No keys (only tiny power button on top), only screen, black back, almost no edges on front, fennec with gestures, running on android. Thats how!

Ahhhh, dreams…


I am actually quite liking the look of that phone :P. The interface is as simple as you want it. when browing the internet, or something similar you could use bookmarks, history, tabs, most used sites, etc all with only the buttons.
It would have to be a customizeable type phone, which being called the moz phone automatically will make it so.


A touch screen that looks flat but feels bumpy so you can tell where your fingers are on it without looking.



skrat

this is silly, what are physical buttons with icons for? we have touchscreen for icons, the only case where physical buttons are usable is QWERTY keyboard, for input.

keys with OLED display are cool, yeah, they are so cool. but not usable.

tactile feedback is nice, but not in this form/context. this is fugly



umair

balancing a full touchscreen with a physical qwerty keyboard is simple: a plastic cover that snaps onto the screen. you press the plastic button which in turn presses the screen. no electronics in the plastic keypad which allows it to be extremely thin. however, it still provides the tactile feedback that the touchscreens forego.

in the case of this change-on-the-fly prototype, the plastic buttons could be clear, so you could see through them to the screen.


I dont want the phone to ‘be’ the web. I want it to be integrated into my own processes and flexible to adapt to them. Therefore I want it to be extandable on hardware and software side. For excample: It it has a camera, I want to use it to take pictures to store on the phone. But also to be able to allow the flickr webpage to use the camera. Or to connect the phone with my computer to use the phones cam as a webcam. Or the other way around if i have a better camera, nearby, tell the phone to use this one instead for the pictures…
The same excample can be told with recording audio or playing audio…

So what we need is massiv standarisation so that a all the device-creator can build uppon this standard…

ps: sorry for the bad english :)



Philip Ganchev

I have always found it so ridiculous how uncomfortable it is to hold a phone and punch the buttons with the thumb of the same hand. The grip is very loose and the curve of the thumb is very unnatural. So I thought a lot about how to make that more comfortable. One of my designs has the buttons above the screen rather than below. This is much easier to hold.

The obvious objection is that you have to look lower than your hand. I don’t find that a problem, so I think it warrants user testing. Another objection is that the palm partly obscures the screen. To avoid that, the phone could be slightly curved to put the screen out of the way.



Moody Loner

For me personally, the “physical” design of the phone is far less important than the software running it – my ratio would be 70/30 in favour of the OS/apps over phone size, shape and weight any day(a la G1)

I like where this is going though, and I am using the G1 at the moment and it is somewhat restricted by the design (poor battery life for example) but the main thing is that; and this goes for ALL phones which interact with the web; the size of the screen and the resolution needed for a readable webpage are never going to be compatible at the sizes they[screens] are at the minute. Even mobile specific sites are poorly formatted compared to pages that laptops and even netbooks (7″+) screens can display.

Looking at the design presented, do the hard keys really need to be there? How about virtual OLED keys, they can change at will and provide more screen real estate that a hard set would take up. If, like UMAIR mentioned, you implement a plastic keyboard over the screen for tactility you would have the best of both options – why not have it flexible enough to be rolled under / over from the bottom of the screen (concealing the main part of the keyboard inside the back of the phone) to slide over the screen and back in again when the user doesn’t require it. Sort of like the way a roller shutter works, except – this keeps the keyboard flat when not in use. If you look at the G1 keyboard for example, the actual height of the keys from the body is very slight – why couldn’t this be implemented in a plastic overlay? You could also design the virtual icons to rotate when in landscape mode with no need to change the orientation of the keyboard.

Just a thought…


A similar software based implementation can be found at http://www.mizu-voip.com/Products/WebPhone.aspx


A touch screen that looks flat but feels bumpy so you can tell where your fingers are on it without looking.


No keys (only tiny power button on top), only screen, black back, almost no edges on front, fennec with gestures, running on android. Thats how!



Sex

How about a small, thin, flexible computer encased in a sturdy plastic cover with the words “Don’t Panic” inscribed on it in large, friendly letters?


I love the fact that flexible OLEDs have a faster response time than LEDs!


For nowadays a lot of webphones are already introduced to the market. I remember the first class of cellphone that i have before, it is a black and white, lols but for now all phones has a great graphics and apps etc. Time and technology moves rapidly.


It definitely should have always been the icing on the cake but in fact Simon Cowell’s birthday surprise for Nicole Scherzinger took the biscuit. The sardonic natural talent television show don patiently waited just up until the very last minute of the 2nd day related to Seattle auditions to provide his fellow judge her goodies.


thnks
goooooooooooood
min:)ااا


nice..thanks


a significantly better user experience


Great Posts, thanks for information


Finally, I’ve found what I’m searching in your post. I liked this so much..



Arthur KiKi

I would suggest the mizutech sip html phone:
http://www.mizu-voip.com/Software/WebPhone.aspx


Significantly, this particular submit is really the particular nicest about this noteworthy matter. When i harmonise along with your conclusions all of which will thirstily count on ones inward improvements. Stating thank you won’t you should be ample, for your incredible lucidity inside your creating. I’ll right grab your current feed to remain advised regarding virtually any updates. Admirable do the job and much good results as part of your company purchases! Make sure you justification my weak Uk as it’s not necessarily our initial language.


