With hundreds of thousands of mobile applications available today, your app has to capture users immediately. This book provides practical techniques to help. Designing Mobile Interfaces. Steven Hoober. Eric Berkman. O'REILLY8. Beijing •. Cambridge •. Farnham •. Kbln •. Sebastopol • Tokyo. for the O'Reilly book Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober & Eric .. ( PDF). • Download an overview of. Microsoft XP Tablet Edition.

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Designing for mobile web can be challenging and there are a lot of usable user interfaces for mobile web sites, especially in the area of. Designing interfaces: patterns for efiective in- teraction design. UI patterns. Mobile UI design has different challenges than for large screen +. You'll learn core principles for designing effective user interfaces, along with a set of common patterns for interaction design on all types of mobile devices.

The mobile interfaces could support and boost situations that lead to learning, however it is essential to minimize the interaction difficulties, and maximize the learning activities itself. To achieve that, this work presents a design proposal and prototype of mobile phone interfaces for supporting mobile collaborative discussion, illustrating the ideas and the design decisions.

In the proposed design, the resources of the interfaces are essentials to enable users to explain better their ideas; for that the paper presents multimedia interfaces to share images, sounds, and videos during the discussions.

We also present a discussion about the impacts of this approach for informal education, and preliminary results from a qualitative analysis with real users. The fast evolution of the technology, social network services and mobile platforms transformed the traditional notions of community and intercultural communication.

Some researchers claim that a new connected and mobile society is emerging, with a variety of information sources and means of communication at home, at work, at schools and in the community [1]. These devices can help us to perform educational and leisure activities in a collaborative way, sharing knowledge of how to perform or perform them better.

In this work, the informal education is understood as the lifelong education in which people learn from everyday experience, focusing in aspects related to our lives [2]. In the real world, most of the time we do not have lessons plans to follow, instead we respond to situations and experiences, as well as we learn from them. In this scenario, mobility can be used for supporting education.

Keegan [3] points out that the recent evolution in supporting technology for education can be seen firstly in distance education d-Learning , then in electronic learning e-Learning and finally in mobile learning m-Learning , called the "mobile revolution of the XXI century". According to Sharples [4], these mobile learning devices allow learners to learn wherever they are located and in their personal context then the learning is meaningful.

The advent of mobile devices has created new opportunities that go beyond the simple communication between people. There are new learning scenarios that can be supported by mobile devices, given that these devices can be present at anytime and anywhere. However, subjects related to this type of education normally are diverse and comprehensive, consequently are necessary technological solutions that allow the involved people interact and act in a collaborative way. There is a growing need to make m-Learning more interactive, stimulating the sharing of knowledge in a way that is not restricted to certain issues, place or time constraints.

1. Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst

In order to achieve this objective, it is necessary to create situations that lead to the social and cultural impact on the use of mobile technologies, contributing in a practical way with the education and socialization of the citizens.

At this context, interfaces have a primary role in enabling communication and collaboration among the evolved parties.

In a learning environment for informal education, it is essential to design interfaces that minimize the interaction difficulties and maximize the learning activities itself.

One big challenge is to deal with the devices restrictions, such as: screen size, performance, and data input difficulties. Another challenge is to provide appropriated interfaces to be used at different places, situations and contexts. However, the approach adopted in these works focus mainly on classroom activities inside the school environment.

Thus, it is also necessary to think and develop new appropriate methodologies and techniques for the use of mobile devices in learning processes outside the classroom. These methodologies and techniques can focus more than just in formal education, given their peculiar characteristics and capabilities that could support alternative forms of lifelong learning and informal education.

Additionally, it is also necessary to have new technological solutions for mobile interfaces that allow the involved people to act in a collaborative way taking into account the self organization of the learning groups. For that, we present a reflection on how the mobile collaborative learning could contribute to the development of informal education.

Based on it a proposal is presented for a prototype of a mobile computing environment, illustring the design proposal of a mobile phone interface for mobile collaborative discussion. A new approach aims to the enrichment of this interface, employing different medias and forms of interaction. Using multimedia interfaces is possible to practitioners share images, sounds, and videos during the discussions.

In the proposed design, the resources of these interfaces are essentials to enable the practitioners to explain better their ideas.

Therefore it is expected to create a technological solution that allows educational development in a mobile and collaborative way outside the school environment.

This work is organized as follows: Section 2 presents the theoretical referential; Section 3 presents a reflection on a new perspective for the development of informal education, explaining the approach and the design requirements, conception, principles and decisions; Section 4 presents the mobile software through the prototype and examples; Section 5 discusses the impact of the interface design decisions for the constitution of the communities and for the promotion of informal education; and Section 6 concludes and presents the future works.

In ancient Greece, education was generally made on the streets at events in which people learned from each other through dialogues and discussions. Fisher et al. For Smith [2] informal education does not have lessons or plans to follow. The informal is done through situations and experiences, and this can occur at any place, different from formal education, which is strongly linked to institutions and classrooms. Besides, by not setting the time and location for the occurrence of activities, informal education is flexible for adapting the content of learning for each group in particular.

It is also important to notice that according to Smith [2] the purpose of informal education is not different from any other form of education, it differs only in its scope and focus on aspects related to the common and everyday life.

