The following articles were written as chapters for a book Scott Weiss proposed, Case Studies in Mobile Design, uniquely considering product design from the multiple perspectives of business, technology, and the user. The publisher never granted final approval for the book project, so the chapters are presented here in unabridged form.
Just as SMS was starting to explode in Europe, T9® Text Input made it easier for people to type on their mobile phone. Careful interaction design, repeated prototyping, and timely user research certainly helped make it an industry-leading product, but "putting the customer first" both ensured T9's commercial success and created some long-term challenges to overcome.
Missing out on SMS in Europe, Americans didn't have a compelling reason to use T9 Text Input to type on their mobile phone. But Instant Messaging, a quiet phenomenon growing as rapidly as the Internet, was being used by teens and professionals alike; could it become a "killer app" for mobile as well? Numerous technical and design challenges would have to be addressed to realize an acceptable user experience for Instant Messaging on mobile phones.