Let’s Talk About One Hand Navigation

I’ve really enjoyed all the insightful responses to Scott’s “what features would you spend your $100 on?” entry.  Thank you for your passion around our product.  One feature request that kept coming up was “better one hand navigation.”  I’d like to have some discussion on this subject and better understand what you’re asking for there.  I’m going to make some assumptions, give some information, and then ask for clarification on what you’re looking for.


My first assumption is that when you say “I want one hand navigation” what you’re really saying is, “I don’t want to have to tap the screen.”  If you mean something else, let me know.

My second assumption is that this feature request only applies to devices with a touch screen.  We call these devices “PocketPCs,” although there are some devices marketed as “Smartphones” that have touch screens and are, in actuality, PocketPCs.  Obviously if the device doesn’t have a touch screen, there won’t be any software that requires you to touch it.

Because of the second assumption, assume for the rest of this entry that I’m only talking about touch screen PocketPCs.

Hardware requirements

While we did some work on one hand navigation for WM2003SE, we didn’t really consider PocketPCs to be one hand navigatible until WM5.  And, for one hand navigation to work, we tell OEMs that they should have the following hardware buttons:  a DPAD (up, down, left, right, enter), two softkeys, a Start button, and an Ok button.  (All phone devices also have a SEND and an END key.)  We largely expect devices to lay these buttons out near each other, the way the 6700 and the Treo do.  On some devices, especially the MDA, the Start and OK buttons were moved to the top and changed into quick launch keys.  On my MDA, I work around this by assigning those buttons to Start and Ok in the Buttons control panel.  I assume most people find that device hard to one hand navigate.

Navigation Failures

In our attempt to make PocketPC one hand navigatible, we missed a few spots.  The biggest of these, in my opinion, is that you can’t change folders in inbox without tapping the dropdown on the upper left corner of the screen.  There are some things in the control panels as well, but I don’t hit them very regularly.  My first question for you folks is that, when you say you want one hand navigation to work, are you talking about these things or something else?  In other words is it, “One hand navigation mostly works, but there are these rough edges,” or is it something much deeper?

The feedback suggests that it’s something deeper, so I’m going to ask more questions about it.  The specific feedback seemed to fall into two categories:

Navigating between apps:

I saw people saying that they felt that they needed to use the stylus to move from app to app.   I’d like to hear more about this.  For launching apps, what requires the stylus?  Alternately, what works so much better with the stylus than the buttons that you’re willing to pull it out?  Note, however, that I’m assuming you have a “Start” and an “Ok” button.  If your hardware doesn’t have those, then I fully understand why you can’t navigate apps without touching the screen.

Dialing the phone:

The feedback was very clear on this one.   People want to dial the phone without touching the screen.  My question here is, how would you like to see us implement this?  In my opinion, the only way to dial without touching the screen is to have the 12 hardware phone buttons (1-9, *, 0, #).  Are you folks saying, “Require that every PocketPC have hardware dialer buttons,” or do you have ideas for ways to dial from the DPAD?   The only thing that comes to my mind is to put a little focus box around the number, and then have the DPAD move that focus box.  For instance, start it on 1.  Right goes to 2.  From there, down goes to 5.  Etc.  Is that what you’re looking for?  It feels to me like that would require you to look at the screen almost as much as touching it does. 

Thanks for all your feedback.

Mike Calligaro

Comments (99)
  1. MikeCal says:

    <grumbles>  The formatting went nuts on me, and I ended up hand editing the HTML to make it right.  I’m not sure if RSS readers saw all 4 edits or just got one.  If the former, I apologize for spamming your readers.


  2. twelvelabs says:

    I actually like using the touchscreen to dial… I just wish the buttons were larger so I didn’t have to pull out the stylus. I had a sidekick previously and trying to dial w/out opening the flip was horrible.

    I’m in the "I just hate being forced to use the stylus" camp. If I have it out already that’s one thing, but being *forced* to use it is a drag.

  3. Galt says:

    Another excellent discussion topic, thanks Mike.

    I think you’ve described the issue well, I fall into the "1-handed nav works pretty well with WM5" camp.

    A general suggestion – if there’s a menu selection to be made, and the device has a hardware keyboard, always make sure the alpha keys can be used to jump to the items that begin with the corresponding letter.  Most WM5 menus do this pretty well, but why doesn’t WMP use this in the media selection menus?  What is this method of navigation termed?  I love that PIE uses this to navigate Favorites (folders and saved items).

    Yes, the email folder navigation has to be the #1 thing that makes me frustrated when navigating on WM5.  I’m sure you guys have some solutions worked out, but it seems obvious to me that the main view should be a tree view, perhaps with the ability to expand/collapse the tree branches with left/right motions on the dpad or hardware arrow keys, or just click through into a folder with enter or dpad button and exit from the folder with OK.  

    #2 on the frustration list might be queuing up tracks in WMP (which is about to be extinct, time for an update), once a selection is made, for example, to queue up all tracks from an album using the tap and hold menu of the dpad button, there’s no easy non-screen tapping method of backing out to the previous menu to be able to queue up other albums or tracks for a different artist.  Again, the left/right dpad is functionless in this menu, it should be used to navigate back and forth through albums and artists views.

    Regarding dialing the phone, I think this is a major frustration for those of us with devices that have a hardware keyboard.  It feels as if most of the keyboard is "dead" in that app.  Only the number keys are recognized, and unless a 3rd party option is used, no smart dialing occurs from the main phone screen.  It’s frustrating that the standard dial screen is totally blind to the alpha portion of the keyboard, and even with HTC’s Smart Dialer installed, it only recognizes numeric characters.  How should it work?  Well, for example, if you pick up a Hiptop and start entering someones name or number using the keyboard in the phone app (or from the home screen if I recall correctly) the Hiptop "smart dialer" quickly brings up a filtered-on-the-fly list of your contacts associated with the name or number you’ve entered so far.  Whatever you know about the person who you want to call should be able to be used to dial them!  As soon as we are in the phone app, any user using a device with a hardware keyboard should be able to use the alpha keys to spell out the name of the contact they wish to dial, and have a smart dialer filter the contacts database based on the text entry without the user having to enter a separate contacts menu.  

  4. Surur says:

    I have a HP 6915, which works pretty well one-handed, which makes the islands of misfunction even more obvious and annoying.

    What I would want (ideally, I know) is that NOTHING should need the stylus.  I know the folder problem in pocket outlook was sorted out already (the aku 2.4 HP does this with a "go to" submenu).  However, why cant I change the soft order in a folder via in file explorer via the hardware keys?  The problem with WMP was already mentioned earlier. Why are there not shortcuts assigned to the tabs in control panel, to make switching between them easy on QWERTY devices? Why cant I go to the url area in PIE without scrolling right to the top of the screen (at least that is an improvement).  Why do I have to go all the way to the memory control panel to close a running app?  This takes at least 10-11 taps, either by keyboard or stylus.  Why des holding down the OK key not do this automatically? Why does the d-pad in the phone app do nothing.  It used to take you to the cal history, but now no longer.

    So firstly, everything should be possible via the hard keys, and then what is there should be optimised.

    I know you may say if you need this level of one-handedness, why not use a smartphone?  The short of it is that OEM’s are already selling your WM PPC software in a smartphone form factor.  The genie is out of the bottle, and you may as well adapt to he reality on the ground.  Except for WMP, the rest of the changes should be relatively trivial (e.g the d-pad in the phone app going to phon history and tabbing between dialed calls, missed calls, recieved calls etc).

    I can see the lates AKU’s already have addressed som of the issues.  Keep up the good work, one handed use IS a priority to users.


  5. N says:

    I think that one handed navigation in Windows Mobile for Pocket PC is progressing well. I expect the next major release to have solved all issues in WM5.

    Other features I have found missing:

    * Profiles, just as in Smartphone.

    * Smartdialing, just as in Smartphone.

    * Lock the device by a long press on the end button, just as in Smartphone.

  6. Richard Gadsden says:

    One handed navigation:

    I can use the touch-screen one-handed as long as the buttons are big enough.  For instance, the password screen (the one with the big digits on) is fine.  The telephone dialler has much smaller buttons and is hard to use without the stylus.

    Can I suggest that you try picking up a device, holding it in one hand and working the screen with your thumb?  That’s a perfectly reasonable one-handed approach to use, but thumbs are a lot less precise than styluses, and need big, fat buttons.

  7. Yes, yes, yes…I want a touch screen *and* a proper phone pad.

    As a phone dialer the touchscreen sucks big time – really unfriendly if you are walking around…but I also want the touch screen when I’m checking email and surfing etc. You need both for the device to function well in both scenarios.

    If there was a device like the O2 XDA Mini S that had a phone keypad at the bottom like a standard phone then that would be the perfect combination for me.


  8. dar says:

    I have the MDA WM5.  I immediately changed the email/ie buttons to start/ok also.

    The contacts summary view is extremely annoying one handed.  Sometimes I punch up the wrong contact, and I want to go to the next one in the list, but I can’t unless I hit ok.  Enabling the right/left dpad to go to next/previous contact would be helpful.  Now, it goes to the notes tab, and from there I can never get back to summary (if I have a note, which I do for almost every contact).

    Also – would be nice if the contacts list opened to the last contact you were looking at.  If you punch up a contact, choose to call them, and the end the call.  Then look at email, and hit the contacts off the start menu, the focus in the list is reset to the top.  I would like to have it go back to the last one I was looking at.

    For the phone dialer, I would like to be able to hit the voice speed dial when the phone keypad is displayed, and call out the numbers to dial "one" "two" "three"…  But that would be too cool.  

    it would also be nice if the voice speed dial could assign parameters to the app it executes.  Like if I assigned "play music" to windows media with a specific playlist.  Or "email jane" started an email to a specific contact email address.

  9. Jake says:

    Probably the biggest pet peave I have right now with one handed navigation is the fact that scrolling often doesn’t work. For example, in IE, the D Pad jumps in between links. It doesn’t really scroll the page. I can’t say I can really think of a solution for that as when I want to click on a link I’d like to be able to do it without having to tap the screen. But it’d also be nice to be able to scroll a page preditably.

