Mobileread
eBook Reader ergonomics discussion
#11  luqmaninbmore 05-21-2010, 01:27 PM
Quote Spiffy
Okay, I'll start with some of my own reactions.

I prefer one-handed reading. This is one of the few compelling reasons for buying a 5 inch reader instead of a 6 inch, although I currently have one of each (a 6 inch Sony PRS-505 and a 5 inch Astak EZ Reader Pocket Pro).

I'm right-handed, but my most natural reading position seems to be holding a reader with my left hand.

For balance reasons, it seems to me that most eBook readers make a big mistake putting their page turn buttons at the bottom. I've actually come to appreciate the relatively low-end Astak/Hanlin for one big reason--they smartly put the page turn buttons accessible to your left hand WHILE holding it with one hand. With your palm spread across the back of the unit (or the default leather cover folded back), your left thumb rests right across the page turn button. Simple. Elegant.

Haven't owned a touch screen unit yet (although I tried for that Sony Touch Edition Borders.com had a pricing mistake on), but I'm actually not all that sure I see the point of them. Seems to me that two-hands would be required most of the time for using them (one to hold the unit, one to "swipe"), unless someone has an absurdly long thumb.

But that's me. What do you all prefer? If it doesn't exist yet, say so.

I think that the Sony Touch-screen devices are extremely ergonomic because of the touch screen. You don't have to make a large swipe to make the page turn; a short one with the thumb will do. This makes it easy to hold the device one handed in such a way as to maximize its balance in your hand.

Luqman
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#12  aagstn 05-21-2010, 01:53 PM
I read on really small devices like Palm PDAs and an iPod Touch for years. I got used to reading on something I could hold in one hand that was very light. I want this same experience from a dedicated reader. I like this about the Jetbook Lite. It is very small and I can read for hours with it in my hand and the buttons for switching pages are very easy to reach. I prefer to use the bar on the side since it sits well in my hand this way.

One thing I didn't like about the iPod was having to swipe the screen to turn pages. I really hated this and page tapping. On my old Sony Clies I had a nice scroll wheel on the left side to switch pages and these were by far my favorite PDAs to read books on.
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#13  Teddman 05-21-2010, 02:23 PM
Quote JakesFriend
Recently I bought a book holder/stand and ordered the optional ebook adapter. Also, I made my bi-annual Reader upgrade and bought the PRS 900. Now the stand holds my book, and I just need to swipe a finger to change the page. It's perfect!
I wonder if anyone else has a book holder/stand, and if it works out for them?
Which stand do you use? I've often thought about getting one...

I think the perfect reader ergonomics would be to have a stand on a swivel arm that puts the screen right about eye level. Then I'd be able to turn pages with a hand held remote control so that I don't even have to move my arm to touch the reader itself.

Obviously the second part is a bit of a pipe dream at this point, but does anyone have a stand solution that's optimal? I'd settle for something that sits on top of your lap too.
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#14  Spiffy 05-21-2010, 02:46 PM
Quote Maggie Leung
I prop my e-reading devices and print books. Even if I held up my hands empty for hours, I'd get tired. I also like to keep my hands at ease. If there were a way to turn pages with a blink, I'd love that, lol.
Body position has to be a big factor.

Whether you are sitting or lying down (you might be doing either at various points in the day).

And if you are sitting... if its at a desk, in a reclining chair or couch of some type, or in some other place (on a stoop, a lawn chair, a bus or railway seat, etc. would be very common places, I think).

Lying down... well... some people lie on their backs, some on their sides, and some fluff up a pillow and lie on their stomachs. Sometimes on couches (so pretty naturally on their backs there, I'd think), and some only on a bed.

These all have to present different scenarios for eBook reader positioning.

Even still, even if the reader is propped on your stomach, or partially on a desk (presumably being angled up by your hand), or something totally different I still wonder at the whole "page turn buttons at the bottom" thing. I still don't get that.
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#15  GhostHawk 05-21-2010, 02:53 PM
I never understood why I would want to touch a screen that I would want to read on. Fingerprints and smudges are a fact of life, to me the less of such between my eyes and the words the happier I am.

I realize that for many who use touch screens like them. However I am a tinkerer, and tend to accumulate gunk on my hands. For others the probably work well, but for me I just don't see it. I much prefer a well designed and efficient button layout.
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#16  Maggie Leung 05-21-2010, 02:54 PM
Quote Spiffy
Body position has to be a big factor.

Whether you are sitting or lying down (you might be doing either at various points in the day).

And if you are sitting... if its at a desk, in a reclining chair or couch of some type, or in some other place (on a stoop, a lawn chair, a bus or railway seat, etc. would be very common places, I think).

