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Mobile design

Why desktop UX still has something to teach mobile

The more reflective the designer is, the more it doesn’t matter how big the screen is. Only context then drives design.

“Mobile isn’t killing desktop in the way most of us expected it to. It is clearly the future growth platform of computing (at least, until the next thing comes along) but we have over-hyped the New Market Effect, focusing on “the shiny” and not paying attention to critical microinteractions that make a difference. We are so in love with flashy UX features that we ignore the deep impact of the proven and the mundane. The directions listed here are too easily ignored. They are actually the core building blocks of powerful UX experiences and need to be improved. It’s just a bit surprising that so much mobile inspiration can come from its inferior predecessor, the desktop UX.”

Scott Jenson a.k.a. /scottjenson | @scottjenson ~ FastCo.Design

How to implement gestures into your mobile design

Gestures are based on sign language with a touch dimension. With AR is becoming real sign language with the Digital.

“Gestures are the new clicks. Every app, game or tool you open on your phone must includes a swipe, tap or pinch to function. These gestures are the secret to making great mobile apps work. And there’s a lot that goes into it. With clicks, designers and developers really only had to think about where they wanted the action to appear on the screen. With gestures, you have to consider the type of physical action, its location on the screen, and whether users can intuitively find and touch it.”

Carrie Cousins a.k.a. /carriecousins1 | @carriecousins ~ TNW

Long-term exposure to Flat Design: How the trend slowly decreases user efficiency

First it looks better, then it start to deteriorate.

“Clickable UI elements with absent or weak visual signifiers condition users over time to click and hover uncertainly across pages-reducing efficiency and increasing reliance on contextual cues and immediate click feedback. Young adult users may be better at perceiving subtle clickability clues, but they don’t enjoy click uncertainty any more than other age groups.”

Kate Meyer a.k.a. /lauracreekmore | @kate__meyer ~ Nielsen Norman Group

Multitasking on mobile devices

It’s still task-oriented. So, usability therefore. Quite something else than omni-channel or multi-device. Word, words, words. A rose is a rose is a rose.

“Multitasking involves being able to rapidly switch between different apps and to combine multiple sources of information. Small mobile screens limit users’ ability to see content from different apps at the same time, so current operating-system support for multitasking focuses mostly on switching between different apps. This increases users’ memory load, so mobile designers must help users compare and rapidly retrieve recent items.”

(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

The rise of the phablet: Designing for larger phones

Screen-sizes are not the driving force for designers. Humans are.

“I’ve read many articles lately that tell us the new iPhone 6 series will force all of us to change the way we approach UI design for mobile phones. Well, it may for designers who still focus only on iOS and pretend the rest of the world does not exist. But large-screen, portable devices have been around for a long time, and those of us who design for every platform have been considering them in our designs since at least 2011. In fact, larger, touchscreen, handheld devices were available as far back as the Apple Newton, with its 5.25-inch screen. So far in 2014, about a third of all the smartphones sold have screens that are over 5 inches on the diagonal – even before Apple got on the large-screen bandwagon. Not just worldwide sales either. Even in the US, large-screen phones are a huge force, so you can use information about how people use them today.”

(Steven Hoober ~ UXmatters)

What is a card?

My C5 design law of cards: Cards contain content chunks and code.

“(…) when we talk about cards in digital products, it’s important to understand that there are actually two, interrelated concepts at work that some people conflate as one. I’ll use some grossly simplified language to label them as cards as presentation and cards as third-party content. (…) A card is a single unit of content or functionality, presented in a concise visual package. More advanced cards use that form to surface content or functionality from other apps, and allow users to interact with that content or functionality directly in the context of where a user encounters the card.”

(Khoi Vinh a.k.a. @khoi ~ Subtraction)

TouchTools: : Leveraging familiarity and skill with physical tools to augment touch interaction

Hopefully, less than 20 years from now we can use full-body interaction with technology.

“The core idea behind TouchTools is to draw upon user familiarity and motor skill with tools from the real world, and bring them to interactive use on computers. Specifically, users replicate a tool’s corresponding real-world grasp and press it to the screen as though it was physically present. The system recognizes this pose and instantiates the virtual tool as if it was being grasped at that position. Users can then translate, rotate and otherwise manipulate the tool as they would its physical counterpart.”

