Windows Mobile User Interfaces
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” - Albert Einstein
The Mobile GUI Experience
The user interface experience of the mobile user is completely different
to the Windows desktop. Old habits die hard however, and even accomplished
developers need to make a concerted effort not to let their desktop
perspective impact their mobile GUI design.
A good example of this is the way that the Windows desktop menu's are
often positioned on the left hand side of the screen. That design does not
translate well to the Windows Mobile device, because if you are right
handed, as you navigate the menu system with the stylus, your hand will
restrict your view of the screen. This mistake also highlights the need for
real world testing (in the field using the device as it is intended) rather
than testing the UI on the desktop emulator using a mouse to input data.
Other UI choices, such as screen colors, may seem acceptable until you
get into the field and realize that there isn't enough contrast in the UI
and that it isn't visible under sunlight.
Input methods are another area underestimated and perhaps misunderstood when
designing Windows Mobile applications. You can enter data using the embedded
keyboard, the block or letter recognizer and transcriber. Each of these
methods have their strengths and weaknesses. The environment that the device
will be used in will impact the appropriate use of certain input
methods. For example using a Windows Mobile device with gloves on is not easy and in
this instance the utility of a well designed numeric control to enter test
data would be infinitely preferable than using the embedded keyboard.
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