    Also, regarding the dialer, I could probably live with the fact that there’s no tactile feedback if it didn’t seem so unresponsive. On my 6700 it seems that I quite often have to hit a button more than once, though not every time. I don’t know if it’s a "fat finger" issue that could be solved with bigger buttons or an unreponsive software issue…

  10. lgs says:

    The one hand navigation problem is tied to the fact  that PocketPC have wide/big screens, used with high density graphics : the thumb cannot reach and touch any screen zone and when it can, there are several items under the thumb. Therefore, you have to use a stylus and 2 hands  !

    But you need also 2 hands when you use  large (10 columns) micro-qwerty keyboards. 2 known exeption, Blackberry 7100 and Sony 600i which have 1/2 qwerty (i bet that Sony 600i design will become a model).

    A solution exists : the Tiki’labs MMI process :

    you put a full keyboard and a pointing pad (a micro-joystick could do) under the area which the thumb can encompass. Since you have a softkeyboard, you can get all shortcuts you need and can learn, and, without having to move the hand, just the thumb, you have a pointer able to go to all zones of the screen and clic.

    That design can be implemented on either side of a touchscreen… but will be more flexible  with a distinct detachable wireless ambidextruous device.


    Larry, lgs@tikilabs.com  Ceo of a french startup which will come out of stealth mode in september.

    PS : the keyboard is chordic… but with a visual interactive guide … and therefore, you can use it immediately.

  11. andy says:

    WM5 is headed in the right direction.  I love the navigation and touch the screen now that I have a screen protector.  Some ideas:

    – WMP library needs left dpad to go Back

    – Phone needs left/right to switch between main phone screen, Speed Dial and Recent Call History

    – PIE fullscreen should perform softkey actions instead of just restoring, which requires me to hit Left Soft Key twice to navigate back

    – Fix tab orders on Today Settings screen and other areas

    – Select All in mail!  I’ve already read them on my desktop, I want to mark all as read (or delete)

    – Hold-OK-to-quit is a good idea, but i realize it’s against your ideals and can be third party

    – Fix onscreen keyboard!  It becomes persistent once you use it, making us all avoid it like the plague.  I wouldn’t have to open the keyboard just to punch one alphanumeric.

  12. Andy Jeffries says:

    ‘For the phone dialer, I would like to be able to hit the voice speed dial when the phone keypad is displayed, and call out the numbers to dial "one" "two" "three"…  But that would be too cool.’

    Microsoft voice command allows you to do that – "dial 01111 111 1111" will dial that number for you

  13. andy says:

    Two more things:

    – WMP library always starts out browsing Main Memory, which I have never once stored media in.  It takes two screen-taps just to get to Storage Card.  This needs to be fixed at some point.

    – Ditto for Pictures & Video.  Honestly, I told WM to store my stuff on the storage card, so lets not make me navigate there every time I want to view it.  

  14. Antoine says:

    I like the fact that the DPad in Pocket IE moves the focus from link to link instead of scrolling the page. But I do agree with Jake that it becomes annoying when you simply want to scroll the page. Why not scroll the page when the DPad is held down instead of pressed? For example, holding down "up" would scroll up by one page.

  15. matt says:

    I’m surprised no one (besides Andy) has brought up the powerful features included with Voice Command.  With my Cingular/HTC 8125 I have perfected the art of one handed use (especially while on the go).  Since my 8125 doesn’t have an "OK" button I reassigned the camera button to be the "OK/Close" button.  This is especially great when I have the keyboard open because it is located right at the top.

    I can’t wait for the HTC TyTN to hit the United States (rumored to be available for Cingular as the 8525 in October).  This would bring a phone with dedicated buttons for Start and OK on a Cingular device making one handed navigation easier.

  16. MikeCal says:

    Thanks for all the feedback folks.  I’m taking notes and will send it to the appropriate people.  Keep it coming.

    One quick aside to andy.  Yes, the soft keyboard that you kill only to have it come back to life has been one of my pet peeves too.  One of the advantages to working in a group for a long time and knowing everyone is that sometimes this lets you take a chainsaw to one of said peeves.  Not that I’m announcing features or releases, but that one made a nice satisfying squeal the last time it died….  (Okay, I’ve been playing too much Dead Rising lately. 🙂


  17. Juhani Suhonen says:

    To my understanding, many of us are using WM5 Phone edition devices as "phones" – that being said, we’d like to use it in right (or left) hand only. Since the device typically has much more functions than plain phone this makes it difficult to design (or use) it completely one-handed.

    IMHO : the best way to do this would be that everything in OS is tested without stylus near. (That assumes user is able to thumb-press touchscreen though)… I think the most annoying things here are :

    1) Moving between many-open programs is too difficult (dynamo,magicbutton,sbp anyone? 🙂 )

    2) Little things in the screen do not "respect" a thumb – take an horrible example, SIP. This could be enchanced by having "touch averaging" which learns users thumb size and averages "large inputs" (thumb pressing touchscreen) with that data.

    3) ctrl-q (close program or abort or esc) key REALLY should be there. Closing a note application after accidentally opening it saves a empty note, modifying contact and wanting to "undo" changes being impossible and other similar things makes me want to have a key which would escape or abort whatever i was just doing.

  18. Sam says:

    OK, lets break the problem down to a narrower scope – I want to be able to use my HTC MDA _as a phone_, one handed.

    It is nearly criminal that there is no way to navigate through recent calls using only the directional pad.  every phone in existance for the last 5 years allows you to press TALK, UP/DOWN to scroll through your recent calls.  It is especially frustrating that the dpad does _nothing_ on the "phone" screen.  If you’ve ever got buttons that do nothing, having them do nearly _anything_ would be an imrovement.  And why does the "phone" screen need a "contacts" softkey? The today screen you just came from has one (and t-mobile default to button1 as contact).  Probably the easiest solution here would be for that softkey to go to recent calls.

    And not strictly a one-hand-usage feature, but something related, is the order of notifications.  If I miss a call, and they leave voicemail, the notifications work as a LIFO stack, where I see the voicemail notification, then the missed call notification.  However, when actually using a mobile phone, its common to want to see _which_ call you just missed, before even calling your voicemail.

  19. Matthew says:

    A few ideas to steal from devices that far outclass yours. Face it, its the way your company has always kept up on the desktop, and its time to do it on the phone.

    For task switching, using the start menu is slow. I have to go past stuff I don’t want at the top, and I might have stuff open (since I can’t close it) that isn’t in the MRU in the middle. Solution, steal from the Symbian Series 60 UI. My Nokia 3650 has an app key, that is about the same as your Windows key. When I push it, I get the list of apps to start. However, if I hold it for a second, I get a popup list of running programs in the order I’ve last used them, which I navigate with the D-pad. Of course, to keep this easy, I nedd a way to prune the list. I like the idea above about holding the OK/close button to close the application for real. I think its time to give up the retarded idea of keeping everything open. Everyone hates it and its one of the first things brought out to bash a WM device.

    Phone dialing could be accomplish in a neat way. Ever used a Tapwave Zodiac? Its program launcher used the D-pad to jump to apps or folders that would have more apps in them. Using diagonals, you can go 8 ways. I think with a little imagination you can see a way to dial the phone with that thing. up left = 1, up = 2, up right = 3, left = 4, center push = 5, right = 6, left down = 7, down = 8, down right = 9, and zero you hold the center for a half second and it does that instead of the 5 you get with the quick tap. Full phone dialing from the D-pad, Tada!

    I’m a developer for about a year now on WM devices and I carry my trusty Nokia phone because it works. My desk is littered with all manner of WM5 and 2K5 PPC phone devices, yet I RARELY use one for anything but development testing. They are so frustrating that I"d smash one within a week if I had to use it as a phone. The suggestions made would go a LONG way to improving interaction. Speeding them up would do most of the rest. You’ve got processors with more power than my first computer (a 486), yet it is almost always slower to respond than the version of Windows that was current when I had that computer. A lot of it seems to be related to disgustingly inefficient painting routines, obvious as I watch each element slowly draw on many occassions. Failing to show any sign of recognition of input means I either double tap something and get an unexpected response when it suddenly realized I hit something and responds twice, or I stare at it for several seconds waiting to be convienced it didn’t actually read the push and isn’t just waiting to feel like responding.

  20. Jose Almeida says:


    There could be an improvemnet that would help a lot.

    If we could select easly a number in any program and press the phone button to dial it.


    I would put in the metting description in outlook:

    "Meeting with Jonas Tel:9999999"

    And when I want to dial it I would select the number with the DPAD and press the phone button. Detectin this was a number the Phone aplication would ask me if I wanted to dial it.

    This already happens in the notes section of the programs, but we have to go to the pda open the notes on the apointmnet write tel:9999999 and press enter so that the programa reconizes it as a phone number.

    If there was a way of putting this code in the outlook.

    It would save a lot of work.

    Regards, Jose

    It would detect that the

  21. Jarrard Cole says:

    I’ve had my XV6700 for two days and one handed navigation is my biggest focus.  I downloaded E-TEN dialer that reformatted your dialing screen.  It spread the number buttons out across the screen making them VERY easy to dial using my thumb.  Before, I nearly re-sold the phone on ebay because it was so hard to dial without the stylus.

    For me, I disagree with your assumption that one-handed navigation means not tapping the screen.  If buttons could be made bigger (vertically), then my thumb would be able to handle them.  I love the ETEN dialer because my thumb finally is accurate enough.  Using the ETEN dialer, I do not need or want a hardware number pad.


  22. Jarrard Cole says:

    I’ve had my XV6700 for two days and one handed navigation is my biggest focus.  I downloaded E-TEN dialer that reformatted your dialing screen.  It spread the number buttons out across the screen making them VERY easy to dial using my thumb.  Before, I nearly re-sold the phone on ebay because it was so hard to dial without the stylus.

    For me, I disagree with your assumption that one-handed navigation means not tapping the screen.  If buttons could be made bigger (vertically), then my thumb would be able to handle them.  I love the ETEN dialer because my thumb finally is accurate enough.  Using the ETEN dialer, I do not need or want a hardware number pad.


