USB Foot Control for Any Software

One more (I can’t resist) step toward full body interfaces. Great idea for many reasons and situations and as an alternative to keyboards, mouse, joystick, etc.
MojoKid writes

“When it comes to controlling your favorite PC title, you’ve got a few options. There’s a mouse. There’s a keyboard. There’s a control pad and the joystick. Now, there’s one more option apparently. Keith McMillen Instruments (KMI) announced today the SoftStep KeyWorx multi-touch foot controller, the world’s first foot controlled digital interface. Available for Mac and Windows, this controller sits on the floor. The company claims that it has multiple uses for gamers, video editors, programmers, data entry professionals, disabled people, repetitive stress syndrome sufferers, etc. It’s both pressure and location sensitive, USB-powered, and contains ten fully customizable keys that remember up to 100 sets of commands for repetitive tasks.”

Nielsen and Norman Weigh in on Gestural UI

As usual, our usability leaders have shown a light on the shortcomings of the latest user interfaces.

I don’t necessarily take these reviews as an admonition of all that is gestural, but as cautionary tales for designers moving forward.

Jakob Nielsen, Kinect Gestural UI: First Impressions

Don Norman, Gestural Interfaces: A Step Backwards In Usability

Mobile Test Strategies

In the process of developing applications for mobile devices, professionals are finding that the traditional methods of testing do not always apply. A recent white paper published by Macadamian outlines some key areas to be aware of.

When planning your testing effort for a mobile device application, in addition to the usual functional testing, it is also important to consider the following areas and how they differ from desktop or regular web applications:

  1. User Interface Testing – mobile devices have unique user interfaces like smaller screens that can be re-oriented, touchscreens and soft keyboards, and navigation methods like hard keys and trackballs.
  2. External Factors Testing – mobile device applications must also contend with interactions and interruptions from other device features like various network connection types, SD cards, phone calls, and assorted device settings.
  3. Stress Testing – mobile device applications have much less overall device memory and power available so must handle themselves very efficiently.
  4. Security Testing – mobile device security will become more and more important as the user base grows, so it is essential to test the security of your mobile web applications, sensitive data storage, and how your application behaves under various device permission schemes.
  5. Emulator Use – Emulators can be a great asset when it comes to achieving testing coverage on multiple devices, but your test plan must also respect the fact that sometimes there is just no substitute for the real thing.

I recommend downloading the paper and I am looking forward to additional papers on usability testing for mobile they are planning on publishing.

Device Design Day

This is an announcement of an upcoming event from a message sent to me by Dan Saffer. I can’t say enough good things about Mr Saffer as well as his Kicker Studio. They are always on the cutting edge of touch and gesture interfaces.

Kicker Studio is happy to announce Device Design Day: a one-day conference for professionals who design consumer electronics, appliances, mobile devices, and objects with embedded technology. The event will take place on August 20, 2010 in San Francisco. Continue reading

Give Yourself a 6th Sense for $350

Several years ago, I found TED and started watching amazing 18 minute videos of people changing the world.

One of the most amazing videos I saw

(and posted) was of Pattie Maes of MIT’s Media Labs showing what her graduate student, Pranav Mistry, had created; a 6th Sense hardware that was cobbled together from existing technology, along with a software program that allowed you to have a mobile virtual multi-touch gestural interface that was a predecessor of the augmented reality applications we have seen developing for the smartphones over the last few years. Continue reading