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iPhone Ergonomic Review

An Ergonomic Review of the iPhone by Apple

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iPhone

iPhone

Courtesy of Apple
The iPhone by Apple is an evolution to the mobile communicator. Combining cell phone, email, internet and other information services with a top-notch music and video player, the iPhone positions itself as all things to the person that needs all that. Throw in a truly intuitive interface with great ergonomics, and enough usability to do most anything you would need and you have an all-in-one wonder that is awesome.

Why Is it Different?

The iPhone aims to enhance usability by adding more capability to a cell phone and wrapping it up with an intuitive touch screen interface.

It combines a cell phone, camera, wireless e-mail, mobile data, digital music (iPod), and video (including YouTube videos) and photo viewing. Mobile data includes text messaging, weather, stock quotes, Google maps, and full-blown access to the internet.

It uses a sleek interface with only four buttons. Everything else is controlled with a touch screen.

The screen is large, clear and beautiful.

Application control is intuitive, engaging and fun.

It syncs with both PC and Mac e-mail, contacts and calendars.

Activation and setup is a breeze.

Does it Deliver?

iPhone

iPhone

Courtesy of Apple
Oh baby, the iPhone delivers.

The cell phone is good and sound is crisp. It has a speaker phone and can move to three-way calling on the fly. You can multi-task using other applications while on the phone. And the visual voicemail is a great usability enhancement.

E-mail is a breeze on the iPhone. Setting up email accounts is quick and painless. Even setting up an SSL protected account is fast and you'll be reading your email within a minute, literally.

Reading e-mail on the iPhone's large screen is nice. Navigating through your e-mail is fun and fast. With taps, slides and flicks to navigate you'll soon wish you had a multi-touch screen on your desktop.

The Safari Internet browser is an amazing thing. You have a full-blown html web browser in your pocket. You can even have multiple pages open at once. But navigation is the coolest part.

First you see the full-yet-tiny web page. Then you simply double tap on the area you want to see, and it enlarges to fill the screen. You can "stretch and pinch" to zoom and grab the page and move it around.

The iPhone's iPod is probably the best iPod out there. It is a video and music iPod with a wide-screen. Add in the interactive Cover Flow from iTunes that literally lets you thumb through your music and you have one heck of an iPod.

Apple has out done itself again with this interface evolution. The iPhone is so simple and fun to use. It is smooth and intelligent.

The multi-touch screen is put to good use and context sensitive menus and keyboards provide flexibility and efficiency while navigating.

Beneficiaries

The Apple iPhone can benefit any cell phone user. With its multiple uses, the iPhone benefits non-voice mobile data junkies as well. And with its enhanced usability, the non-technically literate have a crutch in the mobile communications market. Some groups that may like the iPhone include:

  • Cell phone users
  • Metrosexual e-mailers
  • Gadget geeks
  • YouTube tubers

Summary

The iPhone is the smartest smart phone out there. It works just like the commercials. It is that smooth and usable.

Every aspect of the user experience has been thought out. Using the device and the applications is intuitive. And the transitions between the applications are natural.

The applications are quick and easy to pick up, set up and use. You have the most commonly used applications right out of the box. It still remains to be seen if you'll be able to add new applications or Apple widgets, but with a device like this you would expect that capability.

How do you know when usability has been enhanced? After a day of playing with the iPhone, I found myself trying to grab the screen on my laptop with the cursor and flicking with my touch-pad. It didn't work, of course.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the iPhone has been "Is the interface really intuitive?" How do you find out? You use it without reading the manual. The iPhone doesn't come with one anyway.

You can also give the iPhone to someone technically illiterate -- I handed mine over to my father. After two minutes of playing with it he said, "Yep, I can use it." That is quite an endorsement.

In short, the iPhone lives up to all the hype. They got it right with this one.

For more on the ergonomics of the iPhone read

Join the discussion on the iPhone's usability.

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