This category features articles on best and emerging practices for responsive website design, Web apps and native apps. While the mobile Web is still in it’s infancy, we can learn from the experiences of professionals who are working on mobile every day. Curated by Derek Allard. Subscribe to the RSS-Feed.
We are increasingly using responsive design, responsive design with server-side components (RESS), adaptive design and combinations thereof to provide great high-performance multiscreen experiences. However, analytics implementations often miss information that is important to understanding how a website is being used on different devices.
For example, a website that varies the navigation layout based on screen size or user preferences might provide different user flows through the website depending on the layout being used. By enhancing Google Analytics, you’ll be able to identify and optimize under-performing layouts and screen sizes to improve performance on any device.
Today’s mobile users have increasing expectations, they are intolerant of faults in their mobile experiences, and they complain about bad mobile experiences on social media and through word of mouth. How do you make sure that your mobile experience meets or exceeds users’ expectations?
One quick way to identify potential problems is to conduct a user experience diagnostic, by having a few mobile specialists look for potential problems with a mobile presence. A diagnostic can be done during design and development to ensure that the mobile website or app adheres to best practices and guidelines. It also serves as a great starting point for a redesign to identify particular opportunities for improvement.
According to a recent report, HTML is the most widely used language for mobile app developers. The main reasons among developers for selecting web technologies is cross-platform portability of code and the low cost of development. We’ve also heard that hybrid apps tend to be sluggish and poorly designed. Let’s prove whether it’s possible to deliver the native look and feel that we’re used to.
When designing mobile first, navigation takes a back seat to content, and ruthless editing paves the way for more focused experiences. The pursuit of simplicity, combined with the tight spatial constraints of mobile viewports, often leads us to strip away elements in an attempt to minimize the interface. But the space-saving convenience we gain through clever editing and a compact UI can come at the expense of the very navigational aids our users rely on.
To help balance the craving for visual simplicity with the need to keep websites easy to navigate, we we can borrow some concepts from the world of wayfinding. This article shows how you can apply these concepts to the mobile web.
Sliders are cool. When they’re done well, customers love to interact with them. When they're not done well, they can cause a lot of frustration (not to mention lost sales) by standing between your customers and what they want. And getting them wrong is surprisingly easy.
In this article, we will present a solution, including the design and code, for a new type of Android slider to address common problems, along with a downloadable Android mini-app for you to try out. It’s a deep dive into sliders based on a chapter in Android Design Patterns. The experimental inventory-based slider we will look at would be at home in any application that asks for a price, a size, or any other faceted input within a widely distributed range.
In today’s fast-paced mobile market, consumers have no patience for mobile apps that compromise their experience. “Crashes” and “Not working” are the most common feedback on Google Play for unstable or sluggish apps (including games). Those comments and ratings make hundreds of millions of potential downloaders skip those lousy apps. Sounds harsh, but that’s the way it is.
An app succeeds not by chance. It is the result of the right decisions made at the right time. The most successful mobile app developers understand the importance of performance, quality and robustness across the array of mobile devices that their customers use.
As we refine our methods of responsive web design, we’ve increasingly focused on measure (another word for “line length”) and its relationship to how people read.
The popularization of the “ideal measure” has led to advice such as “Increase font size for large screens and reduce font size for small screens.” While a good measure does improve the reading experience, it’s only one rule for good typography. Another rule is to maintain a comfortable font size.
People use their mobile devices everywhere: on the train, while waiting in line, sitting on the couch. As much as we aim to design our mobile apps and websites for contextual use, testing their usability in context can be challenging.
While getting out in the field for user testing is not always realistic, simulating much of that contextual experience in a lab is possible. One approach to mobile testing is participatory design.
As mobile designers, we have a stark decision to make: do we spend time learning new tools and changing our design processes to create our own transitional interfaces, or are the tools that we've been using good enough? There's an old writing adage that advises writers, whenever possible, to “show, don't tell” when bringing characters to life. The goal is to reveal the story through the character’s experiences instead of the author’s.
When designing mobile products, we share a similar burden. Dammed up inside our heads are creative waterfalls of fresh interactions, transitions, and animations. But how are we supposed to communicate them to our teams, our developers? How do we get them out of our heads? Through a game of charades?
In a previous article, I discussed using POP to create sketch-based clickthrough prototypes in participatory design exercises. These prototypes capture well the flow and overall layout of early design alternatives.
The same piece briefly mentioned another category of clickthrough prototypes: widget-based mockups that are designed on the target device and that expand on sketches by introducing user interface (UI) details and increased visual fidelity. These prototypes can be used to pitch ideas to clients, document interactions and even test usability. In this article, I will teach you how to use the iPad app Blueprint to put together such prototypes in the form of concept demos, which help to manage a client’s expectations when you are aligning your visions of a product.