“In part three of this guest blog for the Computer Weekly Developer Network, Sybase technical evangelist and mobile evangelist Ian Thain discusses the new mobile application landscape characterised by new and more beautiful user interfaces.
There are a few mobile design guidelines that should never be far from your thoughts.
To take a few as examples :-
The initial screen should be kept as clear as possible to act as a launch point, because first impressions count – Synote has always gone for the minimalist approach!
Keep the main/primary controls in the thumb ‘hot zones’ at the edge of the screen and keep the most important content at the top, with controls at the bottom - this is particularly important for screen reader users who often track their fingers around the edges of phone screen to catch menu items.
Be generous with the space on the screen, do not crowd and avoid scrolling where you can. Reducing clutter helps everyone but in particular disabled users as does the following point.
Stick to proven navigation models, which can be used in combination, use flat pages for simple applications, and if possible make use of a tab bar that switches between the app’s main functions, and/or a tree structure for drilling down through a hierarchy of content.”
Mobile apps have huge potential to help and liberate people, including disabled people and the elderly, who face challenges with other methods of communication. But as with other new technologies, there is also the potential to further exclude people who are already at a disadvantage by providing small, hard-to-use, inflexible interfaces to devices and apps that create more problems than they solve. (One Voice – Moving Together)
One of the main problems this project will need to overcome when considering ease of use and accessibility is the multitude of portable devices and operating systems. The use of a common code such as HTML 5 may overcome some of the difficulties rather than choosing to program a device dependent native app.