  23. Ian says:

    > The biggest of these, in my opinion, is that you can’t change folders in inbox without tapping the dropdown on the upper left corner of the screen.

    No idea if its WM5 or Qtek specific but on the Qtek 9100 you can press the Mail button to switch/cycle through the mail folders.

  24. alfborge says:

    Could you add support for "press-and-hold" actions on the buttons?  This would make it possible to scroll in ie (hold the arrow and after a second or two it starts scrolling in a pre-defined tempo).  Holding the <enter> key could bring up the context menu or a list of running programs, holding the <ok> button closes the app (yes, you _know_ we want it, now please give it to us) etc.

    Then make it all user definable.

  25. manueldelgado says:

    My main concern with one-handed navigation is phone-dialling, as for most people here, as I could see in the previous comments. Bigger buttons would make it much easier (I don’t mind using my thumb as long as I don’t have to use the stylus).

    It is true, however, that 99% of my calls are made to people in my Contacts list or to numbers I already have in my call list (incoming and outgoing). This means that streamlining my one-handed access to Contacts and to the call history will dramatically improve my experience, rather than focusing on those one or two calls a week for which I have to dial the number.

    I remember my iPaq 5450, where there was an HP app that was launched from one of the hardware buttons and allowed me to switch from the currently active apps. That would be great if standard, not as an OEM choice, too.

  26. Dennis says:


    Thanks for bringing this topic up.

    The #1 want on my list for OHN would be to bring the alphabet bar into focus in the contact list. Now, when I open Contacts, the first name in my contact list is highlighed. If I press "up" on the dpad, focus jumps past the alphabet bar (don’t know what this is really called) to the search text box. If we could bring the alphabet bar into focus, I could use right/left on the dpad to skip from "#ab" to "cde" to … "xyz", then from there use "down" on the dpad to scroll to the name I’m looking for.

    This would make the Contacts MUCH more useable without having to grab the stylus.

  27. Ed Hardy says:

    My biggest complaint isn’t that things can’t be done one handed, but that they are too difficult to do that way.

    Take moving around in the Settings screens. You can adjust your Connection settings with just one hand, but it takes about 50 button presses to get there.

    I have a suggestion for your development team: Take some Pocket PC phones and modify them so that the touchscreen is disabled. Then use them for a couple of weeks.

    You’ll quickly realize how often you’re touching the screen in order to perform common tasks.

  28. Ed Hardy says:

    On my WM Smartphone, there are sites on which the links are numbered (the mobile version of Gmail is one example.) Pushing that number on the phone’s numberpad opens that link.

    Please add this functionality to the Pocket PC version of Internet Explorer.

  29. Jeff says:

    It might be heresy to suggest, but the Samsung SPH-i500 handles one-handed dialing pretty well. Pressing "talk" from the Palm launcher displays the list of recent incoming/outgoing calls. From that point, you can scroll up and down the list, and hit talk to dial the selected number.

    Pressing the "address" hardkey brings up the addressbook, at which point you can scroll up/down with the rocker, then hit talk to dial the default number of the selected entry. Not *quite* perfect, but a good start that could be improved with a proper 5-way navigator.

    The acid test: can a user driving along a crowded freeway at 70mph pick up the phone and call someone whose number isn’t known by memory without taking one hand off the steering wheel or looking away from the road for more than a moment at a time? If the user simply MUST try to hold the phone with the "steering-wheel hand" while navigating menus with the other, the UI has failed.

    Suggestion: in addressbook…

    * up/down moves one entry at a time

    * right/left moves one screen at a time

    * double-pressing the navigator (holding it in after the second press) dials the contact’s default phone number after a moment’s pause, but aborts and hangs up if the button is released before the phone gives the vibrator a little kick ~500msec later to confirm it. Rapidly pressing the button 3 or more times aborts dialing and gives a short-long vibrate feedback.

    * pressing the navigator displays the available numbers for the contact, with the default number listed first, and a menu option at the end to return to the contact list. Pressing and holding the navigator initiates dialing, but aborts unless the navigator is pressed for ~500msec (a prefs setting), and gives a little vibrator kick to confirm and let the user know dialing is in progress and it’s ok to let go of the button. The same "ohshit" gesture applies… rapidly pressing the button 3 or more times aborts dialing and gives a short-long vibrate feedback.

    * left from the contact’s number list returns to the list of contacts. right from the contact’s number list jumps to the next contact in the list. right-right jumps to the previous contact in the list (handles use case where the user got trigger-happy (or drove over a bump in the road) and hit the button one contact early or late.

    Microsoft REALLY needs to learn that menus are nice for soccer moms, but gestures are a good thing to have as a preference option for advanced users. Accommodate the nontechnical users if you must, but leave plenty of opportunities for advanced users willing to spend time learning the shortcuts to leapfrog over those users and move to the next level.

    Just two buttons on the side (pressable by the forefinger and middle finger) can be overloaded and serve dozens of purposes… things like, "Press and hold A, press B twice and hold it after the last press, release A, release B". Just don’t forget the all-important "ohshit gesture"™ that ALWAYS cancels an action just launched, as well as the equally-important "nevermind, ignore this" gesture. Say, pressing and holding "B", while rapidly pressing "A" four or more times in a row ("ohshit"), or pressing and holding both "A" and "B", pressing the 5-way nav button twice (holding it after the second press), releasing A and B, then releasing the 5-way nav (the "nevermind, I made a mistake so ignore this" gesture).

  30. Dennis Gee says:

    Small thing.  When navigating in Outlook one-handed, positioning in the Inbox email list is a pain.  It starts where you left it instead of at the top of the list which is fine, but how do you then get to the top of the list?  When I scroll up it gets to the top and jumps back to the bottom of the list.  This is annoying when trying to navigate one-handed.  Is there a way to do that or can I add it to the wish list?

  31. Dieter Bohn says:

    Thanks for the great topic –

    I agree 100% that the folder drop-down in the messaging (and file explorer) are the biggest hassle.  But I also find some hassles with 5-way in the PIMs and in PIE.

    Part of that might be that I’m used to the 5-way on older Treos, but basically I would like to see some differentiation between left and right and up and down a la Blazer.

    That said – one thing that is *wonderful* is holding down the center button as a stand-in for holding down the stylus on the screen.  Love that.

  32. Charlie says:

    For me, one handed navigation means I can use the phone and maybe the media player with one hand. the other PDA-esque stuff I can slow down and stylus my way around.

    Included in using the phone part of the PPC one-handed is of course that the contacts list and the phone have to be smoothly working together and navigable.

    More detailed things like adjusting system settings or setting the time or whatever I don’t mind using the stylus for.

    The physically perfect device for me would be like the BenQ P50 except a bit slimmer and with WM5 PPC running on it. The small QWERTY keypad + numeric pad is wonderful to have.

  33. Solnyshok says:

    the friendliest one handed device I have seen so far was Palm Treo Palm OS based. If you step back to think about how it does that- it is has very little to do with OS or qwerty, but rather with very efficient use of dpad and ESC and "TAB" buttons. I think I would ask for 3 things to make future wm6 devices friendlier –

    1. esc button – go back from control or from app to root menu

    2. focus tab button- cycle focus between upper bar (d-pad should work there as well)- to application main window – and to menu bar in the lowest part of screen.

    3.software input API: giving user possibility to navigate to any element in application window by using d-pad and drill into submenus / lists / buttons by pushing central button/joystick.

  34. tamberg says:

    From a developer’s perspective one handed navigation could be supported in a more consistent way if there was a concept of "visible focus" (e.g. a border highlighting the focused control) as this is the case e.g. on Windows XP.

  35. Steve says:

    Over the years of using Pocket PCs I got use to using the stylus, but as the Pocket PC phone became more usable, the need for one handed operation became more apparent. Here are some of my comments regarding Windows Mobile and one handed navigation:

    Phone Dialer – I personally do not need a hardware based keypad to use the telephone. I use my thumb with the T-Mobile phone dialer. Microsoft should not force vendors to provide a hardware based keypad. The market should decide. Contrary to some posts, I find the HTC Smart Dialing 2.2 utility quite useful, it does recognize keypad characters and allows me to scroll through contact phone numbers. However there is still room for improvement like using the left D-Pad to backspace when you are using the keypad.

    WM5 soft key hardware buttons – It looks like a lot of folks remap the top two hardware buttons for Start and OK. Check out Smartskey on xda-developers, it remaps the soft key hardware buttons tap and hold functionality to Start and OK. The OK functionality also allows you to configure applications to stay open, otherwise it attempts to shut them down.

    Pocket IE – The default mode is not very friendly. With the addition of Smartskey and MultiIE the volume button to scroll block at a time and MultiIE keeps the up and down D-Pad for link to link scrolling. You have the best of both worlds and tabbed browsing.

    Pocket Outlook – I agree with most comments that the inability to scroll through mailbox folders is limiting, however you can scroll to the last folder accessed, across mail providers by moving backwards or forward from the top or bottom of the folder you are viewing. Helpful but not a complete solution.

    Menu Items – I think it is also important for application developers to be aware of where they place items in menus to limit the number of scroll actions. I love the delete being at the top of Pocket Outlook’s menu, on the other side of the coin I hate that ActiveSync placed Connect via Bluetooth at the bottom, requiring an extra scroll. Configurable menus would be great.

    Task Manager – My biggest complaint is the lack of a one handed Alt-Tab implementation. I agree with the comments made that using the start menu to navigate through active application is flawed. I use Omega One’s Battery Pro and with the latest version it would have been nice for them to implement a one handed task switching capability.

  36. Tryster says:

    I’d have to agree with Steve. The biggest aid I’ve come accross to one handed navigation is SmartsKey and I would say that would be my choice of solving the issue – have a two-mode button for the soft keys in the same way as the voice command/record button.

    I don’t want too many buttons on my device (unless hidden like a slide out keyboad etc) as a) it spoils the look of the device and b) it just gives me more things to accidentally press when I’m trying to get the phone out of my pocket.  I’m much more into making the buttons that I do have multifunctional.

