Don’t make me type: It's holding back the mobile experience

Summary:With typing a major culprit in bad user experiences, the day of keyboardless smartphone can't come soon enough.

The culture-meets-technology conference, dConstruct 2012, was a veritable tonic for my mind and soul. MC Jeremy Keith curated and presented with suave aplomb, and the lucky, lucky audience were treated to novelists, playmakers, star-gazers and back-to-the-futurists.

A particularly "Wow, of course" moment came with Scott Jenson's talk on Beyond Mobile:

"On a mobile the browser is the ghetto".

His words resounded: the browser is the operating system within the operating system. And that address bar? That address bar is a command line.

Don't make me type
Please, don't make me type on my mobile.

To paraphrase Steve Krug, please, "Don't make me type".

If any of you have had to type a URL onto a mobile browser, you will have felt this pain. I have taken to creating bookmarks on my laptop Chrome browser, which sync up on my mobile, and then add them to a folder on my mobile desktop. This way, looking up a word, train time, pub quiz Wikipedia answer is only one click away. Oh yes, and then some typing.

The alternatives to this ham-fingered typing malarkey are the trusty old hyperlink, those swipey, pinchey gesture things. And, of course, the rise of the voice-activated machine, Siri and her cohorts.

I'm looking forward to the day of the keyboardless mobile. Until such time, keep any eye out for speeling mistakes, predicted text and other bad user experiences.

Topics: Innovation, Mobility


A web designer since the 20th century, I am a pragmatic advocate of Free Software and I use proprietary software when appropriate. I made the full-time switch to Linux back in 2007, and my desktop tools of choice are Linux Mint, Inkscape, GIMP and Sublime Text. As a Front End Developer, my core skills are HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, an... Full Bio

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