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Main page   /   Mobile user interfaces design



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Mobile user interfaces
The same content or product might be displayed though several simultaneously used computer or mobile interfaces (mobile phones, smartphones or pocket PCs).
Most popular mobile interfces are - interfaces of mobile internet (WAP-sites), interfaces of mobile applications (for example, on JAVA), voice interfaces IVR-menu, text interfaces of interactions SMS and MMS, text menu interfaces USSD and STK.

Mobile interfaces

Specifics of a portable display electronics include a small screen, slow data transmission speed, small memory volume and some other limitations, which depend on the type of used equipment (specifics of data entry, great variety of platforms and models, each having certain peculiarities and technical limitations).

Currently over 20 manufacturers offer over 10,000 models of portable equipment. The number of systems and platforms they are based on exceeds 100.

Nowadays it is impossible to create efficient and user-friendly interface for any portable equipment without being aware of the influence this or that equipment type produces on the product design.


Mobile browsers

  • Mobile browsers do not support Flash applications and Javascript. Different browsers available on various models by the same manufacturer can display WCSS and XHTML Mobile Profile / WML / HTML differently.
  • Only a limited amount of information (KB) can be displayed on a mobile screen at a time. WAP/WEB pages heavy with content cannot be displayed in full on a screen
  • There are also certain limitations related to caching and cookies
  • Various protocol versions including WAP 1.0, WAP 1.1, WAP 1.2.0, WAP 1.2.1, WAP 2.0 have a considerable impact over capabilities of a mobile phone’s browser

Mobile OS

  • Each type of mobile phones is capable of playing only limited types of media files
  • The data transmission speed (WAP, GPRS, EDGE, 3G) varies depending on TTX, which limits the operating speed and the speed of data processing

Cost of traffic

  • The internet access from a mobile phone is much more expensive, than that from a desktop (one is to pay for each KB / MB of traffic). Each click made to download a WAP page costs something
  • The price varies greatly depending on the type of applied technology, i.e. WAP or GPRS/EDGE or 3G.

Small screens

  • Usually resolution of screens of standard portable equipment ranges between 96*75 and 240*320 pixels, whilst resolution of PC screens - between 800*600 and 1600*1200 pixels. Information easily fitting a PC screen will never be displayed relevantly on screens of portable equipment
  • At the same time, akin to PC screen standards, the displayed text cannot be smaller, than a certain standard; otherwise it will not be readable

Mobile Ergonomics

  • Data entry differs from that of a common PC with its keyboard, an array of keys and a mouse. When it comes to a mobile phone, one is to enter data using its keypad (12-20 keys, depending on a model), or a stylus / finger (applicable to mobile phones with touch-screens).
  • Quite often some efforts are needed to switch from visual to voice interface.

All these limitations (along with others) prevent web-designers or people specializing in PC interface engineering from creating relevant WAP sites, no matter how professional or experienced they are.

Quite often interface development companies venture to create web interface in spite of lacking relevant qualification. While engineering such websites, they rely only on screen size and then only transmit them in WAP format. However, there is a strong risk that the website engineered in such a way will be displayed irrelevantly (if at all) or totally different from the image seen on a PC screen.

The pitfalls, which are not much critical for website engineering, might become crucial with portable interface design.





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