    I do think it would perhaps be useful to have a last ditch ‘virtual mouse’ mode for those apps which just don’t conform… Perhaps you could add an option to the context menu which is shown when you press and hold the d-pad action button. This menu option would activate the virtual mouse which would show a cursor you could move around and the next press of the action button would simulate a tap at the location of the cursor? This final press could also turn off the virtual mouse mode…

    One sort of related gripe I have is the Start menu… I would love to see this laid out more like the tradition Windows start menu with cascading layout. This could also show the Task list and allow you to switch and close tasks (ala SmallMenu Plus).

  37. George Entecott says:

    I really miss the T9 SIP from my HTC Magician now I have a ETEN ppc phone.

    It is a lot more anoying to use a stylus on the keyboard SIP, particularly as the screen alignment on my device is not very accurate even with a stylus.

    Also, the Send button is next to the Ctrl and Space keys.  I sometimes accidently hit Ctrl instead of Shift, want to turn off the sticky Ctrl key, miss and hit Send half way through my message!  

    Changing the right soft key to Cancel Send whilst sending a message gives the user a chance to stop this.  

  38. This is a really neat dicussion, and I am glad that the WM team is looking at it.

    In some respects, I believe that many things were already discussed here and so I will endavor not to remention them, however, there are some things that play into one handed use that has not been spoken about. Please understand, I speak mainly from a PalmOS perspective, but have more than my fair share of WM play over the years.

    On the today screen:

    There is a program on the PalmOS called TMP that allows one to basically navigate via a combination of up/down, left/right, and focus/tap/hold elements. If the today screen could be modified such that one could focus onto a specific plugin via a press+hold of the center button, and then after it is focused onto, it would be selectable to do various tasks (go forward a few events, click on a button for other functionality, etc.). One would then press+hold the center nav to restore the screen to normal use, or to move to another plugin. That would mean a rewriting of some plugins, but if a standard feature, it would pull some people in.

    Start menu:

    For those devices with a dedicated start menu button, emphasize this usage by allowing a press and hold of that button to move the focus from the start button to the task bar. Then the 5way could be used to select wireless status items, clock, or close a program. Again, some enhancemnts that modify the task bar would have to be rewritten for this, but it would increase the one-handhed use.

    Within programs:

    Have a standard where all programs are completly one handed within menus and lists. For apps with pages (readers, web, etc), given an ability to focus on the reading area and then allow for specific 5way usability there, but then the option of going to a stylus for going outside of that scroll frame.

    Ballons and alert messages:

    Should always be navigable one handed, and since WM also has an OK button, shuold also be able to use that for OK, and one of the other buttons to map to a ESC/Cancel feature.

    I was "interrupted" with work and dang near lost my train of thought, but this is a great thread that I shall be keeping an eye on for the duration of the day

  39. Cuno says:

    >My first assumption is that when you say

    >“I want one hand navigation”

    >what you’re really saying is,

    >“I don’t want to have to tap the screen.”

    Not necessarily. For me, one hand navigation also applies to touch screens, meaning "I want to use an application or navigate by using my thumb".

    As a first step, this means larger buttons. There are good examples for this, such as navigation software, or some industrial HMI’s.

    But it goes far beyond that, e.g., see the work of Microsoft Research, ftp://ftp.cs.umd.edu/pub/hcil/Reports-Abstracts-Bibliography/2004-37html/AppLensLaunchTile.htm

  40. Stop by the blog and provide your input. From the Windows Mobile Team blog : I&amp;rsquo;ve really enjoyed

  41. Barry Rau says:

    I agree that the HP hw6xxx series formfactor works well, I still feel that a jog wheel (or a rubber sealed rocker pad may be better) with the following attributes. a. up/dn navigation b. push = action c. push/hold = activates a context based action menu (eg switch apps or other activities relating to current activity) any device that is a normal PPC form factor does not lend itself to OHN without a great rist of dropping the device. PPCPE form factor does this better because of the dial pad (Gives you something to hold on to lesser risk of dropping deivce.

  42. Whydidnt says:

    To be honest the Palm OS Treo has almost perfected this. I think it would be a great idea for you to smuggle in a Treo 650 or 700p for a week and see how they manage it.  

    First – every screen element needs to be selectable from the navigator or soft keys. Use a menu button, center button, space key etc… to move from one part, such as the title bar to the main section of the screen.

    2nd – Use a Virtual cursor to highlight the selected screen elements.

    3rd – Pressing up or down on the the dpad moves to the next screen item within the current navigation area, pressing left or right moves you to the next navigation area.  

    I know Solitaire is a just a throw-in app, but I do find it frustrating that there is no way to play it without tapping the screen. I think it serves as a good example of how little thought was really put into a "one-handed" experience when designing WM5 for PPCPE devices.  Using the virtual cursor, like Palm does solves many of the built in issues with apps.

  43. LTDang says:

    I was drawn to this discussion with the hope that it would be REALLY ‘outside the box’.  Voice command is probably the most flexible mobile device interface.  Hard buttons are so 1960’s, guys.  Remember the Clint Eastwood movie "Firefox"?  Let’s get to work on some mind control devices!

    But think about it: the main barrier with the current form factor – and the way the human hand holds it – is that the thumb is too fat.  So change the thumb by outfitting it with a ‘finger cot’ that enables more precise targeting.  It could even be the next big fashion thing.  

    Also, hold your device right now…  Certainly someone must have the vision to be experimenting with a way to utilize input more effectively from the other four fingers?  The index or middle finger can easily wrap around and operate the up/down arrows on a Treo.  

    Ever seen a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006GC5D8/103-4087128-9235815">finger exerciser</a>?  Combine this input method on the edge of a device with a system like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stenotype">stenotype</a&gt; and you can open a lot of doors.  It doesn’t necessarily need the entire alphabet.  A universal set of navigation commands would be a great start.  

    Lightly grab one wrist and wiggle the fingers on that hand.  The tendons for each finger are aligned in sequence across the wrist.  Someone please invent a Bluetooth bracelet (or two) to translate subtle finger motion into commands.  

    I’m not the first person to think of these things, and that’s probably part of the problem.  Microsoft or HTC didn’t think of it first, and someone else holds the patent already.  Come on… let’s get outside the box already!  I’m sick of seeing all these devices that flip and slide to reveal rows of hard buttons.

    And why must a device be rectangular?  Pocket PCs don’t have to fit it your pocket anymore than laptops have to fit on your lap.  Jeesh, technology moves so fast but humans adapt soooo slow…

  44. I think it is important to not break two handed navigation when you improve one handed navigation.  I would argue that this is just what WM5 did.  I really dislike that there is now a second level of tapping necessary to get to most functionality now in WM5 applications.  Where we used to have a nice row of buttons on the bottom with the most common used functions, we now get two and only two choices.

    Take PocketBible 3 (from Laridian) for an example).  The operations now are split between "View" and "Edit", and the worse yet, the split is totally arbitrary.  Most stuff under them have little to do with editing or viewing.  Worse yet, some applications have adapted having another row of buttons, wasting even more valuable screen real estate, to make up for it.  Take Resco File Explorer as an example.  The second row of buttons used to be turned on and off by a single tap on a button on the menu bar.  Now it takes three taps to do it.

    I think you need to realize that there are activities that are inherently more convenient as one hand activities, and others that are more convenient as two handed operations.  Each should be optimized for its appropriate number of hands.

    Making a phone call, checking messages, looking up an appointment or phone number, are all things that are likely to be done with the phone in one hand, and a steering wheel, pencil, or computer keyboard in the other.

    Other activities like playing games, using a calcualter, writing a long text document, etc., browsing web pages, need to be optimized for two hand use, and for screen real estate usage.  Unless a page is optimized for mobile devices, the WM5 link-to-link tabbing is pretty useless if you’re trying to scroll down to the bottom of a page with 50 or more links (try visiting cnn.com sometime).

    I realize that philosophically, you don’t like the idea of having two "look and feels".  My feeling is that that’s just tough.  Different activities require having different ways of interacting with the device.  Having the old WM2003SE row of buttons needn’t prelude using the soft keys.  Let them be bound to the first two menu items.  Maybe even let the user decide which interface each program has.  It doesn’t take that much effort for developers to provide two menu arrangements.

  45. Rod Drury says:

    The problem with Windows Mobile apps is that the experience has not been designed for mobile usage.  Rather, the office apps, designed for a big screen were shrunk.  Pocket Outlook is the worst as that is almost impossible to use in a mobile way and is the mobile app you live in.

    Compare Pocket Outlook to the BlackBerry experience.

    * All accounts are collapsed from the hierarchy to a message stream. In outlook it is /account/folder.  

    * Received and sent items are in the stream

    * Messages display the conversation view (esp for SMS and PIN Messaging)

    One hand navigation obviously helps but more importantly they have broken out of the hierachical view. I changed from Windows Mobile to RIM because on RIM I saw how much nicer it was to use and experience designed for mobile use.  One handed nav is mandatory.  Clever context menu’s should delight the end user as the action they want to do is directly available.

    I’m so glad it appears the Windows Mobile team are starting to get it.

  46. Brian Burch says:

    I think one handed nav for everything is mandatory.  The only conditions where I would tolerate a two-handed experience are related to "enjoyment" applications or experiences where you are likely to have my full attention (uni-tasking  vs. multi-tasking).

    The Blackberry navigation system and what I believe is the single biggest advantage they have  over all devices which is their clickwheel, easily allow me to navigate, select, review and move to next without involving both hands.  It seems that the only time I need my "other hand" is when I type.



  47. Chris says:


    Visit my website (non related to technology!) and leave me your e-mail address on my forum board.  I can assist you with the T9 SIP.




  48. Have you&amp;nbsp;ever wanted to give some input into developments on technology you love and use? Well, here is your chance, Microsoft’s Mobile Dev&amp;nbsp;Team&amp;nbsp;wants to talk about One Hand Navigation! &amp;quot;I&amp;rsquo;ve really enjoyed

  49. Andrew says:

    I think some of the issue is discoverability, not missing functionality.

