Delightful Mobile Design practices

April 23rd, 2012 | Biz Blogs, Technical Blogs | Comments Off

OR How to create remarkable design that people would love talking about.

This is not mobile design best practices. This is about going the extra mile in developing an app that wows users and creates a superlative user experience. It may be hard to include all these ideas in every application one creates, but some ideas are really worth imbibing in practice. This is more about the UI design then the application architecture but it was hard for me to separate the two when I look at it from user’s experience. So, I’ve conjoined the two aspects of design under the same flow.

Exceptional/minority inclusion – Design apps for the users who are exceptional or in minority – old, disabled, visually impaired, color blind, left handed. You may allow user to set navigation option for left handers, create animated visual indicators or audio instructions for old and visually impaired.

Clear visual indicators of action points – the app should guide you on the next step. The ‘Save button’ to be clicked before going to next screen may turn green, or flash or develop a colored halo to indicate it is the recommended action. You may also add some audio indicators as they are unobtrusive.

Airbnb

Visual indicator for action item

No pop over – avoid popups so much that they occur only in exceptional or unavoidable cases. Instead of asking a delete confirmation over popup – make it two step.

Facebook

Could have done better with two buttons

Shortcut gestures – have an intuitive gesture as a shortcut to classic approach but don’t forego the classic approach. Include the classes but don’t forget the masses.

Store preferences, last inputs if possible – Nothing delights more than the idea of NOT having to input data again.

Offline mode – do not expect users to always be connected. Allow them to use the app offline, even with stale data. Also handle weak network, intermittent network loss conditions.

Economy mode – The app may suggest economic ways of consuming data – allow a switch between paid and free networks as convenient, may be automatically. Also some user may love economy of power and memory at a little loss of performance. You may allow adjusting screen brightness or do it automatically based on ambience.

Least interruption – other than popups there are other clutters one must avoid. Uploading/ downloading/ processing indicators should also be avoided as much as possible. A background process is best run in the background without hindering user interaction. If it requires user input it is #fail. If it is visible – it is distracting. Drop any visual indicators of a background process unless and until the user is ‘required’ to be aware of it or his decisions would be affected because of it.

Less clicks is more fun – Unless it is a game of tic-tac-toe or tap-tap-tap tapping on virtual buttons is no fun. Save/Sync the information automatically, save state before exiting and the users are compelled to say ‘Wow!’Path (12/2011)

Saves a click as the info is rite-on-the-page

Easter eggs – Now, this is not just about delighting the user. It also makes your application viral because users would have cool things to talk about, blog and share over the internet. In fact, hiding one of the awesome features for discovering later can bring wows, if done smartly.

There can be more pointers to a great design but I guess this is an age of “Less is more”.

Enterprise Mobility Software Features

April 23rd, 2012 | Biz Blogs, Technical Blogs | Comments Off

ESSENTIAL CHECKLIST!

Here’s a little drill down to lower level of enterprise software design. I’ve tried to list some smart features that are must have for any enterprise mobility solution. This can also serve as smartphone based enterprise solution checklist.

Secure- Two factor login, other secure login, encrypted data storage, encrypted data communication.

Monitor – logs usage in call, sms, data. Maintains a list of all installed software and running services. Keeps check on any data security breach. Analytics should be an important part of the main software – it helps you measure Usage patterns and ROI. It also becomes most important feedback for ongoing formulation of mobile strategy.

Backup – automatically syncs or allows user to backup data on central server

Anti-Malware – Protects the mobile device and keeps a check on any intrusive software or app.

Optimized – Optimized performance, memory and battery usage. These three factors are important for continued reliable usage on a small device.

Enterprisey – This is a list of features that are important for rendering an enterprise-like feel to the mobile software. Spell correction, drag and drop, version control for contents etc. help in making the software intuitive and easy for adoption.