UI Requirements for Mobile Devices

17 Jul 2007 - 4:56pm
7 years ago
5 replies
678 reads
Daniel Chiu
2007

Hi all,

I am looking for some guidance on where to find some good UI Requirments
for Mobile Devices (PDA, phones, etc.). Specifically looking for
recommended font sizes (in pixels) on a 240 x 320 screen, minimum button
sizes, etc. I've found some stuff from ANSI and some military specs,
but a lot of that stuff is very outdated. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Daniel

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Comments

19 Jul 2007 - 7:41am
Joel Flom
2007

I found the DotMobi Mobile Web Developer's Guide a great to start for
questions on text, button and other layout considerations.

It's located at http://dev.mobi/node/197 (requires sign up).

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19 Jul 2007 - 8:52am
.pauric
2006

Thanks for the link Joel. A similar question:

Does anyone have a pointer to standards for gestures on mobile
devices?

e.g. single tap = primary action
tap-hold = secondary action
double tap = select text

Or that kind of stuff, much appreciated.
regards - pauric

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19 Jul 2007 - 9:12am
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Pauric:
Just quick questions for your questions: if the mobile device hasnt touch
screen , what will hapen? and another thing, why nokia users find
difficulties in switching to sony erricsion phones, vice vesa?
One of annoying (and interesting) points, is that the input and out
various very much from one to other, then how could expect a unified
standard for all the mobile device?

Cheers
-- Jarod

On 7/19/07, pauric <radiorental at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Thanks for the link Joel. A similar question:
>
> Does anyone have a pointer to standards for gestures on mobile
> devices?
>
> e.g. single tap = primary action
> tap-hold = secondary action
> double tap = select text
>
> Or that kind of stuff, much appreciated.
> regards - pauric
>
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://beta.ixda.org/discuss?post=18323
>
>
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--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

19 Jul 2007 - 9:22am
Markus Grupp-TM
2006

> Does anyone have a pointer to standards for gestures on mobile devices?
> e.g. single tap = primary action
> tap-hold = secondary action
> double tap = select text

Pauric,

Standards may be tough to find, as mobile phone interfaces are largely proprietary to the handset manufacturer. But I would recommend having a look at the UI guidelines for some of the open mobile operating systems that feature touchscreen:

1. iPhone Web Developers Guide: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/designingcontent.html
2. Palm OS: http://www.access-company.com/developers/documents/docs/ui/UIGuide_Front.html
3. Windows Mobile (Pocket PC): http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms854763.aspx
4. UIQ (Sony Ericsson P900/910/990): http://developer.uiq.com/devlib/uiq_30/SDKDocumentation/uiq/uiqstyleguide/index.html
5. Nokia Series 90 (Nokia 7700/ Nokia 7710): http://www.forum.nokia.com/info/sw.nokia.com/id/775f4744-dedf-4f32-956d-815e02ba670d/Nokia_7710_UI_Style_Guide_v1_0_en.pdf.html

I have included a couple of specific references below to guidelines for taps/ touches below.

Hope this helps,
Markus

<iPhone Web Developers Guide>

The following table lists the actions and results of using fingers as an input device.

Double tap = Zoom in and center a block of content
Touch and hold = Display an information bubble
Drag = Move the viewport or pan
Flick = Scroll up or down (depending on the direction of the finger movement)
Pinch open = Zoom in
Pinch close = Zoom out

A few other things to keep in mind about fingers as an input device:
- There are no gestures to perform cut, copy, paste, drag-and-drop, and text selection operations.
- The width of a finger limits the density of links on a page. If the links are too close, your users won't be able to choose a single one.

</ iPhone Web Developers Guide>

<Palm OS UI Guidelines>

Minimize Taps
Most information about that data should be accessible in a minimal number of taps of the stylus - one or two.

Desktop user interfaces are typically designed to display commands as if they were used equally. In reality, some commands are used very frequently while most are used only rarely. Similarly, some settings are more likely to be used than others. On Palm Powered handhelds, more frequently used
commands and settings should be easier to find and faster to execute.

* Frequently executed software commands should be accessible by one tap.

* Infrequently used or dangerous commands may require more user action.

Table 1.1 shows how the frequency of an action maps to its accessibility in the Date Book application.

Table 1.1 Frequency of actions Frequency Example Accessibility
Several times per day Checking today's schedule or to-do items One tap
Several times per week Scheduling a one hour meeting starting at the top of the hour One tap, write in place
A few times a month Setting a weekly meeting (repeating event) Several taps, second dialog box

This goal of minimizing taps can be taken too far. It must be balanced with other guidelines. For example, using a command button generally minimizes the taps to perform a command, but if you have too many buttons, you overcrowd the screen and introduce confusion into the interface.

Some designers break the behavior guidelines for a particular element for the sole purpose of minimizing taps. User interface elements should behave the way users expect them to behave unless there is good reason for them not to. Minimizing taps is not always a good enough reason to break
guidelines.

</Palm OS UI Guidelines>

19 Jul 2007 - 10:54am
.pauric
2006

Jarod: "Just quick questions for your questions: if the mobile device
hasnt touch screen , what will hapen?"
I'm helping with the styleguide for www.openmoko.org , it has a
(single)touch sensitive screen.

"then how could expect a unified standard for all the mobile
device?"

I'm going to copy the best practices developed so far that will work
on a touch sensitive screen. The issue you highlight is one I'd put
under evolution. Two things happened on June 29th, first a new
standard in user expectations was set. Second, I feel we crossed the
tipping point between functionality and simplicity.

I think the inconsistencies between mobile devices will become less
pronounced from here on out.

regards - pauric

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