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Using Constraints to Brainstorm Simple Designs for Mobile Apps

While a mobile app may do a lot of things, it’s essential to design the app so it feels simple to the user at any moment during its use. But how do you generate ideas that will make an app simple? Try the following approach. List the top ten features you want in your app. These should be the most important things that characterize your app. If you have more than ten that’s OK, but try to come up with at least ten. On
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Designing Mobile Apps Using Quick Scale Prototypes

Mobile apps need to be designed and tested to scale to avoid surprises when actual human hands start operating the app. Designs crafted or presented on large monitors can be deceiving, because it’s hard to think in terms of two scales at the same time. Better to work at scale, and if possible even view key screens and simple prototypes on the device itself. Following are some simple techniques for designing and testi
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Moving Your Apps to Mobile: Part 3 – Mobile Opportunities

In part one of this series, I wrote about how mobile should be central to your development strategy because of the major shift that is happening to people’s computing habits. In part two, I cover key characteristics you need to consider in determining what you should (and shouldn’t) build. In part three, I will cover the opportunities this presents, and key questions to ask when you are exploring those op
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Moving Your Apps to Mobile: Part 2 – How Mobile is Different

In part one of this series, I wrote about how mobile should be central to your development strategy because of the major shift that is happening to people’s computing habits. In part two, I cover key characteristics you need to consider in determining what you should (and shouldn’t) build. In part three, I will cover the opportunities this presents. Just port it? Wrong. The wrong answer is to take all of
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Conjecture – If I were Steve Jobs: RFID, Payment Platforms, iTunes, iPhone, and iADs

The blogosphere has been humming the last few days with rumors of how Apple is about to turn your iPhone and iTunes into a digital wallet. This sort of discussion always makes geeks like me turn into the digital equivalent of Colombo, Nick Charles, Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, or Andy Barker P.I. In my case, you probably would choose Andy Barker P.I. as my sleuthing character. The reason? I am about to cobble together th
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iPhone and iPad Application Design – to HIG or not to HIG…

It is amazing how much one company has influenced our digital lives. You can not seem to look at any “smartphone” today without seeing Apple’s influential design sprinkled in. Need proof? Take a look at the Android prototype before the iPhone came out. Now look at Android today. Does Apple get everything right? Heck no, but they have been setting the interaction trends for the last several years. Th
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Seven Questions to Ask When Designing the Feel of Your Mobile App

Feel Can Make or Break a Product Imagine you are shopping for a new car. You found a model that looks great and has all the features you want. It’s even in your price range. So you go to the dealer and take a test drive. After about five minutes of driving, you find you are mildly dissatisfied with the car. Perhaps it’s the way it takes the bumps. Perhaps it’s difficult to check your blind spot. Perhaps the pedals an
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iPhone Simulator Wireless Geolocation Weirdness

photo credit: wolfsavard So I’ve been working on a number of geolocation enabled iPhone apps recently. In the latest SDK, the simulator supports geolocation, so I don’t have to push the apps to the device all the time. Great. Now as it happens, I have both wireless and wired on at the office, so I can easily move from place to place but also get better bandwidth when I plug in. The other day I had to turn
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Book Review: The Best Getting Started Book for iPhone Development

photo credit: @davestone Disclosure: we get a lot of technical books sent to us from publishers. We tend to review the ones that we like and recommend. Occasionally when a book is truly horrible, we’ll sound the alarm. But if they’re mediocre, we’ll just let them fall in the forest without a sound. It’s official: the contest is over. The best getting-started-developing-iPhone-applications book
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Designing for Touch: The Science of Tap vs. Click

We know intuitively designing for a touch interface is different than a mouse driven interface. But why are they different? Let’s wrap a little bit of science around these two worlds. Both interfaces, tap or click, use the same three basic cognitive functions. Seeing, locating and acting. In the mouse world, a user sees an item of interest on the screen, locates the mouse to that item and then clicks. In the touch wo
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