Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fonts for prototyping mobile UIs

Usability of mobile fonts ...

"I've seen many prototypes of mobile UIs that can't be built and if they could, would not be legible on a small LCD screen. So I thought I'd provide some pointers that might help those of you that is starting out. Often, people starting out prototyping mobile phone UIs get the size of the display right but the size of the font wrong. They try to stuff way too much in there, and they use a font size and font family that is not available in the phone.

If you design applications, you can make pixel perfect designs. If you design mobile web pages, you go for a rough estimate. Having the correct font is important if you design applications, less important if you make mobile websites.

Most current phones use anti-aliased fonts and many of these are available in TrueType versions that you can use on your PC. I've provided links to "official" sources, you may find more if you search the web, but quality may vary. (below)

Font families

Below is an overview the OS fonts used by Tier 1 manufacturers.
Nokia Series 40 and S60

* Nokia BW fonts
* S60 Sans (Monotype Inc.)

You can get a TrueType version of the S60 Sans font by downloading and installing one of the Nokia S60 SDks. The fonts currently used in Series 40 devices are the same (or close enough). Note that Series 40 and S60 does not use the same font size for the same screen size however.

Prior to 3rd edition, Nokia used BW fonts, one font for S60 and one font for Series 40. I handmade TrueType versions of these fonts 3 or 4 years ago. If you need them for the purpose of mobile UI prototyping, send me an email."    (Continued via Small Surfaces, Sender 11)    [Usability Resources]

Mobile Fonts - Usability, User Interface Design

Mobile Fonts


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