Using your smartphone just got so much easier
AS SMARTPHONES screens have increased in size, our tendency to much slower physical evolution has left our thumbs and hand eye coordination flailing to keep up.
Many of our interactions with our phones have become downright uncomfortable, and not because they have to but because interfaces have failed to change up screen layouts to suit the general increase in screen size.
At what might seem like an obvious move, Samsung is launching a new interface called One UI to combat the awkwardness of the way we physically interact with smartphones, particularly larger ones.
Naturally, the target is on reducing the awkward thumb reach to the top half of the screen and on making fundamental tasks and everyday favourites clearer and more accessible on the screen.
While the display shakeup is based on necessity, Samsung have stressed they are keeping some tradition with their new look; so loyal Samsung users won't feel like they are completely in the dark.
Samsung's senior designer of UX Design Jee Won Lele, who showed off the fresh new interface at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco this month, said the fundamental drive for the change was to make users feel good about using their device.
"People want to see more on the screen and it becomes more critical to make every element more visual and more recognisable," the designer said.
"We are trying to make the hardware and software work perfectly together."
So how is it going to make you feel good?
Clearer icons and objects: With screens jampacked with more and more apps and a longer list of defaults to choose from, One UI has been programmed to make these objects on the display clearer so they "pop out" and are more instantly recognisable.
The fadeaway: When on a landing screen, certain parts will disappear when not necessary for immediate use. For example, if you are making a phone call and start to dial a number on the key pad, other less relevant objects such as the search bar and tabs will temporarily disappear from view until needed again.
Theming: To make the whole experience more visually appealing and unified, you can download a colour that matches the exterior colour of your phone and "skin" the whole device with that colour. Not only will the colours in the layout go prettily hand in hand, but your eyes and brain will not be overloaded with numerous contrasting colours on the basic interface.
Less thumb strain: To make navigating the phone quicker and easier, the One U1 interface has moved to keep the most repeated and necessary touches in the bottom of the screen. This means basic navigation patterns that usually require you to click at the top of the screen will be more accessible to the thumb at the bottom of the screen.
Things like the most recently arrived messages will appear at the bottom, leaving the top half of the screen as more of a viewing area, with some less fundamental actions stored there.
Settings: The set up of settings has been given an overhaul to make it easier to make quick actions. Particular settings have been grouped together so the user is not overwhelmed with choice on the first screen.
All in all, while the One UI changes sound small, the difference it could make to the smartphone experience will leave you wondering how you ever got around your phone in such a clumsy manner before.
Also, Samsung are betting that if you couple the new One UI interface with the soon-to-be-released foldable phone - the Infinity Flex Display, you'll be laughing.
A Samsung spokesman said the marriage of the two means users will be able to do things they couldn't with an ordinary smartphone.
" Users now have the best of both worlds: a compact smartphone that unfolds to reveal a larger immersive display for multitasking and viewing content," the spokesman said.
"The app experience seamlessly transitions from the smaller display to the larger display as the device unfolds. In addition, users can browse, watch, connect and multitask without losing a beat, simultaneously."
One UI updates will be available on the S9, S9+ and the Note.
The writer is a guest of Samsung at the Samsung Developers Conference.