Thursday, June 11, 2009

Five Web Trends Into 3.0 (4)

4) Voice/touch navigation, prevailing

The mouse/keyboard combination has been the dominant method for navigating the Web. The monopoly is, however, about to be ended. The voice/touch navigation matrix is prevailing to the mainstream.

The touch screen monitors and the touch screen computers have been in the market for a while. Rumor was told that Apple planned to add multitouch-enabled displays to its MacBook Pro laptop computers. Although it has never happened, the value as well as the market demanding of the multitouch-screen computers are unquestionable. Jeff Han had once demonstrated in a TED speech about not only the compelling flexibility but also the amazing computational power the multitouch-screen computers would bring.

When being questioned about the drawbacks of the touch-screen computers, people often mention the screen protection/clean and the price. Many people also believe that the reason the multitouch-screen MacBook Pro does not happen is only due to the price. There is an important issue that also hinders the prevalence of the touch-screen computers but generally overlooked---the input device.

With a touch-screen (especially the multitouch screen) computer, it is awkward to still use the traditional keyboard for input. A straightforward solution is thus to use the on-screen keyboards replacing the physical keyboards. However, this straightforward solution would not work.

The real problem here is that to type on a mobile phone is totally different from to type on a large-screen monitor. The users are supposed to be physically very close to their mobile phones whenever the phones are used. Hence there is no problem for them to use on-screen keyboard. In contrast, the users are supposed NOT to be very close to their large touch-screen computer monitors. By this mean, whether or not to type on screen becomes a very tricky question.

A way to solve the dilemma is to embrace the voice/touch matrix. The users may use the voice input devices for the long-distance data input, while the touch-screen input adds the additional capability for handling the complex input requests. To the best of my knowledge, several companies have already started to implement this matrix and planned to demo the matrix no later than the next year. This is another definite trend that we must not overlook when entering Web 3.0.

Previous installment: Five Web Trends Into 3.0 (3)
Next installment: Five Web Trends Into 3.0 (5)

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