Nokia was developing a new way to input the Chinese language for their cellphones in 2005. I helped with the usability research process in Beijing, China in 2005. Initially, I was one of their diary study participants for the new Chinese input project but was then invited to conduct a competitive analysis and heuristic evaluation with the Nokia team based on the content of my diary as well as my feedback of the study.
For the competitive analysis, I worked with two other industry experts to study the Chinese input for the Microsoft New Phonetic IME computer and the T9 cellphone. We compared these existing inputs with the input which Nokia was developing. We found that there were definitely better methods for the Chinese input, but due to limitations of cellphone processors, memory and screen size, it would be difficult to allow the user to use the same input as they would on their computer.
Before the competitive analysis, we were asked to rank a thousand common Chinese idioms and phrases based the frequency of use. The ones that were used more frequently should appear at the top of the list. The dev team created a high-fidelity prototype based on this logic. We performed a Heuristic Evaluation based on Nielsen's guidelines with this new input and finally we provided them with our feedback. Overall, we thought this new Chinese input was very efficient but it was not particularly intuitive to users who have already formed input habits for their cellphones, e.g. muscle memory.