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Rapid IDPA Score Entry, Publishing and Match Mangagement

Why Smartphones are Better than Tablets for Score Entry
Real-Time IDPA Score EntryDon't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my iPad. I use it everyday, multiple times per day. While it's ideally suited for browsing content and most types of data entry it's not always the right "tool in the toolbox" for real-time data entry of IDPA scores. Let's think about Captain Kirk with his communicator verses Spock with his Tricorder... because I'm a Geek and I can. Which is more convenient to carry? Which takes both hands? Which one do you have to stare at to use? Just because the print can be larger on a tablet doesn't always mean it's the best data entry device. Does your mobile phone have to be as large as your tablet in order for you to use it well? No.

There is one caveat to my point however. A well designed interface is needed to make the smaller format of a phone a realistic winner in this duel. An interface where you have to use a stylus or the mini keypad to enter data is just not practical, especially with people over the age of 40 (sorry, but let's get real). Buttons need to be large, print needs to be large and color contrasts clear. For maximum efficiency you can't be switching between the software keyboard and tapping all around the screen. A good software design must choose one or the other. A good, efficient, usable graphical user interface is one that you can stick with just tapping and minimize or eliminate the need to use the software keyboard. The other usability factor is the ability to use the app with only one hand and even more ideally, with just one appendage, your thumb. There is nothing sweeter than pulling out your phone, quickly using your thumb to enter data and then returning the phone to your pocket. One hand (one thumb) data entry rules the day on this matchup.

Speaking of local matches - let's face it, IDPA matches are mainly for fun. Data entry of scores, while necessary, should not become a distraction or worse, a burdensome task. In this case, a smartphone that can be slipped in/out of your pocket and be used quickly to record a score with one hand and your thumb is the optimum choice. Convenient wins the day!

We hope we hit the target on our UberScoreMaster user interface design. As we use it ourselves we will continue to refine it and as always, your suggestions and comments are welcome!

Tim Hauser
[email protected]

Tags: IDPA Score Entry, IDPA Scoring, IDPA Software, Software for Match Directors, Smartphones and Tablets for Score Entry

Rapid IDPA Score Entry, Publishing and Match Mangagement
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