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The 17 Designs That Bell Almost Used for the Layout of Telephone Buttons

Home/News/The 17 Designs That Bell Almost Used for the Layout of Telephone Buttons
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If you look at the layout of the number buttons on a phone — smart, cell, landline, what have you — the number buttons will feature, almost inevitably, a uniform layout. Ten digits, laid out on a three-by-three grid, with the tenth tacked on on the bottom. The numbers ascending from left to right, and from top to bottom.

This layout is so standardized that we barely think about it. But it was, in the 1950s, the result of a good deal of strategizing and testing on the part of people at Bell Labs. Numberphile has dug up an amazing paper — published in the July 1960 issue of “The Bell System Technical Journal” — that details the various alternative designs the Bell engineers considered. Among them: “the staircase” (II-B in the image above), “the ten-pin” (III-B, reminiscent of bowling-pin configurations), “the rainbow” (II-C), and various other versions that mimicked the circular logic of the existing dialing technology: the rotary.

Everything was on the table for the layout of the ten buttons; the researchers’ only objective was to find the configuration that would be as user-friendly, and efficient, as possible. So they ran tests. They experimented. They sought input. They briefly considered a layout that mimicked a cross.

And in the end, though, Numberphile’s Sarah Wiseman notes, it became a run-off between the traditional calculator layout and the telephone layout we know today. And the victory was a matter of efficiency. “They did compare the telephone layout and the calculator layout,” she says, “and they found the calculator layout was slower.”

Via Paleofuture/Gizmodo

    




The 17 Designs That Bell Almost Used for the Layout of Telephone ButtonsMegan Garberhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/AtlanticScienceAndTechnologyTechnology : The AtlanticAtlantic Technology

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By |August 31st, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on The 17 Designs That Bell Almost Used for the Layout of Telephone Buttons

About the Author:

terrance Gavan is a crap journalist. Humor is integral to every part of his life. Gavan is a raconteur, a story-teller, photographer, designer and videographer. he is also an award winning Canadian Journalist and an award winning news and sports photographer. He has worked for The Manitoban, CBC, CJOB, TSN, Canadian Press, United Press International, The Winnipeg Sun, Interlake Publishing, Sun Media, Runge Press, and the County Voice. He is a web designer, video producer and writer. An award winning poet, He resides in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario with his wife Jackie and boss dog Billie Jean King. Just a skip and hop from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Which is of course the center of the universe!

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