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Field Trials Part 3.1

No this isn't a Windows versioning scheme :-)

Rather I'm using this opportunity to answer some questions:

Lora writes:

Did they go back and field test the revised Journal?

Yes.  Next Question.

How much did the concurrent changes in the industry impact the design? Did the elapsed time between the first trial and released product impact how people used the product and their expectations also?

Also Yes.

Okay now for the non-flip analysis/answers.  We did in fact conduct 2 additional field trials after the one that I've been blogging about.  Both of these were run by my direct reports at the time.  One looked specifically at the initial experience and the changes in Journal.  The other looked at pre-production real OEM hardware (a convertible) and the effect that Tablet had on the institutional culture and usage over a 9 month - 1 year period.  Maybe I'll blog a little about these in the future, but my personal knowledge was quite a bit less since I was only managing the people running the project and not supervising the day to day workings of the projects.

During the development of the Tablet, the mainstreaming of 802.11b had a huge impact on the adoption and reasons that people liked the tablet so much.  When Chuck spec'ed out the tablet designs for the prototype we didn't include wireless on board.  At Microsoft wireless was just being rolled out selectively in some buildings.  At the time we hadn't really thought about the impact.  When the first protos came off the line, some of us stuck in 802.11b PC cards into them to access the networks at work or at home, but even that was rare.  When we got the units up to the ability to take them to the field trials, one of the sites that we deployed out was playing with wireless in one conference room.  We didn't initially give them a wireless card, but the users who used the conference room definitely wanted to try it out and with the help of their IT staff and our infrastructure, we got them up and running.  This made a huge difference for some of the users as now they were more likely to take the tablet with them.

We also saw some similar things during later trials and from other data points, that the confluence of wireless with the Tablet was a good thing since many of the early tablet interested people thought that wireless was the reason to have a tablet since it was a better laptop to take with them to different locations.  This is very different from those of you who say “the pen” is the reason to use a tablet. 

So at the end of the day, having a tablet be wirelessly enabled out of the box just makes a whole lot of sense particularly given that the wireless infrastructure is still booming.

What other questions or other things about the field trials do you want to hear?

Published Friday, July 09, 2004 10:10 AM by EvanF
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# re: Field Trials Part 3.1

The field trials are an amazing read, from a frequenter of Dr. Jakob Nielsen's website (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/). However, one stupid question remains in my head after someone at www.tabletpcbuzz.com asked when I created a thread highlighting your blogs:

What were the alternate name ideas for "Tablet PC"'s?
Monday, July 12, 2004 11:33 AM by David Beoulve
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