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Finger Motion

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Patterns Of Motion

Dance for CALL-ATT
Keys for CALL-ATT

When punching a number into a phone key pad, the fingers go through a "dance" corresponding to the position of the keys being pressed.

These patterns of motion help reinfoce, recognize, and finally remember phone numbers. The are yet another mnemonic for phone numbers. In this context, a good pattern of motion is one that makes for a good mnemonic: one that is easy to remember and then helps you dial the right number.

For example, to order pizza in Vancouver, British Columbia, just dial dial 2222222 (just keep stomping on the same key -- a very very simple dance). Another example is the AT&T Long Distance's collect call number: 1-800-CALL-ATT. All the digits (after the 1) including the "800" are down the middle of the keypad. Other features of this number are the three pairs of identical numbers (22-55-2-88) as well as its rhythm.

These features, especially when exploited by a clever marketing campaign which repeatedly reinforces the patterns of motion, sound, and rhythm, make the CALL-ATT mnemonic stick in the consumers' minds for many years to come.

Muscle Memory

If you use phone keypads long and often enough, you eventually learn to dial phone numbers without looking, very much like one can learn to type on a computer keyboard without looking at the letters on the keys.

I once had to use an 8-digit pass word to access international direct 
dialing at my company. I used [it] enough that i did it by pattern and 
ultimately forgot the number and [then] the pattern. After two or three days, 
I gave up and [asked for a new pass word.].

-- Marion Moon

If you dial the same phone number often enough, you eventually learn to dial that number without thinking about the individual digits. The pressing of individual keys blends together into a single fluid motion. The simpler the pattern, the easier it is to "learn" the motions.

Last updated Tuesday December 11 2012
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