#PMChallenge - Why Need Three Buttons When One is Enough

  1. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 15, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 15, 2019 :
    Minimalism is a big trend for smartphones today, however, parts should not be removed for the the look, physical parts should be combined to achieve minimalism and space saving. For instance, why smartphones need three buttons when one is enough? Could smartphones be lighted or included wanted components by combing unnecessary parts. It is always a battle to decide what to include in the phone. Is the current design, that every manufactueres are using, the best? Can we combine parts to achieve more?

    Identify the user pain point
    Users want more components (for instance, 3.5 mm jack, future technology) be included in the phone, but manufactures removed parts in order to make phones lighter, fit new technology or simply follow the trend.

    Current phone control design is not the most efficient layout. The swiping on screen is not the best way to scroll page.

    Clarify the design goal

    Combine power/lock and volume buttons together at the right hand side of the phone. Add a feature to scroll page by turning the same button (mechanic turning or virtual turning). By combining the these three buttons, it free up extra space for other components or it simply make phones thinner. By adding a turning feature to scroll page, it is more convenience to browse with phone.

    Design thinking

    The early generation mobile phones have many buttons. It is the most straight forward design logic, one button for one program.

    Later on, touch screen phone replaced many buttons. The new technology, touch screen, was developed enough to create a new way of controling mobile phones.

    Today, most phones keep three buttons, but it is not necessary. Manufactures could combine all programs, volume, lock, power to one button. In addition to that, we should add scroll feature to the same button. It is possible with today'e technology, and it only enhance the using experience.

    Sketching our scheme


    Who are the users?
    Mobile phone users that use phone for more than 4 hours a day

    What is the proposed function?
    Combine all physical buttons to one button

    What is the user value?
    Enhance using experience, free up phone physical internal space

    If there are existing comparable functions in the smartphone industry, how is your proposed feature superior?
    There is a rumor of Samsung S10 would combine finger print reader to the power button, my idea is superior because it is more thought-out and has better design

    Attached Files:

    Ruby G. likes this.
  2. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 15, 2019

  3. GopalB.
    Nougat Feb 15, 2019

    GopalB. , Feb 15, 2019 :
    I have few queries...
    Don't to think pressing and scrolling "for volume" can get tedious over time???
    And isn't adding a wheel increasing the size of the button (from the inside)???

    B_Wrath likes this.
  4. B_Wrath
    Marshmallow Feb 15, 2019

    B_Wrath , Feb 15, 2019 :
    As a mechanical engineer, I cannot say you're design of more thought out. Your design causes more wear to the button and is prone to cease functioning than normal tap buttons.
    And i still don't understand how scrolling by touch is not the most efficient way. How can rotating a wheel by more efficient than a single swipe?

  5. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 15, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 15, 2019 :
    A wheel was used to illustrate the concept, but in reality, it could be a slider or a virtual button with touch sensor. However, the feeling of mechanic rotation is always better than touch sensing when comes to scrolling, in my opinion. Think of it like the middle button of a mouse vs a touch mouse.

    The rotation to scroll is a scrolling feature in addition to swiping. Imagine you are using your phone to browse for hours. Your hand and fingers are fatigued because of the way you have to stretch the thumb to swipe. With the rotation scrolling feature at the side, you don't have to stretch as much to scroll.


  6. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 15, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 15, 2019 :
    I used a wheel to illustrate the concept, but in reality, it would probably make sense to have a slider or a virtual button.

    I would say the mechanic rotation offers precise control, even a mini wheel would be better than slider and virtual button.


  7. GopalB.
    Nougat Feb 15, 2019

    GopalB. , Feb 15, 2019 :
    In that way, pressing and scrolling is way more difficult now!!!

  8. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 15, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 15, 2019 :
    It could be, but I think it could be optimized by machine enginner/product designer. Imagine it is a slider at the side of the phone, scrolling would be applying a light pressure and slide down along the edge with your thumb while holding the phone in your palm.


  9. GopalB.
    Nougat Feb 15, 2019

    GopalB. , Feb 15, 2019 :
    I'll prefer using my thumb to scroll via touch screen...
    Its way simpler IMO...

    Shapeshift3r and Bowenwu90 like this.
  10. LegolasX
    Jelly Bean Feb 15, 2019

    LegolasX , Feb 15, 2019 :
    nope.. big no..
    the buttons if made to do multiple tasks which a user does 100s of times a day is not a good move.
    what will happen to power button if it works as volume/power/scroll? how long will it last? pff
    and if it stops functioning whole damn phone is useless...

    and the use of sensors doesn't take space? what about their testing, implementation and then beta testing.. already vivo apex is launching with no buttons, maybe future will have those..

    currently i prefer my thumbs rather than buttons or old school wheel(if you don't know then search Sony Ericsson phones with scroll wheel).

    Papleshh likes this.
  11. LegolasX
    Jelly Bean Feb 15, 2019

    LegolasX , Feb 15, 2019 :
    vivo concept phone is for you, if you can manage to get one and use as daily driver..good luck.

    Bowenwu90 likes this.
  12. B_Wrath
    Marshmallow Feb 15, 2019

    B_Wrath , Feb 15, 2019 :
    So what will people who use left hand do? (or right hand, depending on where you place the button)

  13. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 16, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 16, 2019 :
    Ha, the left/right hand (TBD) will be free, would it be nice?

    If we have to keep both hands busy, lets say, the right hand is free up because of the design, users can take notes use phone with left hand only. If it shifts the way users control their smartphones, it opens up possibilities for new products that could possibility pair with smartphone.

    Now, this is something totally beyond the initial idea, but what if you browse on your phone with left hand only, now you write with a Bluetooth pen on any surface using your right hand, the drawings/notes show up on your smart phone immediately. Once could question, why not write on the screen with your finger/pen (Samsung note ?), that is because writing on such a small surface is so uncomfortable, the pen had no meaning when it can only write on screen.

  14. Bowenwu90
    Cupcake Feb 16, 2019

    Bowenwu90 , Feb 16, 2019 :
    Haha, I did not know Sony made a phone like that, thank you for sharing. I think technology today could turn the idea into a better version of Sony's implementation.

  15. Papleshh
    Eclair Feb 17, 2019

    Papleshh , Feb 17, 2019 :