UI Design Tips

genericmobile.gifWhile I don’t profess to be a mobile UI/UX expert, I have created many mobile user interfaces in my time, sometimes from scratch, other times to peoples’ specifications. The problem is that people are often thinking so much about screens and controls that they become blind to some basic issues. Here are some areas that catch people out…

  • Consider the font size for people with poorer eyesight.
  • Think about the scaling and sizing of images for different screen sizes and orientations.
  • Analyse colours and their visibility in different lighting conditions and for people with color blindness.
  • Avoid UI bling so the user understands quickly what they are looking at. For example, keep icons simple rather than adding lots of confusing shading.
  • Think about hot spots and content on the UI. For example, Leisa Reichelt goes so far as to recommend not using the Action Bar in Android Honeycomb. Another example is that Windows Mobile moved the menu bar from the top to the bottom so as to prevent the content being hidden by the hand when performing actions.
  • Don’t have too many UI designers on the same app. Everyone likes to make their mark on the app and you can end up going around in circles.
  • Don’t over analyse at the start. The end user actually knows best so plan to obtain feedback and iterate. If you really must pre-analyse, have typical end users assess mockups.

Finally think about branding/skinning/white labeling. I have seen so many projects add this late on in the project. It’s far easier to incorporate this from the start rather than add later.

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