Lately, I’ve received several similar questions from developers, and in response, I’ve decided to write some words about why one size doesn’t fit all, i.e. why you cannot create one app that would beautifully run on all phones. (My post on a related topic is here.)
I’ve recently had some interesting discussions with developers about user experience, and how it affects project costs. There seems to be two quite opposite ways of thinking.
Many times people think that “adding UX” will increase the costs. I think that “applying UX” will decrease the costs. And I fully agree with both statements! So, what’s the difference?
Yet another important change for the Nokia Asha UI is icon style. Let’s start with the launcher icons!
The launcher icon you need to create and pack with your MIDlet (or Web app, for that matter) is 50×50 pixel square shaped icon. This icon will show on the activity screen. However, when you look at your icon on the Home screen you will notice that your icon has in some mystical way changed to the surround shape. This is because the phone trims the icon to the correct shape. You don’t need to worry about that. In any other aspect, than you should try out how your icon will look when trimmed.
Last week, I started discussing the CategoryBar changes when moving from Series 40 full touch to the new Nokia Asha UI.
Another big difference is how back-stepping now works; whereas in full touch apps you have to place the “Back” button on the screen, with the Nokia Asha UI you mustn’t do that anymore. Nokia Asha has a hardware “Back” key that takes care of the back-stepping; you just need to define an “EXIT”-typed command to your main view (this will let the user exit the MIDlet) and “BACK”-typed Commands for all other views to let the user step backwards in navigation hierarchy.
You might have heard from the tech news outlets about the Leap Motion. If you haven’t yet, you will soon. It’s a black box about half the size of an average mouse (computer, not actual) that sits on your desk and tracks the 3D movement of your hand (actual, not computer). Essentially, it’s like an XBox Kinect but instead of tracking limb movements, it tracks fingers. These devices are being released mid-July but the here.com team were lucky enough to get into the developer preview program so that we could integrate the Leap with here.com.
The visual look and feel of Nokia Asha UI is very different from the previous Series 40 UI’s. Luckily, most of the API’s remained the same!
Want to know how the Asha UI looks like and read the UX documentation? Well, aren’t you lucky: here’s the link!
The Nokia Asha design guidelines provide a comprehensive set of UI component descriptions and UI patterns. For app icons, templates and guidelines are of course included. And to make things as simple as they can get, there’s also a UX checklist.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Asha UI in this blog. And don’t forget to check the Event calendar for Asha UI webinars!
The Nokia Asha full touch offering introduced an API called Category bar. In the UX guidelines it says that you should never, ever, in a million years place actions in there. Now why is that? Are we just trying to fool you with this guidance? No, we’re not. And this is why.
Nowadays everything seems to be getting smaller; SIM cards, computers, prices for TVs, transistors, pixel sizes of video screens. So, why not also reduce the size of a font or icon to get more information into your app? Small graphics look sharp and crisp on small displays with very low pixel sizes. It’s very tempting.
The answer is simple: We are now getting to a saturation point—actually we have been there for a while. In this context, saturation means that relevant UI components will not benefit from higher resolution.
No of course you don’t need a style guide. But people who are using your application desperately need you to need one. You know, the people who create the revenue for your application, either with ads or by paying for the application…