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The Context Engine Cartridge includes an inputDevices property under Browser Aspect and Device Aspect.

It could be one or more of:

  • clickWheel
  • keypad
  • stylus
  • touchScreen
  • trackball

It's described the same for Browser and Device Aspects as "Input devices available to the user: one or more of clickWheel, keypad, stylus, touchScreen and trackball."

Questions:

  • Is the inputDevices property functionally different between Browser Aspect and Device Aspect?
  • Are these based on the device database and what should be available to the user? Or is this per visitor (and what that visitor has installed on their client browser or device, for example)?
  • Keypad and trackball make me wonder--does the device database include "nontraditional" devices (not just desktop, tablet, or mobile)? In other words, what has a trackball and what might I do with this information? :-)

I'm trying to understand what kinds of functional requirements I could suggest based on inputDevices.

For example, could I use this to suggest changing "click" instructions to "touch" if touchScreen is set?

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You've not had an answer for a while so i'm going to have a go :)

Is the inputDevices property functionally different between Browser Aspect and Device Aspect?

Looking at the docs, they both seem to offer the same values. It's possible to use CE for more applications as well as websites so I suspect this to support any scenario.

Are these based on the device database and what should be available to the user? Or is this per visitor (and what that visitor has installed on their client browser or device, for example)?

I'd love for you to test it and let us know, it would be really cool to see if the user is using a trackball.

Keypad and trackball make me wonder--does the device database include "nontraditional" devices (not just desktop, tablet, or mobile)? In other words, what has a trackball and what might I do with this information? :-)

If the user has a trackball you could put a golf game into your application loading screens :)

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I'll add that looking at Bemoko (PDF), which Mobile comes from, we have:

A less obvious factor to consider perhaps, but an important one to the usability of your website is to consider the variety of input mechanism available to a user, such as:

  • Mouse: Standard for website access from a PC, but virtually non-existent on other devices.
  • Cursor controls: Many smartphones and Blackberry devices include a mini-joystick or trackball to move a cursor in a pseudo-mouse manner, but are often restricted to moving in one-direction at any one time.

    ...

This suggests the input features are from the context database.

In terms of use cases, I suggested the text changes ("click" vs "touch") as an option to one client but there's plenty more we can do in terms of size, content order, etc.

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