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Designing the Mobile User Experience

ISBN: 978-0-470-03361-6
260 pages
April 2007
Designing the Mobile User Experience (0470033614) cover image


Gain the knowledge and tools to deliver compelling mobile phone applications.

Mobile and wireless application design is complex and challenging. Selecting an application technology and designing a mobile application require an understanding of the benefits, costs, context, and restrictions of the development company, end user, target device, and industry structure.

Designing the Mobile User Experience provides the experienced product development professional with an understanding of the users, technologies, devices, design principles, techniques and industry players unique to the mobile and wireless space. Barbara Ballard describes the different components affecting the user experience and principles applicable to the mobile environment, enabling the reader to choose effective technologies, platforms, and devices, plan appropriate application features, apply pervasive design patterns, and choose and apply appropriate research techniques.

Designing the Mobile User Experience:

  • Provides a comprehensive guide to the mobile user experience, offering guidance to help make appropriate product development and design decisions.
  • Gives product development professionals the tools necessary to understand development in the mobile environment.
  • Clarifies the components affecting the user experience and principles uniquely applicable to the mobile application field.
  • Explores industry structure and power dynamics, providing insight into how mobile technologies and platforms become available on current and future phones.
  • Provides user interface design patterns, design resources, and user research methods for mobile user interface design.
  • Illustrates concepts with example photographs, explanatory tables and charts, and an example application.

Designing the Mobile User Experience is an invaluable resource for information architects, user experience planners and designers, interaction designers, human factors specialists, ergonomists, product marketing specialists, and brand managers. Managers and directors within organizations entering the mobile space, advanced students, partnership managers, software architects, solution architects, development managers, graphic designers, visual designers, and interface designers will also find this to be an excellent guide to the topic.

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Table of Contents


About the Author.

1 Introduction: Mobility is Different.

1.1 Mobilizing Applications.

1.2 What is ‘Mobile’ Anyhow?

1.3 The Carry Principle.

1.4 Components of a Mobile Application.

1.5 About This Book.

2 Mobile Users in the Wild.

2.1 Mobile User Characteristics.

2.2 Groups and Tribes.

2.3 International Differences.

3 Mobile Devices.

3.1 A Device Taxonomy.

3.2 Anatomy of the PCD.

4 Selecting Application Technologies.

4.1 Input Modalities.

4.2 Interaction Responsiveness.

4.3 Data Storage Locations.

4.4 Display Modality.

4.5 Supplemental Technologies.

4.6 Distribution Methods.

4.7 Other Concerns.

4.8 Platforms.

5 Mobile Design Principles.

5.1 Mobilize, Don’t Miniaturize.

5.2 User Context.

5.3 Handling Device Proliferation.

5.4 Emulators and Simulators.

5.5 Detailed Design Recommendations.

6 Mobile User Interface Design Patterns.

6.1 About User Interface Patterns.

6.2 Screen Design.

6.3 Application Navigation.

6.4 Application Management.

6.5 Advertising.

7 Graphic and Media Design.

7.1 Composition for the Small Screen.

7.2 Video and Animation.

7.3 Sound.

7.4 Streaming versus Downloaded Content.

7.5 Managing Media: Meta Data.

8 Industry Players.

8.1 Carriers (Operators).

8.2 Device Manufacturers.

8.3 Technology and Platform Providers.

8.4 Application and Content Developers.

8.5 Content Distributors.

8.6 Industry Associations.

8.7 Government.

9 Research and Design Process.

9.1 Mobile Research Challenges.

9.2 User Research.

9.3 Design Phase Testing.

9.4 Application Usability Testing.

9.5 Market Acceptance (beta) Testing.

10 Example Application: Traveler Tool.

10.1 User Requirements.

10.2 Product Requirements.

10.3 High-level Design Concepts.

10.4 Detailed Design Plan.


A: Mobile Markup Languages.

B: Domain Names.

C: Minimum Object Resolution.

D: Opt-In and Opt-Out.

E: Mobile Companies.



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Author Information

Barbara Ballard is founder and principal of Little Springs Design, a mobile user experience consultancy founded in 2001. Clients have included carriers, device manufacturers, content companies, and industry associations, with projects including platform user experience, device UI design, style guides, and application design. Prior to 2001, she worked at the US carrier Sprint PCS on the user experience of devices, platforms, style guides, and data services.
Barbara has an MBA from the University of Kansas and a BS in industrial engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. She additionally has completed all coursework necessary for a doctorate in human factors and ergonomics from North Carolina State University, with significant work in engineering, psychology, and industrial design.
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Related Websites / Extra

Little Springs Design - Designing the Mobile User ExperienceVisit Barbara Ballard's training website and blog for more information about her ongoing work.
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Designing the Mobile User Experience (US $86.00)

-and- Programming Mobile Devices: An Introduction for Practitioners (US $88.95)

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