Computing Applications Editorial pointers

Editorial Pointers

  1. Article

Designing for the mobile device is almost like living in Manhattan; it takes creativity, resourcefulness, and a real knowledge of the owner’s needs to make the most of very little space. Indeed, the real estate on today’s cell phone or PDA screen is so limited, yet so precious, designer Karen Holtzblatt cautions: "…whatever is displayed [on it] had better matter to the user."

This month’s special section examines the experiences, challenges, and methods involved in designing for the constraints of mobile platforms. We are grateful to Holtzblatt for leading this project, enlisting authors from some of the key players in this industry, including Nokia, Sprint, Digia, Microsoft, and InContext Enterprises. Their stories reflect the real-world aspects of mobile application design and the business opportunities for designers and vendors alike. As you will learn, this venture often requires no less than the reinvention of design methods and principles to accommodate user demands despite an absolute premium on screen space.

Also this month, Heath et al. present a fascinating account of the iLumina Digital Library, offering practical lessons from their five-year experience defining and attaching metadata to its digital content, often challenging current standards and practices. Lee et al. share their "eXperience" applying WYSIWIG and direct interaction methods to create immersive authoring systems. And Cappel et al. take "A Closer Look at Attention to Detail," noting its power as an untapped resource for improving IT practice and quality.

You would think users with lesser verbal abilities would be vulnerable to the weaknesses inherent in spelling- and grammar-checking software. Not so, according to the results of a new study by Galletta et al., who find users with finer verbal skills are often just as quick to trust the program over their own knowledge. Mike Thelwell follows the links between university Web sites and the potential for sharing among research fields. And Rudy Hirschheim warns educators and students not to jump blindly onto the bandwagon promoting the benefits of online learning.

In "Technology Strategy and Management," Michael Cusumano shares his thoughts—and estimable research—on Japan’s successful, yet limited, software industry. In "The Profession of IT," Peter J. Denning traces a sometimes personal history of the locality of reference principle from its inception to its current and future applications. And Naomi Baron eases some concerns over the harmful influence IMing might be having on the language and spelling skills of today’s teens in "Viewpoint."

ACM President David Patterson has been quoted recently regarding the U.S.’s technology standing in light of the results of ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest last April. In this month’s "President’s Letter," he ponders the "winning" trends and how they might be addressed.

Diane Crawford

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