    I have an HP ipaq 6515 and I like the way it does dialing. Yes, you can dial on the touchpad OR you can simply use the number pad on the key board – it automatically switches from character to numbers when in Phone mode.

    On the "one-hand" approach, the biggest issue I have (which is Hardware related) is not finding the OK shortcut button. I finally found it on my 6515 by hitting the "function" button and then clicking the backspace. Not quite one-handed but at least I can do it all from the keyboard without having to flip up the screen guard.

  50. murph says:

    * definetly fix the Outlook issue

    * better 1-handed IE browsing. there needs to be a better way to get to the address bar.

    * FWD/BACK on the dpad?

    * touch screen button to cycle display mode

    actually on the display mode issue, the best solution would be some way to configure each website in your favorites to always open in one-column or normal view.

  51. Mark says:

    I really wish the ability to dial a number from a calendar entry was possible.  I know there are people other than me who have daily/weekly teleconferences that have meet-me–lines listed in their appointmenet’s "Location" field. Right now, getting the phone to dial that number is very painful with one or two hands.

    The Smartphone version does this pretty well.

  52. klnking says:

    Personally i don’t mind the one-handed navigation is done at the button or on screen. At the end it is still a one handed operation without pulling out the stylus.

    However the screen size tells how easy to operate on screen. I have a gigabyte gsmart-i (2.4′) and asus a236 (3.5′). I must say at 2.4′ the only touchable buttons are the icon, the dialer and the media player. Even the calculator buttons are too small. At 3.5′, things are changed with most of the operation can be done by touching (although the screen is sometimes too large for comfortable one-handed operation).

    For WM5, It is not quite a perfect one-handed navigation experience. Sometimes pulling the stylus is the only choice. Sometimes can be more friender and natural (maybe simply like navigating icon from upper left to bottom right I have moving my finger and press downs & rights. Why not just hold down right button and it will be eventually there?)

    My suggestion:

    1. Fix above issues.

    2. All built-in software keyboard input must use stylus. Can you add large button input such as T9 SIP?

  53. Adam Lein says:

    For me the biggest navigation failure in Windows Mobile 5 is the Media Player Library. YOU CAN’T ACCESS THE BACK BUTTON ONE HANDED!!  You can select items and open them, but you can’t go back. The Directional pad’s left button has no function in this view, why doesn’t it let you navigate back in the library tree?  This to me is the most obvious and idiotic omission for Windows Mobile in terms of one handed usage.

  54. Danny Groeneveld says:

    OK, this is what definitely need improvement. The access control to pda functions and the access control to the phone functions must be segregated. I want to protect my data with a password but I hate to be forced to enter my password over and over again just to make a phonecall.

  55. Jose Almeida says:


    It would be nice to have international support when your dial.

    For accented caracters.

    Also it would be nice to search for contacts and for names at the same time when we press the numbers on screen.

  56. Kevin says:

    In my opinion, 1-handed nav should be assisted by a more advanced rocker / wheel setup. Consider this button layout:

    [A] [WWWWWWW] [B]

    [A] = Next control. It essentially does Tab.

    [B] = Previous control. It does shift+tab

    [WWWWWW] would be the pressable wheel.

    This would work pretty well at 1-handed navigation if situated on the side of the device. You could access every control, and the wheel could perform context-sensitive selection and scrolling tasks for each control.

  57. Chris says:

    Dear Mike Calligaro,

    First I would like to mention that I’m a owner of a Treo650 and former owner of a Treo600. I sincerely do not understand why it is imposible to mimick the good behavior of a Treo600/650.

    I know multitasking is one of the big advantages from Windows mobile over the palm device, but the performance hit and usability are serious drawbacks.

    try to make the applications work with the 5way navigation button and try to understand that 1 button can incorporate numerous functions in different screens of situation in one screen.

    For a better understanding of effeciency of buttons and the use of devices you can also take a peek at B&O Audio/Visual equipement. They are one of the few in this world to make a truly good remote control for all of their devices.

    a quick question wich all of my WM-device-customers have:

    "Why can’t I simply close an application?"

    "Why is WM so slow compared to my old agenda?"

    solve the problem of one-hand Navigation with the above two questions in mind.

    Greetings Chris

  58. Rich Lund says:

    I totally agree with Adam Lein – I could handle most of my normal use one-handed except for browsing (specifically going back in the library) in Media Player which was very annoying. If this were just improved I’d have had my near-perfect all in one device with my QTek S100. As it is I’ve just gone back to smartphone, a main driver being the easy one-hand operation.

  59. Ahmed Patel says:

    WM5 is headed in the right direction. It’s better than WM2003SE and better than the UIQ P910 I had before. But there’s a long way to go!!

    I have to agree with andy (25th Aug):


    – WMP needs to be sorting, full stop. It’s one of the worst one handed applications I’ve had to use.

    – Library needs left dpad to go Back. The DPad should be used more often to allow navigation and big buttons would allow easy access to the standard play/pause/prev/next/stop buttons.

    – More on screen info would be useful or maybe show the playlist and current data in separate panels.

    – WMP library always starts out browsing Main Memory, which I have never once stored media in.  It takes two screen-taps just to get to Storage Card.  This needs to be fixed at some point. Same for Pictures & Video.

    – I told WM to store my stuff on the storage card, so lets not make me navigate there every time I want to view it.


    – I’d rather it started on Recent Calls when I press the CALL key (like normal mobiles do).

    – BIG STEP BACKWARD: someone removed the left/right navigation!! It used to allow you to go through: Speed Dials < Keypad > Recent Calls.

    – I think bigger buttons would be better (like when entering the PIN) but SmartDial is also useful. How about a semi-transparent keypad where up/down on the DPad allows you to scroll through the SmartDial list.

    – Oh and why is Contacts on the Right Today screen softkey but on the Left in the Phone app??

    – Bigger dialler buttons again: The buttons on the right could be removed totally if you made better use of the softkeys (backspace/Contacts) and the DPad (Recent calls, Speed Dial) and CALL (CALL).


    – Up/Down moves one entry at a time.

    – Left/Right moves through the alphabet bar (which could be ‘stuck’ at the top). Phones with no keyboard/keypad could really benefit from this one. (Modified version of Jeff’s idea).

    – Hitting CALL button on a contact’s number brings up the phone app – BUT doesn’t dial the number – WHY?

    – Hitting CALL on a contact (as apposed to selecting the contact) should also just dial the default number.


    – Up/Down for scrolling

    – Left/Right to scroll through the links (on the current screen – change focus to the top link when the user scrolls up/down).

    Today Screen

    – How many add-ons are there that add a tabbed shortcut item to the today screen. Maybe it should be standard.

    – And why does the Smartphone have a recently used applet and the Pocket PC doesn’t!!!!! I really don’t understand this one.

    – BIG ISSUE: The tabbed shortcut applets I’ve used didn’t allow the use of the dpad to select a shortcut. Please, make it so.

    Messaging & File Browser

    – How about Left/Right switching between Messages View and Folders View. This would allow for easier message navigation.



    – Hold OK to quit. What a great idea! (Forget ‘your ideals’, how about OURS 🙂

    – Fix onscreen keyboard!  It becomes persistent once you use it, making us all avoid it like the plague.  I wouldn’t have to open the keyboard just to punch one alphanumeric.

    – A thumb-board sized keyboard. Users could choose which one they prefer. These keyboard updates would be useful if I move from the K-Jam to a slimmer version like the JAMin.

    – So on the TyTN we now have 2 softkeys (Calendar and Contacts), PIE, Messages, Start, OK, CALL (Phone app), END (Back to Today Screen). The last one may not be true but it’s perfectly suited to the job – how about it?


    – ARRRHHH: Why can’t I get to the ‘Task Manager’ easily!!!!!! Ties into the ‘Moving between open apps is too difficult’ and also the how do I actually Exit an application.

    – I have mapped the 2 top buttons to Start and OK and it makes such a difference.

    – The TyTN finally has dedicated buttons plus the PIE and Messages buttons. Can’t wait!!!

    – Yes I want the Smartphone ease of use with the power of the touch screen. When MS finally combines them WM will rock!

    – I want a 320*320 screen which gives you the best of the current Portrait/Landscape phones and leaves more space for browsing Internet/Messages. Also means you get normal screen plus the on screen keyboard. I think my real issue here is that it’s too difficult to browse the Internet on the small screen but I don’t want to carry arount the big PDA type system like the Exec/JASJAR.

    – I like the Treo layout but the antenna and the thickness were a BIG put-off. Maybe the 750v sorts this. More real-estate would be the next move (320*320 – Yes like the Palm version).

    – Oh and how about actually telling you about missed calls on the Today Screen like the New Messages.

    – And if the phone wakes up due to a notification popup, don’t make the touch screen accessible until I’ve pressed a softkey to unlock it. It’s amazing how many times this ends up opening applications.

    – I don’t mind using my thumb on the screen, this should be included in the One-Handed category.

    – Numbered options would make better use of hardware keyboard/keypad.

    – All buttons should be configurable and allow for Press And Hold options as well.

    Matthew says:

    – "My Nokia 3650 has an app key, that is about the same as your Windows key. When I push it, I get the list of apps to start. However, if I hold it for a second, I get a popup list of running programs in the order I’ve last used them" – OH YES – That’s the fix!!

    – "You’ve got processors with more power than my first computer (a 486), yet it is almost always slower to respond than the version of Windows that was current when I had that computer." – Very true, why is that the case??

    – Gestures!!!

    Thanks all – for now!

  60. Paul de Wit says:

    I am using MDA vario. Dialing using the touchpad is not the biggest issue when the buttons are a bit larger and it response is adjustable to finger navigation. When using your finger instead of a stylus (which can probably be detected, because the touched surface is bigger), it should react a bit different. Besides having the buttons more visible states (down and click) which is anyway a good thing to have, I would suggest that hand operation does not trigger on the on_key_ up event but after a short adjustable timeout when pressing the button (key_down). This way, the finger is allowed to ‘rest’ a bit on the surface. The delay should be adjustable to match the users personal response times.

