matt partridge



iPod Spoken Menu Shortcuts

interaction sketch


Project Objective:
Significantly improve upon search times and user experience of a well established interface.

list menu navigation is plagued by slower search times as lists grow longer.
iPod employs a system of list menus in conjunction of the trademark scroll wheel as its means of navigation. The analogue input of the scroll wheel is a brilliant method of quickly traversing a list but nearly impossible to accurately scroll long distances in short time. To scroll a list containing 1000 items from 'a' to 'r' in less than 3 seconds will likely result in the user grossly over or undershooting the desired destination letter.
As music libraries and player capacities continually grow; the ability to fast search those libraries will become key in successful development of personal audio players.

As a model for iPod; its parent program iTunes is the fastest and easiest tool for searching list items by way of typing in the search field box of the application window. A long list, one containing an entire music library, will be dramatically shortened as each letter of a desired song is entered in the search field.
In the linked video sketch, the user supplements their iPod with a notebook containing their entire music library in iTunes. A third party operates the notebook at the user's whim; this is the ideal iPod. At any time the user can change songs without lifting a finger and most importantly find a song faster than possible in any other manner just by mentioning its' name.
The final segment of the sketch assumes the third party can no longer understand subtleties of conversation. The iPod user address the operator by calling his name, "Chris", on an iPod this could simply be pressing and holding a button, than spells out the name of the desired song letter by letter. The user is seeking for a song called Star Guitar in a list of 1300 songs: "Chris..."S" "T" "A" "R". Upon the entry of four characters, the list was cut from 1300 songs to a mere 25; Star Guitar is clearly visible on the screen.

Create a Fast search in iPod by incrementally shortlisting options as a user vocalizes the spelling of desired song or artist names; just as they would use the iTunes search field box by typing.

Users will record their voice dictating each character of the alphabet and numbers 0-9. The recorded dictations will be used as the search entry criteria matched with the user's voice; active only when scrolling through list items.
Limiting the volume of required recordings is a mere twenty-six letters and numbers 0-9, alleviates the use from to record individual tags for a library of thousands of possible items.

Microphone Placement :

Since the iPod must be presented where the user can see the screen for any search to be effective, the best place for a microphone input is on the iPod and not through an external input. Microphone input needs to be effective when iPod is docked, jacked into a car stereo, or used with headphones and should account for different proximity's of use in each situation.


Similar Uses:
Voice command shortcuts are commonly used in cell phones. programing a cell phone to equate words with dialing a specific frequently dialed number such as "home" or "Kerri" enhances the user experience of dialing considerably.

© copyright 2005 matt partridge
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