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Steve Graham is a long-time developer and a passionate educator.Steve with a B.Sc.and M.Sc in Computer Science. He serves as a senior software engineer at Xicom.Xicom is a leading web development company, providing java application development, mobile app development, iphone app development services and Hire dedicated developers like hire offshore java developers. Steve has posted 2 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

3 Ignored User-Interface Elements in Mobile Apps

04.15.2013
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If someone directs this question at you, your impromptu reply would be- “users”. Yes! Any and every application that you devise is targeted towards catering a particular audience segment. Thus, user interface (UI) automatically becomes the paramount articulation of any app. While conceptualizing the UI of a mobile-driven application, there are certain things which you must be mindful about. Common must-haves such as feedback after tapping on any UI element or button, consistency across views and clarity of interface, are known to every app developer. But, there are certain other elements as well which usually go unnoticed. Enlisted below are those ignored elements that equally impact the UI of your upcoming offshore mobile application development  venture:

  1. Shangri-la’ Button Size: This is a common consideration, as buttons are the foremost elements that enable users to interact with your app. Button size usually corresponds the size of fingers. So, if the buttons are too small, it becomes a challenge for the users to touch them accurately. Buttons which are less than a centimeter in size are difficult to touch and slower in their operation. According to the thumb rule, the ideal size of a button must be equivalent to the square root of the number of times which a user is likely to select it. As a best practice, always use non-uniform button sizes. They render some added advantages like informing amateur users about the importance which each button holds.

  2. It’s Pro vs. Novice: It is a general assumption that all app users have the same purpose and intentions in mind while operating your application. However, you must remember that users have different mindsets and varying levels of expertise in handling smart phones. For instance, pro users will be familiar with the interface of the app and thus use it quickly. On the other hand, novice users move slower, take time in comprehending the functionality and are prone to make higher touch errors. As you develop an application, ensure that it is competent enough for pro users and simple and informative enough for novice users.

  3. Location of UI Elements: The two most common placements of UI elements are- top and bottom of the app. However, as a general practice, users hold their mobile devices in a way, that thumb is the primary finger that touches the buttons most frequently. If your user is right handed, the buttons at the bottom will be most accessible for him. If the buttons are placed at the top of the app, it becomes more difficult for the user to operate the app. And the same time it interrupts the flow of the application. It is a best practice to place all the primary buttons at the bottom of the app and the most frequently used buttons at the bottom-right corner.

Creating a UI requires a lot more than just the technical know-how. You need to comprehend the users mind set and think from their perspective. Being mindful about the aforementioned elements is likely to aid you in rendering enhanced UI for your next app development venture.


Published at DZone with permission of its author, Steve Graham.

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