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Mobile Community Design
Research and design information for mobile community developers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comparative Task Analysis of Note-taking on Five Technologies

Increasingly I am of the opinion that use-cases (user tasks) are not sufficiently considered during design processes, particularly in mobile devices. Sometimes the use cases are simply forgotten (the user can't do something they should be able to do), but more often they haven't been weighted appropriately (things that should be easy are hard and vice-versa).

I take a lot of notes, and it's interesting to see how well cutting-edge technologies support this basic and fundamental activity. The following video demonstrates a light-weight comparative task analysis of five technologies across three use-cases.

Technologies:
  1. Sticky notes
  2. Notepad / artists drawing pad
  3. Sidekick 3
  4. iPhone 3G
  5. Fujitsu U810 Tablet computer
Use-cases:
  1. Write down an idea quickly
  2. Write extended text entry
  3. Find an idea from a previously entered note

Comparative Task Analysis of Note-taking on Five Technologies
14 min.

video

Conducting a comparative task analysis is a useful way of ensuring that your new advanced technology actually performs better for typical tasks than the older and low-tech technologies which it is hypothetically supposed to replace. Note how poorly the cutting-edge tablet computer performs for this basic task - it's no wonder they are not selling well. Despite incredible potential of the device and form factor, tablet computer manufacturers are focusing on RAM and processor speeds instead of creating a product that is optimized for taking notes (hint: this is a market opportunity).

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