OpenMoko and the Mobile Experience

January 26, 2007

Skilful Minds first discussed feature bloat in mobile devices here. We have mentioned OpenMoko as a potential solution to experience design issues related to users controlling the seams of mobile devices as well as providing vertical applications to better fit user needs. Well, OpenMoko has finally been opened up to the public so that we can follow the process of developing and implementing innovative sofware on an open source mobile device. OpenMoko is based on the Linux kernel and, unlike other mobile devices using Linux, the applications for OpenMoko are open source.

You can see a video interview with Shawn Moss-Pultz . He is the product manager for First International Computer’s Mobile Communications group which produces the Neo 1973 phone, the initial hardware platform for OpenMoko. In OpenMoko the entire software stack is open to developers to come up with innovative applications.


A function, a seam, or a point of control?

January 9, 2007

I know, I know, you are probably saying “Can’t he talk about anything but seamful and seamless design?” Well, I’ll get off that topic soon. Yet, in the meantime, here are a couple of examples of how a seamless interface to the user of a device is a seam for control by someone else. One basic point of those arguing for seamful design is that the user of the device, rather than the developer, is the agent whose control over the device needs maximizing by designers. Those who contend the goal of a seamless interface is a well-intentioned effort to relieve those using ubiquitous mobile devices from information overload often fail to mention up front that all connected devices provide seams of control. You might say that proponents of seamful design are the Libertarians of experience design, contending that control over the agency of any device belongs with the person who uses it, especially if they own it. Read the rest of this entry »