Copying & pasting on Nokia N90 11:48 on Sunday

Mobile ergonomics are unique: a mobile phone is mostly used with one hand and should be designed for such use. Copy & paste on the N90 is a case in point. While useful, the copy & paste functionality takes two hands (or extreme dexterity) to operate. More importantly, the usefulness depends on familiarity with computer UI concepts.

The copy & paste feature also adds one more key, which is almost dedicated to this somewhat awkward, rarely used feature. One more key to wonder at, one more key to accidentally hit on the flat keyboard, one more non-obvious key adding to the complexity of the device.

When you’re multitasking, copy & paste is an effective way to move data from task to task, from program to program. On a phone I would rather prefer copy & do something. You could think some existing features on the N90 work like that already:

  • There is a menu item to add a missed number to a contact, without the need of copying it from the missed numbers list and pasting it into the contact details.
  • When replying to SMS, you can choose to include the original text in the reply without need for copy pasting.

By default there aren’t so many places where to paste things, so this thinking could be pushed forward. Some ideas:

  • Send selected number as a text message.
  • Add selected number to a memo.
  • Create a new message from selected text (useful for sending selected bits of text from the browser, other text messages or memos).
  • Create reminder of selected text.

Third party applications could provide more “paste destinations” in a way technically reminiscient of adding services to a desktop operating system.

Comments are closed.