Is the stylus indicative of shoddy UI design?

I can’t stand styluses on mobile phones. I think you not only look stupid, you also feel very stupid using them.

Are there any MIR readers who actually *like* using handsets with a stylus?

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  • chewtoy

    I'm a long time palm user, so am very familiar with stylus use. While I have never had a phone with a stylus, I sometimes find myself wishing I had that option while using my G1. I often find I am following the wrong link due to my sausage fingers…

  • http://dabr.co.uk David Carrington

    As a WinMo fan, I do have an HTC BlueAngel (T-Mobile MDA III), with the slide out keyboard, and hate using it. Stylus text entry can be *much* faster. The biggest benefit for stylus text entry is that the on-screen keyboard can be much smaller – a reason why I hate many other big on-screen keyboards.

    With the G1 it does bug me now and then when I've clicked the wrong link on a page – since using your finger or thumb is very difficult to be accurate. Here again, using a stylus with touch screen is much better.

    Perhaps it's just the vertical-sliding keyboard of the BlueAngel that I hated, as the G1's sideways keyboard is great for me :)

  • http://antoinerjwright.com ARJWright

    No, requiring a styli is not indicitive of bad UI. However, not optimizing an interface for stylus input is bad UI and leads to bad UX.

    The key with any UI is creating the least amount of friction towards doing something. If a mobile device takes on the tool of a stylus, then the goal for least friction is somethink akin to sticky note and pen. If the UI isn't designed with such lessened resistance, then those who enjoy a stylus-driven UI are really not given the most optimal experience.

    Personally, I don't care for any stylus driven UIs. I don't think that most mobile devices with smaller than a 4in screen need them ;)

  • Steve

    It may be slightly more “work” to use a stylus (i.e. taking it out, putting it back, making sure you don't lose it) and is obviously not as easy as dragging your smudgy finger around the screen.
    I use an HTC Diamond with a stylus.

    IMO the main benefits are two fold:
    1. No finger smudging (I know you can get pretty nice screen protectors for the iPhone, but not for other devices as far as i know).
    2. Greater accuracy and hence a denser screen design. I guess a denser screen may not always be a benefit, but as ARJWright mentioned, when designed correctly it can actually be easier to use. On the iPhone when sites are not designed specifically for the iPhone (i.e. big fonts, well spaced links, etc) I often fat-finger-click the wrong link, while on my Diamond that never happens.

    My personal preference though? Non-finger smudging iPhone please.

  • http://mostlymobile.tumblr.com mostlymobile

    I personally don't like using one to be able to navigate the UI. However it can be useful for quick diagrams/drawings in notes.

  • rsm451

    Yes, it feels more professional and it provides far better accuracy, like with entering client appointments. Particularly for people with fingernails or larger hands.

  • rsm451

    Yes, it feels more professional and it provides far better accuracy, like with entering client appointments. Particularly for people with fingernails or larger hands.

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