I walked into a popular high street electronics store this afternoon and had a good look at the wide range of tablets and eBook readers on offer. A few things occurred to me as looked through them that I thought worthy of mentioning in the course of my research.
There appears to be a somewhat unneccesary discontinuity between tablet devices and eBook readers. It would appear that eBook readers have a huge advantage over tablets in one particular area, that of screen-glare. Which, as I highlighted in my recent post on the health concerns over backlit screens, is a highly important quality for any screen to demonstrate.
I wonder if the future could see a change in direction where tablets have two screen modes, one for book reading/web browsing and another for videos/games etc? Negating the need for a separate dedicated book reader. As technology evolves and the human race becomes more dependant on screen technology, I feel that health concerns over using e-devices will have to come to the forefront.
Additionally, when thinking about the paper-metaphor during my studies (see my blog), I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab with a 4.7″ screen and it felt so natural to hold. I could very comfortably hold the device in one hand which left my other hand free for searching and annotating content etc. Many of the larger tablets would not enable this as they are too large to hold one handed – so if sat on a bus or train without a table seat you couldn’t comfortably use the device unless you rested it upon your lap. The Galaxy also felt like a traditional paper notepad whilst holding it – I wanted to get stylus and start annotating research papers on it which made it feel very mobile-learning friendly. Another final point to note is that the device was white – when thinking about the paper metaphor it almost felt like I was holding a piece of paper – the same device with a black screen surround didn’t have the same feeling of ease of use.
Some things to bear in mind when considering target devices my e-learning practical design work …