Android, iPhone, and User Interface

Usually when Android and iPhone are used in the same sentence, it is a comparison of the devices whether that be hardware or that be software. But setting aside benchmarks and the like, these devices gave more in common than the credit that has been given. The common problem with these devices is the interface design limits the user experience. Although this problem has existed for years now, the increase in interest in the mobile devices has accelerated this problem.

Interface design is a topic which requires an enormous attention to details. When designing, I am always questioning what are my design objectives, how do users experience the page, and what adjustments could be made to improve the experience. Basically these questions aide in avoiding bad design decisions through continuous evaluation at each design stage. I would like to express certain portions of design that I have encountered which are not in any particular order.

Familiarity
Just like any other design, design for mobile devices should be intuitive. The design should capitalize upon the tools available while having a clear intent. The key point of this kind of design boils down to familiarity; design just as users expect. For example, if a user expects options to be on the bottom right hand of the screen, then the options should not be on the top left hand side if the screen.

Usability
An app can have all the functionality in the world,but if a user cannot easily use the app, then there is no point in having the functionality. By thinking of how user may use the app, an app can avoid making the user jump through unnecessary hoops to get something done. For example, a contact app should have an inline button to easily add contact information rather than have an edit button at the top of the window.

Integration
It is important to design using as many of the default images or colors as possible. This creates a skin that looks well integrated with the OS while maintaining familiarity. Of course, overusing the defaults will make an app really boring and dull. In my experience, a pretty and clean skin is the part that attracts users as it makes an app easy to use.

Word choice
Wording is another important part of design as it can either create confusion or further understanding. Certain word choices can convey different meanings which may not be intended so it is imperative to pay attention to this detail. As a side effect, certain word choices can also change the speech level or focus. For example, instead of saying “you can do X,” “X is available” changes the focus from you to X.

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