Pondering the thousand pound gorilla got me thinking about gorillas as well as an article i saw a couple months back about the evolution of mobile device users-focused on the evident changes of the use of the thumb in high school aged teenagers and how these changes in interaction with technology will potentially affect the way they interact with others in the workforce.
Mobile use is of much interest to me and i briefly wrote about wireless access of content in one of my posts. Just today in a client meeting we whipped out our mobile devices around the conference room table(1 Blackberry and 1 Treo with the full QWERTY keyboard and 1 Blackberry with SureType layout)and talked about the differences in keyboards and functionary and the bottom line is we are all attached to our devices.
I couldn't find the article, but I did however find this activity that helps students understand what sort of human activities would not be likely in the absence of an opposable thumb. These are mostly modern activities. Interesting- i need my thumbs- please don't remove them.
The opposable thumb, the digit that separates primates from the rest of the animal kingdom, occupies what some call a special place in the evolutionary history of humans. Its presence in our anatomy has been linked to our upright gait and our bigger brain capacity. The ability to grasp objects and eventually use these as tools was pivotal in the development of the human species.
Will the 'extra' use of the thumbs with mobile devices, video games and such; affect our ongoing evolution?
What about how we design our enterprise applications? There are many articles about mobile UI design and if you are interested let me know i will send you some.
According to a eMarketer report dated July 2005 about mobile content and applications used by US mobile Subscribers, there was a 6.6% increase (July over June) in retrieving news and information via a mobile browser. Growth in photo messaging, which was consistently the highest-performing category in 2005, was strongest at 10.7%. These are consumer services but obviously will affect and influence the enterprise workforce.
As a company, Factiva has done a fairly large amount of R&D work around mobile delivery of content and some of our products are already wireless enabled. We have also worked with our customers to provide advisory services engagements based on our best practices of delivering relevant filtered news and company information configured for small screen. We have even built a fair about of custom solutions that are solely mobile enabled.
With the young workers coming on board, it is more important then ever to look at access requirements with new technology, they will expect it and might fumble in their communications and learning in the first few months if they don't have it!