Chapter 15Designing Apps for Mobile Devices

User Interface designers decide how users will have access to layers of information displayed on screens. They know how to adapt their designs to the size and format of the monitors. However, the difference between a computer screen, a tablet, and a smart phone is more than just the number of pixels.

The task of designers is greatly complicated when the screens are on mobile devices and when viewers are no longer sitting down in front of a computer or relaxing comfortably with a laptop on their knees. In terms of usability, touch-screen manipulations represent a quantum leap. As a designer, you have to figure out when, where, and how users interact with their handheld computer. Are they wearing headphones? Do they expect the images to be scalable? How important to them is a truly convenient search function? Issues of functionality are first and foremost, but just as important are layout considerations. The choices made by designers must integrate complex technological but also societal considerations.

Apps designers are usually self-motivated. In the digital age, creating a successful app is the ultimate fantasy, a popular rag-to-riches scheme. Granted, some people have become instant millionaires when launching small, dedicated, downloadable pieces of software—Instagram, Snapchat, Doodle Jump. Others have yet to stumble on an economic model to justify the expenditure of time, money, energy, and talent. Most exciting about designing ...

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