Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Graphics & UI (m-cube: Level 1)

Graphics & UI have always played a very important role in mobile applications.
I believe that it is essential for the application’s UI design and flow to cover the business needs effectively… and deliver quality user experience in terms of interface and design.

The UI should be compatible to the native applications so that the user finds it easy to operate. For example on RIM Blackberry devices, you can see that the native email client uses Up & Down indicator instead of a scrollbar. Hence, on all carrier-grade Blackberry apps you will see similar design.

UI is the front interface of any application by which the user interacts with it. Application’s success depends largely on the UI’s ease of use and intuitiveness.
Right from the plain vanilla J2ME/BREW devices to the iPhone and Android devices, every platform has certain recommendations for UI. A typical mobile application must follow certain guidelines strictly.. let me discuss some them with you;
• iPhone OS provides guidelines name as Human Interface Guidelines.
• Android also recommends a set of best practices related with “App Widget Design”, “Menu Design” etc.
• Every certification (like NSTL TBT certification for BREW apps, Java Verified for J2ME apps, Windows Logo Certification for WinMo apps) recommends best practices for UI designing.
if a developer follows these UI guidelines from the development stage itself, he will find it very easy to get certification on the application.

I would also like to point out that though there are numerous touch-screen/non-touch handsets available under the same platform, the UI design should be independent for both these categories.

My advice to you as a developer will be to ensure that you are not using the UI of one platform for another… especially, if you are planning to cover multiple mobile platforms (like iOS, Android, J2ME, Symbian, WinMo, etc) for your applications. Every device comes with a specific usage style and the same must be considered while designing the UI.

I also recommend avoiding the use of heavy and large images. My preferable format is PNG.
I would also suggest that you ensure that you do not blend the images with using separate resource files makes the white labeling of apps easier.
If you or any other developer were to follow these basic guidelines, you are sure to have an amazing user experience and end user response on your application product.

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