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Designing for Phones

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The Apple iPhone Human Interface Guidelines outline a number of best practices for mobile development including the following basic principles:

  • Do not display UI elements that are not absolutely necessary. Minimize the number of user controls and required input elements.
  • Since users can only see one screen at a time, you will likely need to reorganize how information is presented from your desktop application.
  • Using your application needs to be completely obvious. Use standard controls for which users have had prior experience. Provide UI elements that enable a user to go back and retrace their steps.
  • Users typically will use your application for very brief periods of time, and usually under distracting conditions. Streamline your processes to enable users to complete them as quickly as possible.
  • Minimize text input. Use table views, sliders, select boxes, etc.
  • Branding should be subtle and understated. For instance, do not display a 'splash screen' that would delay a user from using your application.
  • Use the user's location whenever possible.

There are three types of mobile applications:

  • Productivity applications (such as the mobile crime tracker) that organizes information hierarchically using multiple views
  • Utility applications that perform a single task (such as viewing current weather conditions) and employ a simple, attractive GUI
  • Immersive applications, such as games or simulations, that present the user with a custom GUI.

Note: This unit focuses on developing productivity and utility applications with Sencha Touch.

You can download the entire iPhone HIG at the following url:

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