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Blog coming back to life

Published by Martin Kleppmann on 12 Nov 2007.

Right, well I must admit that this blog had moved down quite a lot in my list of priorities. Then yesterday Robster wrote a very kind post which has resulted in this site getting more hits in 2 days than it had had in its entire lifetime before. Thank you very much, and I think the ball is back in my court now to write something vaguely worth reading!

Just a quick update of where we are now – things have moved forward a bit, and I’m having an exciting time with my company, Ept Computing. We initially set out to do general usability consultancy, and since then we have discovered that there is one particular area where usability is a particularly pressing issue – mobile phones.

Mobiles are pretty powerful computers these days, and increasingly powerful applications are being developed for them. 3G networks are becoming pretty commonplace (in the UK anyway), and the mobile internet is finally within reach of the mainstream. In some Asian countries, internet access from mobile devices already vastly exceeds fixed-line internet use.

But the user experience on mobiles is, in many cases, still terrifying. I still find installing an application on my phone a very puzzling process, despite having Bluetooth, E-mail, WiFi and you-name-it set up. Accessing websites is perfectly doable, both with Opera Mobile and Nokia’s WebKit browser, which render desktop sites remarkably well – but that doesn’t get past the fundamental problem: either the text is too small to read, or you have to scroll horizontally, or you use some form of adaptation such as Opera’s small screen rendering (which, frankly, was the first thing I switched off after installing the application). Nothing particularly satisfying. And that’s what we’re setting out to change.

Anyway, back to the topic of reviving this blog. I have decided to scrap the German version of this site entirely – too much effort to write everything twice, and most Germans speak pretty good English anyway – and will be putting a few touches to the design so that it doesn’t look quite so generic. Then tomorrow I hope to serve you the photos of train ticket machines which I promised so long ago. Yes, we’re back on air.