Aw, this was a post that was really good. In theory I d like to write like this too taking time and real effort to make a good article . but what can I say . I procrastinate a lot and never seem to get something done that.


I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that the most useful


Hey, just looking around some blogs, seems a pretty good platform you are using. I m currently using WordPress for some of my sites but looking to change one of them to a platform similar to yours as a trial. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?


You got a really useful blog I have here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.


This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives in depth information. Thank you for this beautiful article


Keep em coming . you all do a great job at such concepts . can not tell you how much I, for one appreciate all you do!


Thank you for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind taking updating your blog with more information? It is extremely useful for me.


Have you ever considered adding videos to your blog posts to keep the more entertained the audience? I mean, I just read your entire article and it was quite good but since I m more of a visual learner, I found that to be more useful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. The clever work and reporting! Keep up the great work man I added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information . . I will regularly visit your blog for some latest post.


Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I ve really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.


Thank you so much for writing all of the excellent information! Looking forward to checking out more posts!


Wow, this is a post that is really good quality. In my theory, AOD want to write like this also, AI took the time and effort to make a real good post. but what can I say. I procrastinate a lot and never appear to get something done.


I admit, I ve never been to the webpage in a long time. however it was another pleasure to see that this is an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you for helping to make it aware of possible issueExcellent things as typical people.


Interesting topic for a blog. I searched the Internet for fun and came on your website. Unusual items. Thanks a ton for sharing your knowledge! It is very nice to see that some people still put effort into managing their websites. I am sure


Just what I needed. Thankyou I ve been looking for this sort of information for ever. I made a note of your blog so I can read more on the subject.


I am really satisfied with this posting that you have given us. It is truly an amazing feat made you. Thank you and looking for more posts


I love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming out of this


I must tell you I was impressed. Very rarely do I find a blog, both educational and entertaining AOS. Just wanted to let you know that you have most definatly hit the nail on the head. Your mind is a good one. Thx is all I can say.


Most powerful, I just given this to a colleague who was doing a little study on this. And he actually bought me breakfast as a result of I found it for him . . smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more about this topic. If achievable, as you turn into expertise, would you mind taking updating your weblog with more information? This, AOS is very useful for me. Big thumbs up for this blog put up!


In fact, I learned about all of this, but with that in mind, I still think it is useful. Good work!


Hello I found your blog by mistake when i was searching AOL for this matter, I must tell you that your blog is really helpful I also love the design, which is cool!


With the whole thing that seems to thrive in the subjects, all your perspectives are usually quite refreshing. Even so, I apologize, but I can not subscribe to the whole plan, all be it exhilarating nonetheless. It seems everyone that your opinions are not entirely justified and, in fact, usually do not really trust fully the argument. Anyway thank examined.


I see you put a lot of work on this site! Keep writing!


Although I am not a noob in the website industry, your site is really unique and has some useful ideas. Enjoy to the fullest! I, ll put in my blogroll, I will give more value to my visitors.


An interesting dialogue is worth comment. I think you should write extra on this matter, won, Aot be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to talk about this issue. To the next. Applause


I was impressed with the quality of information on this site. There are many great resources here. I am sure I will visit this place soon.


It is a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. I really loved reading your post. Thank you!


Super blog post, I count on updates by you.


I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. I will mark your blog and my children check here often. I am sure they will learn lots of new things here than anyone else!


Finally, a topic that fascinates me. That I am looking for information of this caliber for several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.


The beauty of these blogging engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows developers to implement rich content and skin the site in such a way that with very little effort is how I see it makes this site tick all without limiting content and effectiveness.


This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much it s almost difficult to argue with you (not that I really want . haha). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been written over the years. Great stuff, just great!


This is a smart blog. I m serious. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. You have a design here that is not too flashy, but makes up for what you say statement. Great job, in fact.


What you say is absolutely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I think you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They are very fit with what you say. I m sure you ll reach so many people with what you say.


Simple, beautiful what you have done here. It is pleasing to look you express from the center and your clarity on this important content can be easily searched. As incredible and welcome your future updates.


Ah, this is a great message. In theory I d like to write like this too taking time and real effort to make a good article . but what can I say . I procrastinate a lot and never do anything.


Note that this post is actually remarkable sweet theme. I harmonize conclusions and will eagerly expect incoming updates. Saying thanks can not just sufficient, for the wonderful clarity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Exemplary job and much success in your business! Please forgive my poor English as it is not my first language.


I can see that you put a lot of effort into your blog. Keep posting the good work. Some really helpful information in there. Bookmark. Nice to see your site. Thank you!


Great stuff from you, man. I ve read your stuff before and you re too awesome. I love what you ve got here, love what you say and how you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still can stay smart. I can not wait to read more from you. It is really a great blog.


It does not have? U can write better. Reading this post reminds me of my old roommate! He always talked about it. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!


Resources such as you mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that the most useful.


I think it would be a boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that the most useful


I must admit that this is one great insight. Of course, giving the company the opportunity to get on the ground floor and really take part in creating something special and tailored to their needs.


Hey, just looking around some blogs, seems an excellent platform you are using. I m currently using WordPress for a few of my sites but looking to change one of them similar to yours as a test platform. Anything in particular you would recommend about it?


“%KW%”


Leave a Comment