Sunday, December 09, 2007

Guidelines for Handheld & Mobile Devide User Interface

An online guideline for designing mobile devices ...

"While there has been much successful work in developing rules to guide the design and implementation of interfaces for desktop machines and their applications, the design of mobile device interfaces is still relatively unexplored and unproven. This paper discusses the characteristics and limitations of current mobile device interfaces, especially compared to the desktop environment. Using existing interface guidelines as a starting point, a set of practical design guidelines for mobile device interfaces is proposed.


Handheld mobile devices, including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones, have become increasingly prevalent. However, while Shneiderman’s “Golden Rules of Interface Design” [14] have existed for some time now, there have been no similar guidelines developed for mobile devices. This paper presents work-in-progress towards addressing this gap, and proposes a set of guidelines for mobile device interface design. The guidelines use the Golden Rules as a starting point, and are grounded in previous research on mobile device design and use.


Half of Shneiderman’s eight interface design guidelines apply to mobile devices without explicit changes.

Enable Frequent Users to Use Shortcuts

As the frequency of use increases, so does a user's desires to reduce the number of interactions and to increase the pace of interaction. Because time is often more critical to a mobile device user[11]. Reducing the number of operations needed to perform regular (i.e., repetitive) tasks is a key factor in the ease of use of mobile devices.

Offer Informative Feedback
For every operator action, there should be some system feedback, such as a beep when pressing a key or an error message for an invalid input value. Such feedback should be substantial and understandable by the user. For example, the messages “HTTP404 ERROR” and “THE PAGE CAN NOT BE FOUND” may be equivalent, but the latter will most likely be of greater benefit to most users.

Design Dialogs to Yield Closure

Sequences of actions should be organized into groups with a beginning, middle, and end. Users should be given the satisfaction of accomplishment and completion, no matter whether they are using desktop computers or mobile devices.

Support Internal Locus of Control

Users want to be in charge of the system and have the system respond to their actions, rather than feeling that the system is controlling them. Systems should be designed such that users initiate actions rather respond to them. This guideline is applicable both to traditional desktop applications and mobile device applications."    (Continued via Scribd)    [Usability Resources]


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