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PostPoints tip: Grade gadgets by one-handed usability

Considering which of two gadgets to get? Try going to a store, then picking up and using each one single-handed. If you can't get the device's basic functions to work with one appendage otherwise occupied--for extra credit, with your dominant hand busy--you're likely to find it tricky to use on the go. I've been advocating this rule for a long time, owing to the difficulties I've had trying to use various smartphones in airports and convention centers (longtime readers may recall me criticizing the usability of Windows Mobile phones for this reason), but my experience as a new parent has reminded me of its importance all over again. In particular, look for physical controls for the most common tasks--for instance, volume buttons on phones and MP3 players and mode-select dials on cameras--and be wary of interfaces that require selecting tightly-spaced buttons, links or menu items on a touchscreen.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 23, 2010; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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Comments

And if you have a hand paralyzed by a stroke (as I do), or otherwise compromised by injury, the ability to operate gadgets with one-hand becomes a necessity.

Anyone for an ADA compliance rating for electronic gadgets?

Posted by: rlguenther | August 23, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's easier to read a book one handed on the Nook than on paper.

Posted by: wiredog | August 23, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

This is a good suggestion. It seems we'd think about that but we don't, until after we have bought it and are trying to use it one-handed.

Posted by: Bob_Dobbs | August 23, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

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