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Different gestures different standards – I need a Babel glove – my brain is hurting

June 21, 2013

In front of me now is a Windows laptop, an iPhone, a wireless Apple keyboard, a Nokia phone and a Nexus 7 tablet.

Way too much of my brain power is being spent on switching between the different ways each device wants to be controlled and not actually on achieving the things I want to achieve with them.

For example, I’m writing one email on my Nexus and working on a document on my iPhone. swiping up and down on each device does something radically different. So does swiping right and left. On the iPhone to toggle reading mode I have to use a two finger rotor action but on the Nexus it’s a single finger vertical up and down swipe. To scroll pages on the iPhone it’s a three finger drag and on the Nexus it’s a two finger drag, or is it, I’ve forgotten. There are also loads of weird L shape gestures on the Nexus which do pre-set things but I can never remember them long enough to use them. In short this is a finger tangling brain bending nightmare.

The only gestures I use on my laptop are hitting it occasionally when it freezes, that and really hard typing when I’m frustrated. sometimes I wish the keys were pressure sensitive and it would do capital letters when I gave the keys some welly, which would make shouty emails even more fun to write, but I’ve not heard of this on any system spec out there.

On top of this there are different keyboard layouts especially for symbols on both hardware and virtual keyboards, totally different folder structures, control panels, settings, etc. etc.

And for us non-screen based computer users combine the above with literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts for using the Jaws screen reader across different applications, voice Over is different again, and so is Talk Back, and so is Talks on the Nokia.

Errrr I’m sure all the commercial companies competing out there will be fine about standardising their interfaces with each other…

Moral of this story? Just use one device or get a bigger brain or maybe someone will come up with a Babel glove! (like a Babel fish but for the hands) What’s a Babel fish then?


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