By March 2, 2009

Windows Mobile 6.5 honeycomb menu, brilliant by design


Lots of blogs and media sources were quick to cast doubt over the recently announced Windows Mobile 6.5 update especially the rather strange honeycomb layout of the new start menu. Well the guys at istartedsomething have analysed the structure of the honeycomb and come up with some interesting facts. The truth is, the honeycomb from a usability perspective is superior than traditional square grids for a touch interface. Here’s why.

Contrary to popular belief, the tip of human fingers is not squared, but in fact circle-shaped when depressed against a hard surface like a touchscreen. When you’re space-constrained as you are in something like the applications menu – where there’s a fine balance between how many icons can be displayed at one time and how easy it is to hit the icons, large circular hitareas makes it easier for users to touch the desired icons and avoid accidentally hitting nearby icons.

A grid is the most efficient method to pack as many squares into an area as possible, but not for circles. The mathematically most efficient method to arrange non-overlapping circles – a problem called “sphere packing” – is actually and as you might have guessed by now, hexagonal. So there you go, brilliant by design.

via istartedsomething

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Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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