PSU Web: Thinking Beyond Apple

by June 11, 2012

In his Thinking Beyond Apple presentation at the Penn State Web Conference, Brad Colbow talked about mobile design lessons learned from multiple mobile platforms -not just iOS.

  • What is the secret to creating a great user experience? It’s hard to learn from great experiences because they are seamless and good design is invisible. But you can learn a lot from studying bad experiences.
  • Often times as designers we work on things for months or years and become too familiar with our internal terms and process. When these filter into your experience, they can confuse people.
  • Great experiences are built up from lots of little decisions. The bottom line is you have to care.
  • There are lots of little things you can do on mobile to show you care about the experience. Simple example: turn off autocapitallize and autocorrect on log in screens.
  • Patterns emerge in design guidelines from Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Differences in platform characteristics, interfacing with hardware, interface elements, and design best practices can be seen.
  • Touch conventions are pretty consistent across platforms –this means you can keep gesture controls pretty consistent across platforms.
  • Hardware controls differ between mobile platforms: one button on iOS, multiple buttons on Android and Windows Phone. This has an impact on how you lay out interface elements.
  • You have two options for mobile native apps: stay consistent to your design across all platforms or embrace the conventions of each platform to be consistent with the operating system.
  • Embracing the conventions of each platform lets you take advantage of what people learn from other apps on the platform.
  • Don’t let the user interface hinder your user experience. Elevate the content you care about (bring it front and center sooner).
  • Though you want people to download your app, you shouldn’t rely on pages that stop them from getting to your content unless they download the app. These are roadblocks.
  • Avoid help screens in your apps that explain how to use them. If you need help, your app needs help.