Sarah Gebauer

I make accessible user interfaces and webcomic

19

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Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2

In front of me lies partly a relict of the past and partly a high tech gadget, a pen for a tablet. Not the graphical tablet which graphic designers use to create beautiful images but just a pen with a changeable capacitive tip. The tip itself is a huge improvement compared to what we had available just a couple of years ago. In the past we had to deal with touch sensors, either on a pad or on a display, which were based on resistivity and user had to apply much more pressure. The capacitive sensors don’t require from the user to use as much force, in fact almost none at all.

The pen has usual two buttons which can be assigned various functions depending on the app. Most commonly the lower button functions as an undo action and upper as a redo function. The shape and the software allow the user to use six different types of hold, three for left-handers and three for right-handers.

If we position the tip of the pen to the bottom and go up then next is a tiny diode which indicates all imaginable functions but only if you can use just two colors. A couple of blue blinks indicates that the pen is connected via bluetooth to the iPad. Red light indicates that the built-in battery is almost empty. This makes me, as user, feel a bit uncertain because almost none of the applications will tell you how much battery is left, I think that I have encountered only one of six or seven. So it might happen that user will be drawing something she would want to show others that night but the pen indicates in the middle of her work that there is not enough battery left.

Since I began talking about battery there is a USB Micro-B port at the top of the pen under a grey rubber cup which can’t be removed. It can be move away from the port just enough to allow access. If I may continue in the scenario, when user gets indicated that she doesn’t have enough battery left, she must stop drawing and plug the pen to nearest USB port or wait a minute or two before the pen turns itself off. The black cable which comes with this black and grey pen is too short for anyone to be able to draw meaningfully on the tablet next to the USB port.

Both the cable and the pen fit into a rectangular black box with a grey form inside with two slots. Inside is also stored a second tip in case the first one in the pen becomes unusable and a small metal ring which helps during the tip changing process.

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