Monday, December 15, 2014

What if game controllers were designed like smartphones

Sometimes, we find products that are carefully designed with human body limitations in mind. And sometimes products go to market with utter disregard to how and where people use them.

I started wondering how would it look if, for example, a game controller would be designed without actually thinking how our hands interact with it. Here is an existing smartphone, next to a made-up game controller:

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Obviously, that wouldn't really work out for any gamer, since your thumbs would be functioning on their movement range limits most of the time. It would be painful in two ways: one, your hands would be killing you even after a short session. Two, in an online game, everyone else would too. As a gamer, I'm glad we don't have such controllers, but sadly we have phones that are painful to use with one hand. And that's killing me.

Naturally, I'll just go ahead and flip that around. Here you can see the same focus to ergonomics that's applied to existing game controllers, going into a smartphone interface design. To most of you, it looks familiar:

Click to enlarge
Just like that, we can play games and use smartphones as much as we like without collateral thumb damage. And trust me when I say this, we clock in some impressive amounts per day on both. Something that smartphone interface designers in the past didn't take into consideration.

Or chose to ignore.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post. In the meantime, agree or disagree, debate or shout. Bring it on and spread the word.

4 comments:

  1. Ok, you are my personal Batman, when you are not here (posting on this blog),
    I hope is because you are working. :)

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    1. Thank you for making my day. I'll do my best to fill those boots you've just bestowed me :)

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  2. The controller looks awfully a lot like the dreamcast controller. Check this picture http://media.engadget.com/img/product/23/i02/dreamcast-controller-1vcm-800.jpg

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    1. I was waiting for someone to bring up DC controller :) There is a resemblance for sure. Although you can easily use it as all buttons are close to where your thumbs rest naturally (depending of your hand size)..

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