SimpleTouch Mobile OS and Applications

SimpleTouch was Motorola's first full-touch, gesture-based interface. The goal was to provide a UI that prioritized economy of movement for easy, one-hand use. Complexity was tamed and simplicity emphasized by focusing on essential use cases and avoiding hidden menus.

Platforms:

 

Design Challenges

  • Following the introduction of the iPhone, Motorola wanted to create their own custom, full-touch UI and make a big move into the smartphone world
  • Previously, consumers saw their mobile phone primarily as a way of making phone calls and sending text messages; in the smartphone age, people expected their phone to be a vehicle for feature-rich applications

Opportunities

  • iPhone broke ground in the realm of touchUI but left a lot to be desired in terms of features and functionality
  • Achieve greater harmony between hardware and software by creating a proprietary OS for Motorola devices

How I Made a Difference

UI Principles

Improved the mobile OS and app experience guided by heuristic evaluation, grading of competitor devices, and incorporating knowledge gained from human factors research

Economy of Movement

Collaborated with cross-functional stakeholders to create guiding principles focused on one-handed, thumb-focused interaction using small, efficient gestures and retaining only essential calls to action

Excerpt from Guiding Principles Document

Excerpt from Guiding Principles Document


Design POV

Documented functional and interaction specs for multimedia apps (Camera/Video, Gallery, Music Player), utility apps (Notepad, Calculator), and OS settings. Focus on progressive disclosure with essential information, content, and controls mapped to decision points instead of being shown all at once to reduce cognitive load

Excerpt of Functional and Interaction Specs for Camera App

Excerpt of Functional and Interaction Specs for Camera App


Interface as Cinema

Emphasis on motion as a clarifying element instead of text based instructions or definitions. Transitions give a sense of orientation as the user "transverses" the Z-axis as they move through a task

celebrate content

Content became the dominant focus of the UI. Where possible, the screen is not muddied with extraneous content or controls, so that content takes center stage

 
SimpleTouch OS released on Motorola Evoke QA4

SimpleTouch OS released on Motorola Evoke QA4

 
Video App - viewfinder

Video App - viewfinder

Photos / Videos App

Photos / Videos App

Calculator App

Calculator App

Video - post capture filmstrip

Video - post capture filmstrip

Music Player App

Music Player App

Notepad App

Notepad App


Outcomes

  • OS first released on Motorola Evoke QA4
  • Received positive industry buzz and reviews
At first glance, it looks like Motorola built the Evoke based on a list of features missing from the iPhone.
— PCWorld
The layout in-hand is frickin’ ideal, the material choices, finish, and style are just so well executed that we found ourselves fairly stunned when we first got out mitts on it.
— engadget
Surprised and impressed are two words that most certainly encapsulate our reaction. Pinned somewhere between a feature phone and a smartphone, the Evoke packs a Moto-customized Linux OS sitting beneath a solid build and a terrific design. The UI on the QA4 is essentially widget-based as many are these days but Moto’s interpretation is well thought out, well organized and responsive.
— BGR