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Mobile Interface Design Basics

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2015 09:51AM EDT

A few things to think about

It's hard to know what each person might need to know to work with EachScape and build a great app. If you've never been part of a team that's built a mobile app, you might want to learn more about mobile design. There are a lot of things we could try to impart, but in fact, there are some incredible resources on the web and in print to help you get started.

In particular, Apple does a great job of explaining their guidelines for great apps in these two documents:
-  iPhone Human Interface Guidelines 
-  iPad Human Interface Guidelines.

Android has set up a similar resource website for designersL
-  Android Design Guidelines


If you're going to work with larger-screen devices, like the iPad, keep in mind that the screen elements for iPad are, from a display perspective, more like designing for a desktop or laptop computer. The many levels of navigation needed on a small screen disappear when you're working with a larger screen.

Because these devices support touch and in some cases multi-touch interfaces, the user experience is extremely different from desktop/web design. Resources on the screen that respond to touch have to be big enough to touch, and far enough apart to avoid accidentally selecting the wrong control. Android devices also provide support using a trackball-like device, and in many cases a keyboard. This means that the design for each device diverges somewhat. And to create the best user experience, you don't want to just build for the lowest-common denominator. It's important to customize an app so it functions optimally on each targeted platform.

As you read, you will realize there are many factors to keep in mind. Do your research and keep coming back to mobile apps that illustrate good design as you try to think through what your app will do. We believe that less is more when it comes to mobile: an app that tries to do one thing very well is more likely to be accepted by consumers than an app that tries to do too much. It's hard when you're at the design phase, especially if you're coming from the web. You'd like the app you're going to build to do everything your web site does, but scale back and think about the user experience.

We have put together a collection of Mobile App Basics that you should review if you are new to building apps for smartphones.

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