    Switching between applications is a whole lot different. I installed a tool that gave me the cold-switch back; very usefull for a quick switch. Related to that is my biggest problem with one hand operation; closing programs. This is implemented inconsistent (sometimes the close button is in bottom, sometimes on top) and it should be possible to use hardware buttons for it. Now, they actualy don’t close. That can be handy, but also very anoying. Make a button close an app when pressed for a longer time. (again fot this I use another seperate tool).

  61. MikeCal says:

    Thanks for all the great feedback, folks.

    We have a mechanism here where internal people can enter feature requests for the next release.  I consolidated the feedback, ignored the stuff we’ve already fixed, and entered a bunch of new items.  I even wrote a little app to usability test one of the neater/crazier ideas.  (-:  

    The various feature teams will look over these feature requests, weigh them against their other work items, and decide which ones to do.  I’ve got to caution you that writing and testing software takes a long time, and sometimes good features get postponed a release.  But we’re taking your feedback and at least thinking about it.

    I’ll keep reading here in case more good suggestions come in.


  62. Ahmed Patel says:


    Firstly, thanks for the thread and for taking our suggestions to the WM teams. When you say next release what do you mean? Are we looking at a possible AKU or WM6? WM6 would be a bit harsh 🙁


  63. MikeCal says:

    Ahmed, all I can promise is that the right people from the right feature teams will see this feedback, consider it, and decide whether or not they will implement new features based on it.  Every team has more feature work ahead of them than they can possibly do, so any feature they do is at the expense of another feature they also want to do.  Picking which to do and which not to do is … hard.

    Some of the features requested here have already been implemented (but I can’t tell you which.  This isn’t the place for us to announce upcoming features).  It’s concievable that some feature would be deemed so critical that we’d do it in an AKU.  It’s also concievable that some feature would be considered important enough to do, but that there would be so many more important things to do that it doesn’t get done for multiple major releases.

    However harsh, this is the reality of software development for devices that have millions of users.  With millions of users come millions of opinions on which the most important features are.  The best we can do is decide which features will help people the most and implement them first.


  64. I have a HTC (Qtek 9100), and I think the one-hand-navigation featueres are excellent. I rarely use the stylus, and it’s much easier to make calls, log-on to networks, send SMS’s and so on, than before with WM2003. WM 5.0 really makes it easier.

  65. Ahmed Patel says:

    Mike, I understand (I’m a developer too) just got a bit carried away. I just hope WM6 will be wht we all want (i.e. the people who’ve replied here – not all users!!).

    One more thing to add:

    – When sliding open the keyboard on the K-Jam, the current field (say Name in New Contact) looses focus and you have to select DOWN and then UP to highlight the text again. More of an unintended side effect than a bug but if the experience could be fixed….


  66. Andrew McCartney says:

    For me, the biggest gripe is trying to send a text (SMS) message one handed, as one can do using a normal phone, using Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition. Arguably, it’s called Phone Edition for a reason, and supporting devices are designed to be used as phones as well.

    Using one hand:

    1. Press Start button.

    2. Press down, select messaging.

    3. Press New button.

    4. Start typing name of recepient.

    5. Press down and Enter to select recepient.

    At this point, the notion of using a phone device like a phone, one handed, descends into farce. There doesn’t appear to be a way to use a button to move into the body of the message, so you can start typing.

    6. TAKE STYLUS OUT to press into the body area of the message.

    7. Put stylus back.

    8. Start typing message.

    At step 6, why I can’t I press DOWN to switch from the TO: field into the message field? WHy does the down button SCROLL the screen to the bottom on a page that has nothing in it? Where is the value or logic in this?

    Try tab. Try enter. Nope.

    Sometimes, I wonder if you guys bother testing your apps before releasing them.

    This, along with the other obvious ‘bugs’ (ie. with selecting email folders etc.) described above, have pushed me into getting a quote for a Symbian powered M600. Goodness, I’ve even consider going back to the Palm OS Treo 650. Both these OS’s may be inferior, but at least some thinking has gone into context sensitive navigation with the arrow buttons and switching fields in applications – which is vital for one handed navigation on a phone/PDA device. It’s called smartphone for a reason – though, evidently given the naming convention for the OS, Microsoft perhaps isn’t sure what is defined as a Smartphone (yes, your OS naming scheme, even by your own admission (see the Outlook Mobile team blog) is confusing).

    Of course, I must apologise if there is a way to switch fields in Messaging – though no one I have asked online/offline knows – so I’d be delighted to hear a correction.

    Thanks in advance

  67. Alfredo Padilla says:

    Make better use of your hardware, have long presses on keys do things like:

    start a task manager

    close an app instead of minimizing it

    Open new menus (secondary soft key menus)


  68. MikeCal says:

    Andrew, I’m confused by your post.  I just tried 5 different Windows Mobile 5 PocketPC devices (different minor versions) and in every one of them, down arrow from the "To" field in "Text Messaging" goes to the body of the message.  Can you tell me which device you’re using that doesn’t let you do this?  Also, are you doing SMS ("Text Messaging") or MMS?  The SMS client was written by us, but the MMS client wasn’t.  I wasn’t able to try the MMS one, so am not sure if it acts differently than the standard one.


  69. Andrew McCartney says:

    Mike, thanks for your quick reply.

    The device is a UK Orange M5000 aka HTC Universal.

    I assure you, pressing the down arrow does NOT switch fields to the body. It scrolls to the bottom of the page. I am so frustrated by this – yet I am (paradoxically) glad that this may be a unique issue with this particular hardware and is not a massive oversight on your behalf. Nonetheless, very frustrating. Anyway, just in case you have a Universal at hand …


    In ‘PDA’ mode (ie. screen swivelled around to cover the keyboard):

    Note: this is moot, as one handed operation on this device is virtually impossible in ‘PDA’ mode, but for your troubleshooting purpose …

    1. Stylus out and click on Start

    2. For amusement’s sakes, put stylus back in and press down on the directional pad and select Messaging (note: the icon for Messaging is Orange’s icon of an envelope over a sheet of paper; I don’t know if this is the icon you use, so whether this suggests the problem is with Orange’s tweaking of the UI, I don’t know)

    3. Messaging app loads at the Inbox folder for Text Messages (SMS)

    4. There are no buttons on this device to to select ‘New’ or ‘Menu’ in PDA mode (left or right on the directional pad switches between folders in Messaging; up and down scroll the page) so for further amusement, take out the stylus again and press New

    Note: You can use your thumb instead of the stylus, but I don’t know if your definition of ‘one handed’ usage refers to one handed operation just using hardware buttons, or if it includes touching software buttons on the screen with your bare fingers. My definition of ‘one handed’ usage is hardware buttons, as otherwise why include a stylus and exclude a screen protector.

    5. New SMS message opens, cursor in To: field. Press Keyboard icon and type out letters, put stylus back, select the suggested name by pressing down arrow and then the centre button on the directional pad.

    6. Press down on the directional pad. Page scrolls to the bottom; does NOT switch fields (if you don’t have an HTC at hand and are wondering, pressing left/right moves left or right in To: field, Up and centre button have no effect).


    In ‘laptop mode’ (screen swivelled so it is directly above the QWERTY keyboard):

    Note: this is technically two handed operation if you are using both thumbs to type faster, but as per my definition above, we are still talking about using hardware buttons to operate the device so the issue remains

    1. Press the Start hardware button, use down arrow button to select Messaging, and press Enter button to launch

    2. Press the left ‘-‘ hardware button to select New

    3. New SMS message opens, cursor in To: field. Type out characters, press down arrow button and select a name by pressing Enter.

    4.  Press down arrow button. Page scrolls to the bottom; does NOT switch fields (pressing left/right arrow buttons moves left or right in To: field, Up and centre button have no effect; pressing letters keys starts appending characters following the ‘;’ of the first recepient, ie. it assumes you are adding a recepient).

    May be this is an HTC implementation problem.  May be it’s a Orange problem. May be it’s a Microsoft problem. I just don’t know.

    What I do know for certain is that it’s now MY problem. An $899.95 problem.


  70. MikeCal says:

    Thanks for the details, Andrew.  I found a Universal and followed your steps exactly in both landscape and portrait modes.  In both cases, at step 4, the down arrow jumps to the body.  It doesn’t scroll the screen.  I tried using the DPAD next to the screen, the arrow keys on the hardware keyboard, and the arrow keys on the software keyboard.  All three worked correctly.  

    The only difference I see between what you have and what I have is that my image is the generic Windows Mobile one, where your image is modified for Orange.  I don’t have easy access to an Orange image here to test.  Have you asked them about this?  It’s possible they know about it and have a fix available.


  71. Andrew McCartney says:

    Again, thanks for your quick response.

    Come to think of it, I know a distant colleague who is using an Orange M5000 so I will contact him to see if he has this issue: ie. whether it’s the Orange wrap around the phone, or whether this is an isolated issue with the particular setup on my phone (though, I only have a couple of external apps e.g. Skype installed and I can’t imagine how they would affect the down arrow function within Outlook Messaging, but you never know!).

    We have a business account with Orange so I could get expediated support on this issue – but given my past experience with Orange I am willing to bet they will not have a clue as to what I am talking about.

    Nonetheless, I will try both routes and post an update later.

    PS. I realise that you don’t have a lot of say on how the carriers/operators customise the phone, but I wonder if you have guidelines for them to follow so as not to break features. I would link to the MSDN blog post that maps out Microsoft’s relations with OEMs and operators, but I can’t find it! On that note, it would be really useful if the Community > Blogs and Wikis page had links to ALL Microsoft Windows Mobile related blogs, including Outlook Mobile, Explorer Mobile etc.

  72. Andrew McCartney says:

    Sorry for the extra post, but re. the last point so as not to cause any confusion, I meant the Community page here:


  73. Andrew McCartney says:


    Orange Business services are not aware of this issue and suggested that it’s a feature lacking in the software 🙂

    My colleague has the same problem.

    Having used a Palm for over 8 years and Symbian for about 1, the Windows Mobile is a world of total and utter chaos.

    It may be more advanced in its feature set, but it appears to me that there is no stipulation regarding consistency in the core UI.

