Friday, July 18, 2008

Static vs active application icons

I found an interesting blog about mobile interaction design at Sender 11 (whatever that name means). The point of the article is that in order to make application icons more attractive and provide a better user-experience, the icons should refresh their content from time to time and show "relevant" information to the user instead of being passive and showing only static information.

I like the idea. As one of the comments says with Nokia S60s you can now build interfaces wiht live icons like these in web-run-time and create a whole menu as a widget. Well, I don't know much about widgets, but I can imagine that it would work. For example, the whole Application Shell could make use of Web run-time and show application entry points (i.e. icons) as widgets with their always-changing behavior. Even more, the idea of Active Idle could be replaced by an active Application Shell, too. Some pixels could also be saved from precious screen real-estate (e.g. unread messages) by letting the application icons show information.

What could different applications show to the user? Here's a by far incomplete list out of my mind:

  • Calendar: indication about events nearby
  • Messaging: unread messages (sms, e-mail, etc.)
  • Bluetooth connectivity: enabled vs disabled, transfer in progress
  • WLAN connectivity: enabled vs disabled, number of hotspots nearby
  • Maps: known (i.e. pre-recorded) locations nearby
  • Clock: time
  • Music Player: some information about tune being played (with scrolling, for example)
  • RSS reader: new, unread items
  • etc.
Could you add more?


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