May 06, 2003

Differences between the wired and the wireless Internets

Whilst Timo Hotti's Solving the 3G Data Management Problem article for (subscription required) is primarily about the complexities of managing the software installed on devices, the different customizations on devices, etc. when the devices number in the millions, he makes some interesting observations about the differences between the "wired Internet" and the "wireless Internet".*

"[On] the wireless Internet personalization of the services offered is key to usability." Where the personalization "...may include location, time of day and role (such as at work, leisure, at home, with family, or traveling). "

I like these ideas, one of the key improvements to usability on small devices is to reduce the amount of interaction (key presses, pages to click through, etc.) to achieve a task, so if the service can take advantage of knowledge about who I am, or where I am, etc. without me having to type that information in (which is the important bit :-) then that's smart.

We just need to work out how to make it easy for services to obtain and use such information.

Added: I guess there's no reason why these things shouldn't be done on the traditional Internet too, as it will improve usability there too, but the gains won't be as great purely because the cost of additional interaction with the user isn't as high (more information can be displayed, and inputting data isn't as painful).

*(Aside: It's interesting to note that the "wired Internet" is becoming more and more wireless, but not in the way that "wireless Internet" is used as a term (in this article at least) - maybe it should be the "Phone Internet", as the other option "Mobile Internet" could still be people with WiFi and a laptop)

Posted by Adrian at May 6, 2003 11:36 AM | TrackBack

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