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Chapter 10. From Desktops to Handhelds > Designer's Palette: Guidelines for Han...

Designer's Palette: Guidelines for Hand Web Design

Context of use, mobility of user, and diversity of device integration give rise to a host of usability issues in designing for the hand Web. There are a number of guidelines to assist designers.

  • Develop phone Web devices that users can tailor readily and quickly to meet their needs. In cases where tailoring cannot be done automatically, users should be able to easily customize the interface to meet their requirements, the requirements of the physical constraints, and those of the location of use.

  • Define patterns of use for phone Web applications or services. For example, is the pattern one user at a time, or does the task require use by two or more people simultaneously?

  • Because mobile phones can be shared by groups of people in a public setting (for example, traveling and looking for directions), test a variety of viewing angles of the display to support group viewing. Such designs should include large character sets, display lighting, and high-contrast foreground and background combinations.

  • Consider the use of redundant audio output, particularly for situations where visual information acquisition is not convenient, such as while the user is driving a car or is in the dark.

  • Allow the user to easily adjust text size to improve viewing and reading in poor lighting conditions.

  • Allow users to manipulate and organize presented data quickly according to their individual requirements.

  • Make frequently used functionality available on first screens. Minimize the number of display levels to limit the menu surfing required to access frequently used functions.

  • Provide command buttons for high-frequency functions.

  • Phone Web devices should approximate the quickness associated with voice phone interaction: quick command execution, quick page navigation, and quick data searches.

  • Allow users to access and navigate Web pages, sites, and information in more than one designated way.

  • Design the functionality to minimize the need for typing or key entry on phone devices.

  • Consider the use of voice commands for navigating—for example, “back” and “next” or “up” and “down.”

  • Keep links short; one word is preferable.

  • Choose meaningful words for links; use those that are familiar to the users by selecting them from the audience lexicon.

  • Consider the use of voice commands for one-word links.

  • Allow users more than one way of marking and highlighting important information, such as boldfacing and changing font.

  • Designers should conduct contextual inquiries as part of their usability evaluations to determine what tasks, functions, and habits are prevalent among different types of mobile Web users.

  • Provide text and background in high-contrast combinations.

  • For data tables, label row and column headers.

  • Avoid the use of blinking content as a coding technique.

  • Create a style of presentation that is consistent across pages.

  • Limit the use of “very small” devices to applications and services where text is the most suitable presentation form.

  • Design with speed of access and speed of interaction in mind.

  • Upon request, a first page on a phone Web device should come up within a matter of a few seconds.

  • The rule that “form follows function” is especially true for very small display devices.

  • Because of the small real estate, hierarchical organization is a must.

  • Make sure that screen layout is consistent.

  • Establish visual identity on the display by using consistent visual elements and style.



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