Der Magic Software Germany Blog

Dienstag, 4. Oktober 2011

Mobile Apps: Cool…Trendy…The Place to Be

We all want to be there, but all we know is our old desktop client/server techniques that made us champions in the past, but no longer win us any points in the company coffee corner. So we are determined to learn the latest technologies that will take us to app heaven.
We chose the right platform to do the job, and we spent our spare time perfecting our skills and knowledge of all the latest buzzwords. But now, we need to face the most significant paradigm shift when moving from desktop to mobile: the user interaction model, which defines the way our end-users interact with the application we create for them. These are some of the main differences between how people use desktops compared to how they use mobile phones:
  • Desktops are mostly used while sitting statically at a desk. Mobiles can be used sitting down, standing up, and even walking.
  • On desktops, people interact with many applications in parallel. On a mobile, it’s mostly one app at a time.
  • A desktop has a screen, a keyboard and a mouse. Mobiles typically combine all three into one (a touch screen) or two (a screen and a keyboard). Mobile phone screens are also a lot smaller than most desktop screens.
The way people use apps on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, has a significant influence on the way that developers design and plan mobile applications. Even tablets that have screen sizes similar to those of small notebooks are used quite differently than their desktop counterparts.
After browsing through several articles and consulting with a few experts on the subject, I have managed to shortlist some of the main points to take into consideration when designing a truly mobile application:
  • Focus each screen on a specific task and piece of information. Show the important information at the top of the screen and move down in importance.
  • Navigation and menus are important and should be given appropriate attention. Everything the user can act on should be clearly visible.
  • Try to minimize the need for typing. Always prefer, where applicable, selections from predefined lists to typing.
  • Adopt minimalism in the use of text, but use high-resolution graphics that provide distinction and realism.
When you start thinking about your first mobile app, take some of these guidelines into consideration. Don’t try to ‘shrink’ your desktop screens. Think again about the right way to interact with the information and tasks that you need to mobilize.
By Eyal Pfeifel, CTO, Magic Software Enterprises

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