Location-based Services

Russell Buckley points to an article in IHT and writes about two of the challenges:

1. Lack of usability

Will we never learn to make mobile applications simple and intuitive? If the average person (not the average technically literate engineer) needs a user manual, they probably won’t use the application. This, above all things, is iPod’s strength – you can work out how it works in a few minutes.

SMS is easy to learn (though not very user-friendly as an interface). MMS is hard, especially if you expect the user to reconfigure their phone.

LBS technology is hard to use. It must become easier.

2. Compelling Applications

Or lack thereof.

Most people know the area they’re in pretty well, most of the time. Therefore, find-my-nearest-ATM/resturant has very limited appeal to most people. And for the tiny minority who might find it useful from time to time, they have to remember how to use the service – back to clumsy usability again.

Besides which, it’s far easier to use a Social Navigation Interface (as I recently heard it called – where?) otherwise know as asking someone the way.

What we need is good, relevant applications build with the user in mind. These innovations will almost certainly not come from operators, but from indie developers and they can’t get their hands on the API’s.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.