Lying down... well... some people lie on their backs, some on their sides, and some fluff up a pillow and lie on their stomachs. Sometimes on couches (so pretty naturally on their backs there, I'd think), and some only on a bed.

These all have to present different scenarios for eBook reader positioning.

Even still, even if the reader is propped on your stomach, or partially on a desk (presumably being angled up by your hand), or something totally different I still wonder at the whole "page turn buttons at the bottom" thing. I still don't get that.
Definitely agree. Difficult for hardware makers to make "perfect" devices with so much variety in people's preferences and uses. Difficult for buyers to find a "perfect" device as well. Maybe that's just me, though. I find good features in various devices, but nothing with everything I want. So I go for closest fit and hope something better emerges. I appreciate that strides have been made, though.
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#17  delphidb96 05-21-2010, 05:05 PM
Quote Spiffy
Lets discuss things like button placement, weight balance, one-handed vs. two-handed, and other "how they feel" aspects here. You can cite specific existing models or your ideals.
Touch-screen! It must have a touch-screen (Fujitsu ST4120)! And it had better be a 12" display! Full-color!

Windows XP Tablet PC operating system! WinXP is the only OS that can be considered a 'real' ereader OS.

Heft! If it doesn't weigh at least 2 pounds it can't be taken seriously as an ereader. Just *try* to lift a Cybook Gen3 (sans cover) quickly with oily fingers - can't be done without lofting the Gen3 40 feet into the air on a 200-foot trajectory to the nearest cinder-block wall.

Short battery life/short charger cable. These newfangled long-battery-life models entice one to read just about anywhere - on the bus, in the dentist's chair, participating in violent protests against military juntas. All this freedom to read everywhere endangers readers! Each reader who dies because of failure to anticipate a violent reading environment is a LOST SALE to all future authors!

Nope. The very *BEST* ereader is an old-fashioned, boat-anchor CP/M system with a 40-pound, 12-inch green monochrome display!

Derek
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#18  JakesFriend 05-21-2010, 05:19 PM
Teddman,
I bought the Floor Stand model from Bookholder.com -- they have a table model (it clamps on to a horizontal surface), and the floor stand model. It does exactly what you asked for -- it holds the book at eye level (adjustable), and pivots and even tilts.
It's not cheap, but I'm liking it so far.

And you're idea for the remote control is great. Hope someone out there is listening!
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#19  Spiffy 05-21-2010, 06:09 PM
Quote Maggie Leung
Definitely agree. Difficult for hardware makers to make "perfect" devices with so much variety in people's preferences and uses. Difficult for buyers to find a "perfect" device as well. Maybe that's just me, though. I find good features in various devices, but nothing with everything I want. So I go for closest fit and hope something better emerges. I appreciate that strides have been made, though.
Yes, but certain things are probably universal.

Whether you are using your left or right hand, its more natural to hold a unit in the middle than from the bottom, presuming you are holding it. So buttons near the bottom are inherently lame in those cases. The only time I can think of when low-down buttons are superior is if your access to the unit is with it resting against something, like a stand, which is sitting on a desk or table. In that case, your hands are likely to be resting ON the desk or table and thus be lower.

Another one: too thin is annoying. Sure, its lighter, but its also correspondingly more awkward.
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#20  troymc 05-21-2010, 06:21 PM
Quote Spiffy
In truth I think adding the cover on the 505 makes the location of the buttons even MORE unwieldy. I mean unless someone is descended from baboons their thumb isn't THAT long, and if they are carrying the weight of the unit with their palm across the middle of the unit, then stretching your thumb DOWN isn't exactly comfortable, or natural. With the weight increase from a cover, it makes it even more essential to hold it from the middle, otherwise it would be flopping out of your hands half the time.
Oh, I completely disagree. I think the 505 with a cover is just about perfect ergonomically. If I hold it open with my left hand, like a paperback, my left thumb is right on the left-side page turn buttons. If I hold it with my right hand, my right thumb is right on the right-side page turn buttons. Even in landscape it's just about perfect in my left hand.

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Quote Spiffy
I wonder what a series of polls would reveal about people here? Do they hold their readers one-handed or use two? Left or right hand? Do they most often put the unit down to rest on something or hold it up elevated? How do they use booklights (attached to the rim or a cover, or some kind of specialized lamp shining down from overhead)?
I think that would be very interesting!


Quote GhostHawk
I never understood why I would want to touch a screen that I would want to read on. Fingerprints and smudges are a fact of life, to me the less of such between my eyes and the words the happier I am.
I couldn't agree with you more! I can't stand the new generation of glossy touch screens. Lots of glare & fingerprints smudges. I could *not* read on one of those. The mat screen of my 505 is perfect.


Troy
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