You are a big company developing the next generation of your smartphones lineup? But you have no idea what to do next? Here you go.
This is a list of 4 opinionated improvements on present-day smartphones.
1. Get rid of the volume buttons
First of all, don’t add proprietary buttons. I know this hasn’t been done in a while and that’s a good thing, but I wanted to remind you that adding a button bound to one application is a bad idea.
Especially when the app you developed is crap.
“But why should you get rid of the volume buttons?
They have always been there! They are an integral part of the smartphone DNA.” True, but so was the head jack. Nonetheless, smartphones have evolved over the last decade and the volume buttons are now dinosaurs, relicts of a different era.
Nowadays everything is touch—even refrigerators and coffee machines have touch displays — and on smartphones media players for example provide in display gestures to regulate the volume and operating systems have implemented quick menus/control centers for common device settings.
So for heaven’s sake let go of the volume buttons. “But I want to be able to change the volume when I am listening to music.”
Oh yeah? Have you ever heard of smart assistants? They can do the work for you and also, modern headphones enable you to regulate the volume via touch gestures on their surface (again: Everything is touch these days). And how often do you change the volume of your music anyway?
Finally, if you want to be really innovative, you could develop a touch sensitive frame which enables your customers to control the volume by swiping along the frame of the display.
2. …and get rid of the on/off-button too
From my experience most people use the power button to either restart their phone when they encounter a glitc or turn on their smartphone after it shut down because of an empty battery.
In some apps the power button can be used to trigger an action, e.g. you can take a photo in the camera app by pressing the button.
However, the button is never where it would be useful and you rather use the virtual buttons in your app because you are used to it.
But if there is no power button, how do you turn on/off the display?
With most devices it is already possible to turn on the display with a simple double tap on the display and it also turns off after a fixed amount of time.
Yet again, if you want to be really innovative, instead of removing the power button you could replace it for instance with squeeze or pressure sensitive technology.
3. Notchless display
While the notch was something fresh and new back in 2017, it shouldn’t be something to last. So let’s place the front camera and the top speaker behind the display.
Beside the fact that the notch isn’t aesthetic, putting the front camera behind the display increases privacy and security.
If for example someone wants to take a selfie, the display would become transparent on activation of the camera. You would see a black dot in the top area of the display, which therefore would be an indicator for whether the camera is activated or not.
This isn’t rocket science.
Companies already build smartphones with fingerprint readers hidden behind the display and the physical principles for a speaker behind the display are basically the same as for the can phone.
4. App labels should be optional
Icons are old. “How old are they?”
They are as old as the graphical user interface itself. They are designed to be recognizable, and they don’t change often. Hence, there is just no reason to display the name of an app underneath of its icon.
If you disagree, then ask yourself how you navigate on your home screen.
You know the position of your app on the screen and you know the icon. You don’t search for an app by reading the name of the app, you look at the icon.
But don’t worry.
Unlike a physical button, which you can’t mount and unmount, this feature can be optional as long as it is being implemented.
Some Android users might say that users could use a different launcher.
While this is true, I like the preinstalled launchers on Android devices and I won’t be able to use the awesome features, if I switch to a different launcher.
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