    With Palm, you can pick up ANY device (and a couple of years ago, from different manufacturers) and the navigational experience was exactly the same. There was no learning curve for just operating the basics of different devices. The d-pads in the latter models switched and focused between fields, and options, in the same way.

    Even in your own post about input tips, you acknowledge that the tips would only work on some devices, and not others.

    Yes, OEMs need to innovate and have their own logic for changing buttons layouts etc. to devise USPs in a crowded market – but why have such a chaotic universe of input possibilities?

    Who controls the UI and input options? No one it seems because there doesn’t seem to be a unified vision for the Windows Mobile experience. If you want a slogan for the Windows Mobile 5.0 experience, I would suggest:

    "Different every time."

    Why is that on the desktop WindowsI can switch different PCs and laptops and still know what I’m doing within Windows XP? It’s a consistent experience. Granted, most computing keyboards are all the same and there is a consistent UI to interact with. Yet, obviously manufacturers find other ways to differentiate their offerings WITHOUT breaking the Windows XP experience.

    Why does the Windows Mobile team allow OEMs to break the Windows Mobile experience? What is the vision behind this? What is the value for the end-user? Sure, you get the money from the OEMs (and possibly the carriers), in which case you don’t worry about the end-user experience. In which case, I am wasting my time writing this out.

    I think it would be better to separate CORE INPUTS AND UI from OEM ADD-ONS. Stipulate, NOT recommend, that OEMs have standard core buttons, which are present and do exactly the same thing on every device. And make sure the UI responds consistently to these omnipresent buttons. Call this the ‘soul’ of the Windows Mobile experience.

    The OEMs still can innovate by adding their own buttons and UI tweaks to create their own branded/differentiated Windows Mobile 5.0 experience.  Call this the ‘personality’ of the Windows Mobile experience.

    At the moment, Windows Mobile devices seem to have a lot of personality, but no soul.

    With that, I am off to Symbian. Good luck in your endeavours and see you at Windows Mobile 7.0.

  74. MikeCal says:

    Andrew, I’m sorry that we didn’t meet your needs.  In the end, you can be a device where you have OEM, MO, and ISV partners who you let make their own customizations or you can be a single source device where you do it all yourself.  For better or worse, we chose to go with partners.  

    I hope whatever you use in the future does what you need it to.


  75. MikeCal says:

    Andrew, we downloaded the latest build from Orange to a Universal and it doesn’t have the issue you’re describing either.  If you’re still listening, can you post your build number (listed in Start->Settings->About) and where you got the device and image?  If you’d like to take this offline, use the "contact us" link to send me a mail, and I’ll work with you to figure out what’s going on.


  76. The key to a better user experience with Pocket PCS is to change the input paradigm of Pocket PCs to make them more like the best features of performing tasks at your computer.

    Pocket PCs already have a lot of processing capability, so to emulate the usability of a PC, Pocket PCs need:

    1. large keys for typing with your fingers directly on the touch screen of your Pocket PC.

    2. Ample room on the screen for reviewing and editing multiple lines of text.

    3. Holding and entering with one hand or holding with one hand and entering with the other hand.

    We have achieved this with the Phraze-It® soft keyboard for Pocket PC Windows Mobile® PDAs and phones.

    Typing with your fingers and thumbs on large keys would eliminate the use of an awkward stylus for writing on glass or hunting and pecking in tiny keys.

    We also discarded the QWERTY metaphor which is not useful when all fingers cannot rest on or hover above a full computer keyboard. Since QWERTY is not in any order that can be memorized it relies on muscle memory that is developed over time, but only applies when fingers rest on keys. Typing right on a Pocket PC with your fingers stylus free provides the benefits of being more productive. Using the Phraze-It® application, a Pocket PC becomes a mobile office as it becomes comfortable and efficient to type 250 word, multi-paragraph notes, reports and articles.  

    The Phraze-It® soft keyboard for Pocket PC Windows Mobile® devices offers large full size keys for very accurate, efficient and comfortable finger typing. We have enabled typing with your index finger(s) on full size keys. For people who prefer thumbing, our touch screen also provides that functionality. You can hold and enter with one hand by thumbing. Entering text is easy with one hand or two. Since the buttons are large, users can enter text easily while standing, riding a subway, sitting on a train, on a bench or in the middle seat of an airplane.  Typing with your fingers on large touch screen buttons of your Pocket PC, makes it completely unnecessary to buy or tote an add-on keyboard. We also provide users with comfortable text input that comes from having the choice to enter paragraphs of text by actually typing with index fingers rather than being forced to thumb or enter with a stylus.

    Uniquely, Phraze-It® offers both large finger typing and thumbing entry buttons and ample room on the screen to view and edit multiple lines of text. We have accomplished this by reducing the number of typing buttons, to leave a lot of space for reading the text that has been typed.

    Introduced in March of this year, Phraze-It® offers the functionality of a computer keyboard all on the Pocket PC. It is alphanumeric, includes punctuation, symbols and currencies. Our input method includes language support for English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew (with third party language software), Spanish and Swedish.

    We benefit from two issued patents and there are additional patents pending. The new paradigm for large finger typing buttons and ample screen space for viewing and editing text arises from the realization that a handheld can accommodate five buttons across the screen and provide large buttons for typing with your fingers or thumbing. Following this consideration are three interesting observations that make up part of our breakthrough design:  1. The alphabet has five vowels;  2. The first letter of the alphabet is a vowel; and  3. no vowel is followed by more than five consonants.

    As children we all learn that AEIOU are the vowels and that they appear in the alphabet in that order. This makes using them in the same order intuitive and predictable.  Furthermore, grouping the alphabet in accordance with the vowels creates a group of sequential consonants associated with each vowel. For instance the group for the A is B, C, D. The group for the E is F, G and H.  The bottom row of the PDA screen then contains the vowels A, E, I, O and U.

    When your index finger types any vowel twice that vowel is displayed in the screen space above. To type any consonant, type its preceding vowel first and that vowel’s consonant group will be displayed in the line above for easy proximate reach. Just type the desired consonant. So to type the letter I, just use your index finger or thumb to type it twice. To type the letter J, simply type the I and then the J. Users learn the Phraze-It® system in a couple of minutes, but we include an optional alphabet above our keyboard to show the vowels and the group of consonants that follow each respective vowel in the alphabet. Our website has a flash demo and tutorial to illustrate how easy it is to type using Phraze-It®.

    We have also added our own proprietary keystroke reduction technology to enable typing a vowel with only one keystroke instead of two. Depending on the keystroke reduction preferences and settings, a person who uses 19 keystrokes to type the word “rooster” on a cell phone, can do the same thing with as little as 9 keystrokes. Phraze-It® is Windows Mobile® certified for Pocket PCs and Pocket PC PDA phones.

  77. PMRC says:

    I would use instead of a 4 direction D-Pad you should force the oem to use a 8 Direction Pad and on the Dialout instead of starting on 1 it would start on number 5 and it would always return to 5 after a number was sellected !

  78. Kris says:

    This has been a long read, but good to know I am not going crazy over my Windows Mobile 5 PdaFone all myself!  I am into my second WM device, the first being the O2 XDA2, and this second one the Dopod 818 Pro (a  HTC Prophet, re-badged).  The only reason for me to switch was the wi-fi and landscape capability.

    Switching between landscape and portrait modes is useless as the stylus alignment is always out.  I don’t know if it’s if it’s my device that is faulty, or a limitation of the touch screens.  (Does anyone else have this problem?)

    One handed operation is thumb mode, but not just on hard keys; softkeys on the touch LCD is important too.  Here are my thoughts on one-handed mode…

    Selecting an application or a different application with the thumb is requirement number 1.

    Each app needs to have a Option page that allows "Close" to mean shutdown or minimise (I would choose to shutdown Excel, but minimise Media Player, while others may wish it differently), and "Close" should be available at all times.  (By the way in case there are some slow developers out there, this “Option” option is not meant to be accessed by the thumb, but with the stylus as it would be a rarely used setup-only function!)

    One handed use of the phone is the main requirement, of course.  I had downloaded and was using the E-TEN skins from the PaulA web site http://www.paulya.com/dialerskins.htm (please send a donation if you use it – it’s good), and it’s an improvement on the default phonepad.  

    But Dopod includes a nicer auto-search alpha-numeric feature on their dial pad, which brings up all matching “names” and numbers (ie. if I press 222, it shows all phone numbers that have 222 in any part of the number, and also Contacts with names having the letters abc in them – such as Cab) with a scroll function to select and ‘execute’ using the dpad.

    The Dopod also has T9 entry capability, which I use for SMSs and even new Contact creation (but not perfect as I still need to use the stylus sometimes).

    The future of WM?  It’s pretty basic.  Once developers get their minds around apps used with one hand, and apps that would be used sitting down with the stylus, things will improve.  

    Window Mobile has a lot of promise, but it’s not yet a device I’d recommend to a non-tech user (ie. Wife Approval Factor – just last week I tried to convince my wife to take over my Prophet while I splashed out on the latest HTC, but she couldn’t fathom it…  Most – if not all – WM5 users are male techheads, and no wonder!).  When I can recommend a WM device to a no-techie, only then can you say Windows Mobile is mainstream.  Use this dual 2-mode (one-hand vs stylus) concept of the design as part or all of your mission statement and we won’t have to wait till Mobile 7: Mobile 6 can be to mobiles, what Windows 3.1 was to the desktop!

  79. Kris says:

    I just realise that perhaps I didn’t make myself too clear.  The two modes aren’t one-handed and stylus modes.  They are thumb-mode and stylus-mode.


  80. Tim says:

    The easiest way to improve one hand navigation would be to put more things in the softkey menus and make sure phones have at least softkey hardware buttons, or users remap ones that don’t.

    The main problem with the folder navigation is that you can’t change depths via the menus. You can do this in Windows XP by going up to the menus.

  81. John says:

    One handed phone operation – you should bundle voice command with the OS. On current 6700s the more limited voice app that you need to tag contacts with is bundled, and that’s what I use, but its less flexable then the MS voice command. For versions of WM intended as phones this really should be a part of the standard bundle.

