Light is the next step: providing an enhanced and more intuitive user experience

We’ve all had cause to use our mobile phone as a flashlight, perhaps when tiptoeing in an unlit bedroom or when trying to find misplaced car keys behind the front seat of our car. Writing a text message in a dimly lit restaurant might also be challenging without the help of an illuminated keypad.

Besides the usability factor in handheld devices, light has become a more and more important decorative element. Furthermore, the latest light-related innovations elevate the user experience to a whole new level.

More than just good looks

As a purely visual element, light can be used to create figures or patterns on the cover of the handheld device and highlight its shapes.

“In contrast to other decorative elements, light has a high attention value. It catches the eye more effectively than anything else,” says Joni Hietala, LITEONMOBILE's Product Manager for Optical Solutions.

This is why light is used to accent certain functions, such as a blinking light to indicate text messages received or calls missed. Light is also an excellent means of guiding the user and thus heightening the intelligence level of the interface. By indicating the battery charge level on a colour scale, the user is alerted to the available power remaining without the need to open or otherwise operate the device.

A glowing red light around the charger plug provides the user with an even clearer signal - battery power is low, charge me!

“In contrast to other decorative elements, light has a high attention value. It catches the eye more effectively than anything else,” says Joni Hietala, LITEONMOBILE's Product Manager for Optical Solutions.

This is why light is used to accent certain functions, such as a blinking light to indicate text messages received or calls missed. Light is also an excellent means of guiding the user and thus heightening the intelligence level of the interface. By indicating the battery charge level on a colour scale, the user is alerted to the available power remaining without the need to open or otherwise operate the device. A glowing red light around the charger plug provides the user with an even clearer signal - battery power is low, charge me!

“The idea behind these innovations is to make the user experience more intuitive and implicit. We like to call this the enhanced user experience, – it's possible to find certain features by browsing the user manual, but wouldn't it be great it you didn't need to?” anticipates Joni Hietala.

So, what is the user interface?

One of the most interesting new applications finding its way into handheld products later this year is on-cover-illumination. The idea is to use the device cover as an integral part of the user interface.

“The train of thought here is effect – touch – action! If, for instance, the user receives a text message, an envelope symbol created with a light effect appears on the back cover of the phone. By touching the symbol on this interactive cover, the user can open the right software,” explains Joni Hietala.

Not only is the light effect visible through the plastic cover, it can also be seen through a metal cover by means of holes too small for the human eye to detect. This new technology opens up totally new opportunities for mobile phones.

“Human imagination is the only limiting factor here – the user interface concept is evolving as the whole device becomes a single entity. Taking this further is a big but very interesting challenge!”

Embedded design

With a wealth of experience in the industry, coupled with a thorough understanding of market needs and a broad service and technology offering, LITEONMOBILE is well prepared to provide technological solutions based on smart integration of visual mechanics, optics end electronics.'

“Our core expertise lies in making the device look and feel good, while providing a high level of usability. The customer can concentrate on what effects are wanted - it is our job to find the best possible technology for implementation, says Joni Hietala.