Technical Stuff

Hi, hope someone could help please. I am a student and I am doing a project looking into the relationship between the physical appearance of products and users mental models and their learnt behaviour. This is because products are increasing in technology yet lacking in their interfaces as just their screens change but thats it. Mobile (celluar) phones and PDAs are two of things i am looking into so i need to find out how they work and what internal components they have. Then for space packaging i need to know the dimensions of the components like PDA LCD touch screens etc.
If anyone knows of any sites, documentation or anything like please let me know.

Hope for some replys

thanks :smiley:

I know where you’re going with this… Be careful.

Unless they’re an electrical engineer, users don’t create mental models based on the internal componentry (EE), they create them mostly from past use (convention) or invent models to best describe behavior. This is all software, rarely ME and never EE.

Concentrate on how to “borrow” models based on real-world convention rather than force fit a model based on the system. Metaphors are usually up to the task.

ie. Rather than “the user uploads her binary data to the EEPROM” make it: “the user files her document in the cabinet” or “the user charms the magic crystal with her preferences.”

There is a huge need to better leverage the affordances of the hardware however: When “flipping” through your address book for instance, why not literally flip your device? Or when locking the content, why not physically slide something over the screen? Etc. etc.

thanks for your reply. sorry i must have not of described my problem well. i am doing exactly what you say about mental models from the real world and not components. however what i need components dimensions for is so that when i am developing my device i am to know that it needs to fits the following bits in and therefore it needs to be this size, its purly for spacial reasons i need the info. Dont worry i am definetly not a software engineer, taht goes well over my head!!! :confused:

is this a study of UI? or are you trying to design a PDA? sounded like a school writing assignment. not a design project.

Call up one of those manufacturers and ask them. Explain you are a student (and why you need the info.) Most companies are very helpful to students, unless you are asking for proprietry information.

What is UI? User interface? If so I have to look into this but notgo too deep. Its not necessarily a PDA, a multi functional device which changes in physical appearance to aid the user in knowing how to use it, for example it could have the function of a digital camera and if you imagine a typical camera the shutter button is located either top left or right. Then the user isn’t searching for a button and they have an idea how to hold and use the device. It’s a final year project for my degree.

I’ve tried going via companies by email which they reply to and say ring this number but they are reluctant to release information as you can imagine.

Have a look at plasticbuddha ( ). they do mostly furniture but it all revolves around interaction and learnt behavior. Not sure if they are even still around as I have not seen much from them lately?

One of the best ways to find the dimensions you are looking for is to take apart an existing product. You can find control drawings for all sorts components on the web, but w/ out an EE to tell you what it all means, you are nowhere. With reference to what fits in an existing product and an idea of what your design needs to do/ be, you can extrapolate an appropriate size.

Keep in mind that it is great to have a basis from which to jump (or back yourself up), but don’t be afraid to push the limits. It is much better to be told that you went too far, rather than hear that you did not go far enough.