    Otherwise improve use of hardware keys and dpad – Smartskey for example makes wm almost bearable one handed, and I’ve seen but never used those ‘nested start menu’ addons… pretty much for me, if I can’t do it with one button press and/or a spoken command, the stylus is going to get used.

  82. George in Canada says:

    I am a recent convert from the Palm OS (Treo 650) to WM5 on a Treo 750v), so its close enough that I can compare my experience on both. For the Apps I mainly used, (Phone, Email, Contact/Calendar (Agendus)) the one-handedness of the Palm OS was great. I could speed through most of my actions without having to touch the stylus. WM has some work to do, although I am getting used to it. Some areas that need work which may have been mentioned here. To get my email when I am not using Push methods, I have to press the softkey for email, press the menu key and then Send/Receive. This is too many keystrokes. You have already mentioned the fact that I cannot go to one of the email folders.

    In Pictures & Videos, I cannot change the directory I am in without the stylus.

    Another issue I find with the Close function. Without using the stylus, I can either select one program to Stop or all but I cannot select one, Stop it and then go Back to select another.

  83. Rob says:

    How about when you go to Phone, you can automatically use the numbers without pressing shift before each one.  As long as you knew that was the behaviour, you could then dial using those buttons as easily as on a normal phone.


  84. Ossi says:

    I’ve been using HTC TyTN for some time and have to admit that one-hand usage of the device is not as good as with Nokia’s phones. It really could use some improvements.

    Back in the old days when modems were new phones had dials. Big round things that you rolled when you wanted to "dial" a number.

    PocketPCs also have dials. So… how about using the dial to enter phone numbers?


    – Ossi

  85. Matt says:

    Overall, I really dig the PPC-6700.  I do have some modification suggestions.  I’ve tried very intentionally to force myself to use this device without the stylus as much as possible to test the limits of it’s one-handed friendliness.

    Mike, I agree with your understanding of the issue.  These are a few features I hope for in the future, either by mod or by version upgrade…

    (again, speaking as a PPC-6700 user)

    1) I want to toggle b/t apps with the Nav button (almost like a joy stick).  Example… when I’m on the Today screen, it should be an option to [Press & Hold] the Nav/Select button that would bring up a view similar to when you press [ALT]+[TAB] on a Windows PC.  From there, I could Nav and select the program I want to go back to, without using the stylus and without clicking thru the Start menu. (On that note, closing an app should ACTUALLY close it.) 😉

    2) At the very least, the Nav/Select Button should be programmable like all the other buttons on the PPC.  Why it is not, I don’t know. (Perhaps I’m doing something wrong?)

    3) I can dial with one hand, but as an earlier comment suggested, the on-screen buttons could be larger in the phone app.  Also, why can’t we Nav over the phone’s keys like we can in other apps such as CommMngr ?

    4) A big improvement would be, as Mike mentioned, the ability to trigger the drop-down Folder list(s) without a stylus.  

    Basically, I think a user should be able to navigate and do any operation with or without a stylus and with or without touching the screen.  

    Users should be allowed the most possible use out of programmable buttons.

    Like a PC (should be), there should be nothing that I can do with a mouse that I can’t do with the keyboard and vice versa. Too much to ask? Perhaps…

    Best,  Matt

  86. Peter Bray says:

    I have been finding that the phone user interface on my new Mio A701 somewhat frustrating. I presume this is an implementation of a microsoft smartphone for PDA app. The Mio is also a satnav as well as PDA and phone/speakerphone so is often mounted to the windscreen when you definately do not want to fiddle with a stylus. Short of sharpening a fingernail to act as defacto stylus, the solution is to improve the software to offer a more elegant user interface.

    Particularly annoying is that in speed dial, I can have a unique number keyed to a soft button on the touch screen but then need to select call from a drop-down menu! Crazy! It should then present four more soft buttons one of which is CALL.

    Ideally, voice recognition control should be implemented so I at most touch one button then speak to it: "Telephone… please speed dial WIFE now!" or "Telephone… please speed dial TWO now!" or "Telephone… please dial the number 202 555 1111 now!". The old fashioned word telephone is rarely used in common conversation any more and the word now makes a convenient terminating tag.

    An incoming call or second call would automatically start voice recognition up and again present soft buttons – not tiny screen footer options (or are these supposed to be keyed to softkeys as well? they are not on my device!).

    The Mio does not toggle readily between its MIOMAP standard app and other PDA programs or even bundled central apps like the phone. It wants you to exit the map app entirely – bloody frustrating on a long trip! Did you not provide the hooks to make seemless transitions effortless?

    Hope the feedback somehow translates to a phone software upgrade for my device. The user interface is crippling beautiful hardware.

  87. bren says:

    For me, one handed is not as important as no stylus.

    Sometimes the target areas are too small to touch accurately with a finger tip.

    I use the Cingular 8125 (the HTC Wizard?) and it’s 2.8 inch screen may be big enough to revise the interface so that it can be operated with two hands without a stylus.

    I think the form factor of the iPhone is better for operating with two hands without a stylus. I’m not sure if I would prefer more hard buttons than the iPhone has. I guess one handed operation is much easier with hard buttons than touchscreen soft buttons.

    The status lights and speakers in the 8125 are nearly useless. If there were more screen area with a larger screen like the 3.5" screen of the iphone then the touchscreen keyboard could be bigger, like the iPhone, and the hard keyboard on the 8125 could be eliminated. That would be fine with me because I rarely use the physical keyboard.

    Thinner, lighter, and bigger screen would all be improvements.

    A bigger screen is better for video as well as having more area for touch targets.

    The wheel on the Cingular 8525 would be as functional as the flick motion Apple has patented on the iPhone.

    Apple is not going to allow third party software to be installed, only Apple approved software.

    If someone would develop a PocketPC with a 3.5 inch WVGA screen, and the standard hard buttons, combined with a revised Windows OS that can be operated without a stylus, then the iPhone will not dominate.

    For existing Pocket PCs with the 2.5 in screen, a non stylus GUI should be developed. I’ve seen third party software like EasyNotes that can be operated with a finger tip. I think the OS should be able to do that as well.

  88. Kenneth Fong says:

    Well, this is a bit late, but look at the iPhone that just came out.

    That’s a good chunk of the answer key to your exam question right there.

  89. MikeCal says:

    Actually, the feedback on this thread points pretty clearly to one of the iPhone’s biggest challenges.  Despite the large on screen buttons, it’s going to be extremely hard to one hand navigate that device.  I’m sure that it’s going to do as good a job as possible without hardware buttons, but I’m also sure that devices with hardware buttons will handle one hand navigation better than it does.


  90. Smart Girl says:


    re: Let’s Talk About One Hand Navigation

    Monday, August 28, 2006 7:31 PM by Solnyshok

    the friendliest one handed device I have seen so far was Palm Treo Palm OS based. If you step back to think about how it does that- it is has very little to do with OS or qwerty, but rather with very efficient use of dpad and ESC and "TAB" buttons. I think I would ask for 3 things to make future wm6 devices friendlier –

    1. esc button – go back from control or from app to root menu

    2. focus tab button- cycle focus between upper bar (d-pad should work there as well)- to application main window – and to menu bar in the lowest part of screen.

    3.software input API: giving user possibility to navigate to any element in application window by using d-pad and drill into submenus / lists / buttons by pushing central button/joystick.


    I second this statement.  I am neither a Palm or WM fan.  I’m a quick study, jumping into this fray after buying a used PDA running WM2003 (the device I desire STILL has not been made so I just jumped in cheap to learn).  Thanks to Google and everyone’s willingness to share their problems, I could quickly research all the PDA/OS mistakes  and then rapidly testing  a boatload of trial software.   Needless to say, I am now forward to the one-handed, 5-way issue in my own usability.

  91. Nicholas Engelking says:

    When I moved to a WM2005 device from a WM 2003SE device the biggest "feature" for me was the one handed navigation. I often use my device on the subway or while holding a bag or generally in situations where I only have one hand free. Having an ok button was the bee’s knees. My device has the goto option in outlook so I can navigate folders, (also I can switch accounts with the dpad) but something that bugs me to no end is that I have to touch the screen to get the "back" functionality in the Windows Media Player library. It’s a pretty big juciy button but it’s a pain to push if you hold your device with your left hand (like me). just sticking it in the meue on the right soft key would make a world of difference.

  92. Robert Grant says:

    The question I always ask when I use WM5/6 is: why do the buttons not use as much available real estate as possible? So often there are acres of empty space (e.g. in the dialling screen) which could be being used to make the buttons easier to hit.

    Unless information is being displayed, you pretty much always want the buttons filling the entire screen. I know that the Windows look and feel will win many corporate nonthinkers, but it’s actually a pretty crap UI for a touchscreen phone. You want: big buttons, big fonts, not tiny buttons, tiny fonts.

    This is not really relevant, but sort of is 🙂

  93. Kunal Pole says:

    A very common complaint against WM5 or even WM6 by ex-Treo users is phone number highlighting in Calendar invite. It is typical of corporate folks to get Outlook invites having bridge number & pin entered in the subject line.  It is impossible to dial this number in WM, unless the user go to edit > selects the number and copy-paste it in phone application. In Treo all phone numbers are automatically highlighted, and dialed by single click.

    Ideally along with auto-highlighted phone numbers, it will be good to have auto connection script (dial the number, and enter the pin in one sequence).

  94. MikeCal says:

    Kunal, Windows Mobile comes in two flavors.  In the past it was "Smartphone" and "PocketPC."  Now it’s "Standard" and "Professional."  One of the reasons the new names sometimes don’t make sense is that Smartphones make better phones than PocketPCs do (but they’re "Standard" not "Professional").  And this is one of the places where standard is better.  Smartphone has always had the ability to have a phone number in the subject or body of a calendar appointment and just select it to dial.  PocketPC does not.  (I thought we were going to add the ability in WM6, but I just found a PPC to try it on and it appears that we didn’t.)


  95. Kunal Pole says:

    Thanks Mike

    I was also hoping the feature will be included in WM6, almost all of our corporate folks get frustrated over this. Single click dial to bridge number along with pin will be a boon.

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