hardest problems. Take something that users understand, use frequently and successfully and copy it. However successful designers understand that successful products support users and their work. As Grudin ( 1989) states, "interface objects must be designed and placed in accordance to users' tasks". So while it would appear that the desktop design should be the way to go, time will only tell if portable products become more like desktops, desktops become more like portable products or the two diverge completely.
Consistency of cross platform interfaces has become a hot topic. When surveying the design space of an array of existing products, it can been seen that the space for Windows CE is quite huge: from four colour grey scale to full colour, through an array of screen sizes and resolutions, with interaction styles directed by stylus, mouse and voice, on platforms for the hand, lap, car and living room. New platforms and new environments fuel many of the interface developments. One thing remains clear: to date, Windows CE interfaces have always contained a flavour of desktop Windows. Due to the familiarity of the desktop software, it would appear to make sense to leverage the familiar designs in new emerging platforms. However, the user tasks and device designs can be diverse. There is no reason to think that in the future, the tasks and designs will become any less diverse. Specialised devices will continuously be built to suit user needs and environments. However it would be shortsighted to conclude that the same interface would suit all tasks in all potential environments regardless of how recognizable the interface. There are no clear rules to follow when and when not to be consistent. On one hand it would appear that a common interface would satisfy all user needs. On the other hand it would be impossible to design an interface to satisfy this goal. To create successful Windows CE products, the device cannot ignore desktop Windows but Windows cannot be held ultimate over design realities. Therein lies the design challenge facing Windows CE designers.
Grudin, J. ( 1989). The Case Against User Interface Consistency. Communications of the ACM, 32, 1164-1173.
Nielsen, J. (Ed.). ( 1989). Coordinating User Interfaces for Consistency. Academic Press, Inc. San Diego, 1989.