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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About the Author

Victoria Blake, Vice President of Product


Victoria is a product manager who developed her product practice in the crucible of startups. Because of this, she understands technology within the context of the whole business organization, from sales to client services to customer support. She specializes in investigating users' core needs, digging into the competitive landscape and business case, and prioritizing features that deliver real value. Victoria is a true believer in Agile. She uses all the tools in a product manager’s toolkit--including A/B testing, continuous improvement, phased and MVP releases, user testing, and data-driven decision making--to build products that solve real needs. She takes pride in good work, believes in the power of teams, is fluent in Nerd, and has a burning desire to get things done. 

When she is not drinking Kombucha from the tap at Metal Toad, she is spending time with her family, attempting to get to the gym, and trying to get to sleep by 10 p.m. after watching an episode of Battlestar Gallactica. 

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