Usage scenarios and Pain points


Our user research team just published the results of an internal survey of 4500 Microsoft tablet users, asking what their top Usage Scenarios and Pain Points were.


Some of the results were:
Usage Scenarios: (in no particular order)



  • note taking
  • web browsing
  • sketching or drawing

Pain Points: (in no particular order)



  • slow input and recognition
  • poor recognition
  • “doesn’t feel natural”

Now, I suspect what you’re thinking is “Now, he asks us to comment and this becomes a huge flamewar in comments” or “Why doesn’t he just go to my_favorite_tablet_enthusiast_site.com and read the forums?” Nope! I’m going to ask you to really give this topic some thought and post to the forums you usually use. I’m not going to delete your comments here if you feel like commenting here, but realize that I am just one data point, no different from my_favorite_tablet_enthusiast_site.com and as such, this blog has no more weight than any other public resource.


TabletPC MVPs and enthusiast website operators: If you identify some trends or wish to discuss this topic further, please feel free to chat up myself, Lora, Frank or anyone on the evangelism team. We make Tablet Edition for users, not to fill up feature checklists. If you can help us clearly identify ways to help us help users, we want to hear them!


Comments (9)

  1. What Is New says:

    Hilton writes about a Microsoft survey that was just conducted on top Tablet PC Usage Scenarios and Pain…

  2. Norm Wilkins says:

    Missing Pen Menu:

    This is an ergonomics and ease of use feature I would like to see added to Tablet pen useage.

    I would like to see a floating or sliding menu for pen features that stays close to the row or row & column coordinates the pen point is at on the Tablet application.

    An example would be MS OneNote. The Pen controls menu should shadow or follow closly at a users selected distance and left or right handed choice. I personally would like to have the following buttons; Color, Eraser, Convert to Text about 3/4" away from the pen while I am writing or drawing, as well as a button on it to make the shadowing tool pallette move further away or temporarily disappear so I can have a full unencumbered overview. It could have user customisable buttons and skins as well. I would like to see the side tool bar slide up and down vertically staying as close as possible to the pen tip without getting in the way. This way, between the two features of a shadowing "palette" menu of user selectable buttons and a sliding tool bar the "palette" menu could be set to turn on after a time delay or after so many words were written. This way I can erase or change colors or highlite much more efficiently and without depending on the application programmers paradigm of using a mouse to write a note. Motions that are easy with a mouse i.e. going to the top of a application to select a button then back down again should be made much simpler for a pen. If I am writing then the palette would turn on. If I lift my pen from the Tablet PC then the palette would fade away after 5 seconds.

    This is a "pain point" because it seems to me a common sense approach to making the Tablet PC easier to work with.

  3. Dave Bonar says:

    I’d like a way to vertically scroll the screen while holding a slate style tablet (in both landscape and portrait mode) without using the pen or changing how I hold the slate. Of course this should be usable for both right and left handed users.

    Currently with a Motion 1600 slate I find that the four way scroll button is never where I can comfortably reach it plus it does not allow contiuous scrolling. The thumb reader works well in a few orrientations but is not in a good location for a left handed user in either portrait mode.

  4. Michael says:

    Usage scenarios:

    One scenario that is missing or buried in "Web browsing" is using information tools that run over the web. For example, a doctor will use decision support software that helps make on the spot decisions about patient diagnosis and treatment.

    Pain points:

    Writing recognition needs to be more context aware. Often the letter S will be capitalized in the middle of a sentence. Also, the font in the TIP needs to be improved because there are many cases in which a user does not notice an error before accepting it.

    The hardware folks need better scrolling devices. It should be as good as scrolling on a mouse, but it isn’t.

    For smaller tablets there needs to be some thought about projecting talks using the tablet. If a small tablet runs only in 800×600 do you have to give talks in 800×600, do you have to refrain from using the pen or display on the tablet, or does a small tablet need to have a 1024×768 mode to support projectors, even if it is hard to read?

  5. Sergei says:

    I’d like to be able to reposition the TIP so that it’s in a comfortable position for writing without it freezing up!

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    Sergei, have you tried the IPTIP (floating TIP)?

    What do you mean by ‘freezing up’? Can you give me specific steps to repro this?