(Chris Harrison)

Designing mobile usability

Mobile usability, the same as paper usability or usability of applications. What’s all the difference? The principles are the same, the instantiations not.

“In this interview Jakob Nielsen, explains the rules of mobile usability. He outlines how to create seamless experiences and why designers are plagued with featuritis. He then goes onto explain the reciprocity principle and the importance of user-centred design.”

(Dorm Room Tycoon)

Smartwatches are the future, but Samsung Galaxy Gear only partway there

Just figured out design for smartphones and tablets. Next up for design challenges, wearable glasses and watches.

“The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch poses unique problems due to the tiny touchscreen. The use of gestures and streamlining content are reasonable solutions, but need to be implemented in a more usable manner.”

(Raluca Budiu ~ Nielsen Norman Group)

Responsive web design: Relying too much on screen size

Hardware form factor only is just for one-dimensional designers.

“As people continue to go online using an ever increasing diversity of devices, responsive Web design has helped teams build amazing sites and apps that adapt their designs to smartphones, desktops, and everything in between. But many of these solutions are relying too much on a single factor to make important design decisions: screen size.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @lukew)

An insider’s view of mobile-first design: Don’t make these mistakes

Do’s and dont’s is all what experimenting is about.

“Everyone from users to entrepreneurs to advertisers loves the mobile category because those products are always with us, always on, and instantly accessible. But these opportunities are also design constraints: Mobile screens are small, driven by touch, and often connected to spotty networks. Which is why companies like Facebook, Google, PayPal, and countless startups taking the plunge into mobile-first design quickly realize that designing for mobile is not the same as designing for the desktop PC. Our PC-driven instincts are often very wrong for mobile. Yet they’re so deeply ingrained, we apply them anyway. That’s why I want to share these common mistakes.”

(Luke Wroblewski a.k.a. @lukew ~ Wired)

Context, bloody context

When you know the context, you know the meaning.

“If you’ve been in the mobile field for a while, you’re sick of context debates. Sure, they all start innocently, but soon enough they collapse into a sad tangle of metaphysics (“But what IS context anyway?”), lazy stereotypes, and implausible scenarios involving public transport. So let’s try a fresh approach. Dictionary definitions and “it depends” generalizations are hereby banned. Let’s talk details. We’ll discuss whether context even matters in modern web design, ways to find out how people will use your product, design principles for different situations, and why we’ve been looking at the whole thing upside-down anyway.”

(Cennydd Bowles a.k.a. @Cennydd ~ Mobilism 2013)

Sketching for better mobile experiences

Just follow the tips and you’ll sketch the stars on the mobile heaven.

“Sketching helps you better understand the problem you are trying to solve and lets you visualize possible solutions. It is a fast and inexpensive way to brainstorm and to test out a lot of UI ideas before committing to one. Sketching speeds us the concept creation and iteration phase and makes it possible to get feedback early on, when changes are easy to make.”

(Lennart Hennigs a.k.a. @LennartHennigs ~ Smashing Magazine)

Tools for mobile UX design

Tools that shape us, mobile us.

“There are several ways to approach the design of interactive systems and an ever larger number of specialized products to help UX professionals do their work. But I think there is a bit of a gap between some well-discussed practices that many of these new tools support and the way many UX professionals actually do their work.”

(Steven Hoober ~ UXmatters)

Opportunities and challenges for touch and gesture-based systems

“Touch. Sweet touch. You’ve given me too much to feel. Sweet touch. You’ve almost convinced me I’m real.”

“(…) getting the technology to work is hard, but the really hard part is getting the human-system interaction right, making it easy for people to use the systems. Here are the issues. Touch and sensing technology is becoming more and more popular, whether it is on mobile telephones and tablets, navigation systems, or even cooking appliances. These give great opportunities, and of course, great opportunities also pose great challenges. Some are technical, but more and more they are interaction and design challenges – how to ensure that the capabilities of the technology are well matched to the needs and capabilities of the people who use them.”

(Donald A. Norman & Bahar Wadia ~ Nielsen Norman Group)