Slate Tablet PCs will be back

With the advent of multi-touch capabilities, and the iPhone popularizing this capability, together with Windows 7 having multi-touch capabilities in-built to the operating system itself, I will expect slate tablets (i.e. no keyboards, just screen) to be back, better than before. For those who have forgotten, slate tablets died out long ago in preference for the convertible tablets (i.e. keyboard and screen).

To get into the market, it first has to be light enough, and a screen wide enough to be comfortable. Together with a “Slate Stand” for desktop usage, this will enhance multi-touch on the desktop itself. We now are seeing laptops so slim (1 inch thick) and so light (2 lbs) with screen sizes of 13.1” or larger, I predict that this will be the critical factors in bringing back the slate tablets.

If somehow, someone is able to integrate a “Slate Stand” as part of the tablet design, that will be awesome.

Imagine a “Slate Stand” being a supporting stand to tilt the tablet in a 20 to 40 degrees angle (adjustable of course) for easy touch screen experience. I’m thinking just a fold under the laptop which can increase and decrease the degree angle as the fold gets closer together. Imagine this: /\ :underneath your laptop, and flattening out: —— :when you don’t need it.

Together with full size keyboard which will “slide in and out” virtually on the screen with a flick of a button (or gesture, or on some text input) and each key is big enough for our fingers, I think we’ve got something pretty good going on here.

Re-engineering applications’ user interactions to make full use of multi-touch, and we have endless possibilities. Hey, that’s what WPF is for. *wink*

Let’s hope to see it out there soon!

Blaming the User

Is it better to have a user implicitly learning how an application work easily by discovery, rather than explicitly learning how an application works through training and books?

If something goes wrong with an application, is it really a "problem between the keyboard and the chair"? Or is it because the "User Experience" isn't sufficient or consistent to assist with implicit learning?

Sometimes people in the "Computer Industry" need to think more about the user and how to ease their pain, instead of blaming them and create more pain for them.

I'm always amazed when a user tells me "It just works! Amazing!" instead of "How do you do this?". That's "User Experience" for you.

Think about it.

This is my rant today.

WPF for Developers and Lead Designers Course

Rob Burke is teaching a WPF training course through Toronto-based consultancy ObjectSharp. The course is called “Windows Presentation Foundation for Developers and Lead Designers,” and, as the title suggests, it offers a hands-on experience designed to give developers and lead designers the knowledge, background, tips and references they’ll need to build smart client applications using the Windows Presentation Foundation.

After enjoying the process of training a team of developers and designers to use WPF, this course is the result of turning that material into a course that we could offer here.

The inaugural course offering is currently scheduled for August 13th-15th. If you’re interested in taking part, please find more information about the course on ObjectSharp’s site. Also, if August 13th is too long for you to wait, or you’re interested in an on-site course, please contact Julie James, ObjectSharp’s Training Manager.

More on Rob Burke.

UX Matters

Sometimes I feel like a characature of myself when I’m “evangelising” the importance of good user experience. It’s not the glitzy interfaces I’m talking about, it’s the functional ones that inspire me. Of course, functional user experience isn’t limited to the computer screen, and I’ve never seen an image that epitomised this better than the [...]