Thumb Zone

Thumb Zone

I’m used to thinking of ergonomics in terms of chairs, desks, physical plant, tennis rackets, etc., but this week our expert UX designer, Cami, blew my mind when she shared a “natural thumb extension” image that she uses to help design for mobile.

“What’s this?” I asked

“The green zone is where the controls should be,” she replied.

“Ohhhh,” I said. “Ahhhh….”

I love the concept of the “thumb zone” because it combines two domains that, until mobile touch screens (and, yes, mice and the GUI before them), existed in separate domains--ergonomics and software. The physical interaction of human and machine is exploding right now with AR glasses and VR headsets, with in-hand haptics, and sensory gloves. We as an industry haven’t standardized the most effective patterns yet--how should a user interact with a menu while inside VR?--but I’m seeing great thinking and compelling work in this area. I can’t wait to see where it goes, and as always I’m grateful to be working in a time and with a technology that continues to change and improve, seemingly day-by-day.

A lot of great information here, thanks to Scott Hurff's pedigreed design thinking and user research. Thumb zone graphic and some excellent ergonomic research come from Steven Hoober. All of it comes to me through super Cami Dodson

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