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Building Mobile Applications with Java by Joshua Marinacci

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Chapter 6. Advanced Mobile Optimizations

Optimizing the Experience

I often have developers ask me how to make a mobile version of their existing web or desktop app. The only answer I have is to simplify your interface. Mobile devices have less screen space, less CPU and memory, and the users are often on the go with little time for navigation. These would seem to be the obvious reasons for simplifying the interface, but reality is actually much more subtle.

Consider the following. Most websites are designed to entice the user. People come from all over and stumble across the website, perhaps via a search engine or Facebook link. The site must entice the user to stick around, try the features/services, and hopefully sign up; either by giving their email address or actually paying money for something. Websites are also used by returning users to actually use the services of the site. To deal with these different use cases websites become complex beasts, sometimes growing so large as to need the dreaded site map. If you need a sitemap then your design has utterly failed. A good interface is the sitemap.

In the mobile app arena things are a bit different. Sure, your app is a bit of a sales tool because it gives the user the best possible view of your services, but you don’t have to do the initial sales pitch. If someone has downloaded your app then they have already made a decision to use your product, or at least give it a serious try. Installing an app is more of a commitment than loading ...

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