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Designing Great Mobile Apps
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Designing Great Mobile Apps


This is my presentation that I gave at 360Flex Denver. …

This is my presentation that I gave at 360Flex Denver.

So you want to build a mobile app? Unfortunately so does everyone else. But don't worry, this session will explore how you can set your application apart from the competition. We will explore a variety of topics including: visual design, common mobile UI patterns, challenges of mobile and touch interfaces, and how prototyping can give you an edge.

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  • UI prototyper 15 yrsMgr SDFUGACPFC Community Manager
  • Who has built apps for iOS? Android? Playbook? Other? None?
  • Building mobile apps are hard
  • Mobile devices are not the same as a desktopAbout the same CPU power as a desktop computer of 7 years ago and about 1/3 of the screenComputerBig ScreenPower SupplyConsistent NetworkKeyboardMouseChairDeskMobileSmall ScreenBatteryInconsistent NetworkFingersSensors
  • Context
  • IF you don’t get it right in your first outing, most will NOT be back
  • Careless !=Dumd
  • People want simplicity and ease
  • Play
  • Learn
  • Communicate
  • 4,000 patents on file for mousetraps
  • Your goal is find the missing mousetrap OR find a way to build a new and better mousetrap
  • Need to make the most of the user’s time and attention.
  • What’s around me? What can I do, Where can I go?
  • Quick learning curveCan be be used in short burstsKey component to many successful mobile apps.
  • Focused on the micro task of logging your run and routes.
  • An effortless experience requires streamlined choices of features-limited attention-limited time-limited pixels-limited processing power-limited connectivity
  • In Badge BookletsWhat’s My Schedule?Surprises!This session is not right for me, what can I go see?
  • Browser chromeSellingCan’t access all of the deviceBut can have a wider reach
  • iPhone – 15/16th of inch
  • Don’t crowd me inGive your UI some room to breatheYour UI needs to viewable from a distance
  • This pattern breaks you app into focused sub-tasksEarly Android UI patterns had the tab bar at the top of the screen, but can anyone tell me the issue with that location?
  • Paper Prototype
  • UI template files available for both iOS and AndroidBuild only want you need
  • Your App icon is your welcome mat.Design your icons for all the devices supported size: 29px, 36px, 48px, 57px, 72px, 512px
  • Focus on start up time.iOS does a great job of hiding this with their start screensBut this is not the time to recreate a Skip Intro UXOnce they are there, welcome them, show them around
  • Remember: users want quick easy access to your app, not to play an icon guessing game
  • Hidden elements
  • Hidden elements
  • Hidden elements


  • 1. Designing Great Mobile Apps
    Chris Griffith
  • 2. Disclaimer
    These opinions and thoughts are my own, and may or may not reflect the opinions of the company that I work for.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5. My Mobile App Portfolio
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8. We need a mobile APP!NOW!
  • 9. Building Mobile Apps is hard work.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12. Bored Users
  • 13. Fickle Users
  • 14.
  • 15. It begins with a simple touch…
  • 16. Gestures can be a mystery
  • 17. Designing for Dummies
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23. There’s Not an App for that!
  • 24. But is it mobile?
  • 25. Mobile Mindsets…
    I’m here!
    I’m bored!
    I’m working!
  • 26. I’m working
  • 27.
  • 28. I’m Here
  • 29.
  • 30. I’m bored
  • 31.
  • 32.
  • 33. What Makes Your App Special?
  • 34. Building the User Experience
  • 35. An effortless experience requires
    streamlined choices of features
    limited attention
    limited time
    limited pixels
    limited processing power
    limited connectivity
  • 36. What is your app’s quest?
  • 37. Focal Task/Key Problem
  • 38. What wrong a web app/site?
  • 39. Designing for the tiny
  • 40. Rule of Thumbs
    The average fingertip is 3x larger than the hand cursor
    Make your buttons 3x larger
    Then make them even larger
  • 41. With fingers, come hands…
  • 42.
  • 43.
  • 44. Pixels Per Inch (PPI)
    Data based on respective products published technical specifications
  • 45.
  • 46.
  • 47.
  • 48.
  • 49. Flat Card Pattern
    Quick Focused Content
    Varied Content Layout
    Low Chrome
    Traversing from start to end of the stack
    Issues of scaling the number of cards
    Tiny page dots
  • 50.
  • 51.
  • 52. Tab/Nav Bar Pattern
    Easy access to main sections
    Easy overview of the features and the context
    Navigation marker
    Limited number of tabs
    Tab always on screen
  • 53.
  • 54.
  • 55. List/Tree Pattern
    Scales past 5 items
    Direct interaction
    Limited UI chrome
    User must remember their navigation path
    Must travel to top node to access another branch
    Scroll risk
  • 56.
  • 57.
  • 58. Dashboard Pattern
    Reveals capabilities
    Offers shortcuts to key sections
    Can be colorful and engaging
    Falling out of favor
    Return Navigation mystery
    Hub-Spoke navigation
  • 59. Combination Patterns
  • 60.
  • 61. Be careful of your navigation path
  • 62.
  • 63.
  • 64. Put something on device
  • 65.
  • 66. Stand Out from the Crowd
  • 67. What’s your style
    Sleek and cool
    Fun and playful
  • 68.
  • 69. People judge an app by it’s cover
    App Icon
    Start Screen
    Overall Look
  • 70. Your App Icon == Your Brand
  • 71.
  • 72.
  • 73. It’s not a guessing game…
  • 74. Give Feedback
    Did I touch it?
    Is it working?
    Is there a signal?
  • 75. Design Tips
    for the Developer
  • 76. Provide surprises
  • 77.
  • 78.
  • 79.
  • 80. Mobile is Everywhere
  • 81. Now go build something!
  • 82. Thanks!