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Interface Case

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Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader. To be more precise it is a software, hardware and network platform developed by for rendering and displaying of e-books and other digital media. The amazon kindle was invented to replace the traditional book, what does this mean? Electronic versions of your books and be turned into documents of some sort and uploaded onto the kindle. This provides you with the ability to carry the works of Shakespeare as well as an Oxford dictionary in your bag, briefcase etc.

The Kindle itself

The amazon kindle has been designed as the new age replacement for the "physical" book. So what about the Kindle makes it stand out from the rest of the competition out there? As we can see from figure 1 there is a clear visible screen making the letters that appear on the screen very visible, the colour scheme engages in a high level of contrast that aids visibility, this is a common factor as the kindle has evolved through many stages over the last few years but the interface remains remarkably constant, this can be seen as the Kindle's identity; this is what sets the kindle apart from most competitors. For example Apple just launched the iBooks application for the iPhone this can be seen as a direct competitor to the Kindle. With this app you can read books and literature of any sort from your phone. The phone is smaller than the kindle and can be kept in a pocket. Does this make it better than the kindle? Efficiency maybe; but interface wise it isn't. It doesn't cater to the needs of those people that have impaired vision and the reading of small words on a small screen can be seen as detrimental. From the immediate outlook of the Kindle it is safe to say that the interface has taken this into consideration. So why choose the kindle? What is it about the kindle that makes it a worth wile choice? We will now discuss the Kindles interface in depth.

Clever Solutions

A noticeable characteristic of the interface is the large screen its 6inches along the diagonal making it broad and the making the text highly legible. What compliments' the large screen is the contrasting colours, the use of white and grey for the outer frame coupled with black font on the greyish white background on the reading screen makes everything a lot more legible. The screen designed for reading employs the use of a greyscale, the darker elements stand out a lot better on the light background. "Colour has a number of functions in interface design. While colour can be used to create personality and tone, interaction designers are most interested in how colour can provide cues for use." This point was stated by Dan Saffer; with the bold lettering and contrasting colours is an example of how people can easily navigate the Kindle using the buttons.

When designing an interface there is always a need for "simplicity" or at worst controlled complexity. In my opinion "Affordance" is a fantastic example of how to judge the immediate simplicity of an interface. What is affordance? "Affordance is a situation where an object's sensory characteristics imply its functionality and use." For example I set out across campus armed with my Amazon Kindle to perform a simple yet effective test. Without telling the subject what I was holding, I stopped them asked them to hold out their hands and close their eyes, I then handed the kindle upside down and asked them to open their eyes. After interviewing fifteen people all fifteen (100%) of the subjects instinctively turned the Kindle the "right" way up. Out of the fifteen people only two people were aware of what the Kindle was. As a designer if you can make a product that 87% of people know how to hold your product in the right way even though they do not know what it is can be seen as a very good thing. When I asked the subjects why they turned it the right way round they answered "it's obvious". The Kindle boast a large screen with a QWERTY



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