Advances in Human-Computer Interaction

Informal education is related to a process of continuous learning, since we can learn all the time, every day and anywhere about a wide range of issues. In this sense, considering that this educational practice takes into account the learning that occurs on interactions and occupations emerged in the everyday life, it is possible to establish a relationship between informal education and mobile collaborative learning.

This issue is explored in the next section. According to Dillenbourg [12], we cannot set a precise or exhaustive definition for collaborative learning.

To sum up, it is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together interacting in a collaborative way. It describes a situation in which particular forms of interaction among people are expected to occur, which would trigger learning mechanisms. Hence, a general concern is to develop ways to increase the probability in which some types of interaction occur.

Furthermore, collaborative learning must include situations, interactions, processes and effects. Stahl et al. The basis of collaborative learning is in the interaction and exchange of information. Therefore technological mediums hardware and software that allow this interaction in an easier, simpler and more effective way can contribute to make this process more dynamic and effective.

Collaborative learning through mobile devices has been investigated mainly because of the agility and mobility offered by these devices. Mobility has changed the contexts of learning and modes of collaboration, requiring different design approaches from those used in the traditional system developed to support teaching and learning.

According to Roschelle et al. These technologies provide new opportunities to promote and enhance collaboration by engaging learners in a variety of activities across different places and contexts. A main challenge is to identify how to design and deploy mobile tools and services that could be used to support collaboration in different kinds of settings.

These different settings provide innovative ways for people and devices to interact by enabling learning to take place beyond the walls of the classroom and the screen of a computer [14]. Also, mobile collaborative learning activities manage and encourage tasks that include: monitoring real-time progress with respect to learning objectives and controlling interaction, negotiation, coordination and communication of the involved people. The related works in the literature, which focus on design of mobile collaborative learning activities, e.

Designing Mobile Interfaces

The work of Breuer et al. Other related works and approaches can be seen in [21], [22] and [23]. Nevertheless, none of these works have explicitly pointed out a particular solution to design a mobile application for the development of informal education outside the school environment. Therefore, this subject should be investigated in a deeper way, so it could create new educational paradigms not yet explored in the literature, and the proposal presented in this work is part of this scope of research.


It is the core of what makes human beings capable of meaningful knowing [24]. The communities of practice are based in the social theory of learning. According to Wenger [25] this theory integrates the components: practice, meaning, identity and community as necessary to characterize social participation as a process of learning and of knowing.

The main idea of the CoP is the individual as an active participant in the practices of social communities with common interest in some subject or problem, and that s he can collaborate and share ideas.

These communities are in everywhere and people belong to a number of them: at work, at school, at home, and even in hobbies. A CoP is thus different from a community of interest or a geographical community, neither of which implies a shared practice.

In the next section a reflection will be presented about a new perspective for the development of informal education through the use of mobile collaborative learning by CoPs. The use of mobile devices with appropriate software applications could support and intensify opportunities for learning since it can enable interaction anywhere and anytime; therefore it can be an option for the development of informal education.

This process is collective and involves mainly action, meaning, identity and social participation through communication, dialogue and collaboration. Mobile technological mediums seem like an interesting way to develop this process, contributing to turn it more dynamic and effective through agility and mobility. This work uses the informal education as focus, since in this form of education any issue can be discussed and explored by users.

It also considers the mobile phone interfaces for the constitution of communities of practice aiming to promote the informal education. The use of mobile learning can intensify the chances of learning due to time and place flexibility, creating in this matter, novel possibilities for the development of the informal education. In this context, the mobile learning can boost the development of the informal education since it opens new possibilities for action and relationship of the individual with the world, and therefore allows interventions through interactions and collaboration.

Moreover, individuals in face of a new situation or problem are supposed to act in a more agile and flexible way if they share knowledge with others. The joining of these two forms of learning mobile and collaborative can provide a special condition for the occurrence of informal education, since they bring peculiar characteristics that can be best exploited through a properly designed mobile computational environment. In this context, users can take advantage of the environment through the free exploration of these ideas and doubts in the interaction with each other, allowing the generation of new knowledge, and contributing to their education and development as citizens.

Thus, the computational proposal presented in this work foresees that the participants must have more possibilities and freedom to interact and propose collaborative discussions on topics related to the interests and practices of the groups. The use of multimedia must be more and better explored in educational contexts, especially in the informal ones, since it can contribute to a better and diversified formation of the individuals [28].

The multimedia instructional messages can be strongly used in the learning environments, since they are characterized by the exploitation of new knowledge and feelings. For Mayer [29] multimedia instructional messages is the communication using words, images in movement or not which intends to promote a learning. According to this principle, students learn better with words and pictures than with words alone.

His studies indicate that when words and images are presented on a joint, students can build verbal and pictorial mental models, and also build relationships between these models. When words are presented alone, students just are able to develop verbal mental models, but they are less susceptible to develop a pictorial mental model and make connections between them.

Collaboration between learners can be benefited from representations such as images and animations, as they may have the role of referential anchors in the building of a shared understanding. With the use of multimedia, users can employ some artifice like image, video or sound to explain their point of view quickly and easily in a context of collaborative learning [30].

Furthermore, other users of the environment can use their imagination to understand the correlation of the image, video or sound along with text and the context under study, reaching conclusions on the explanation of the ideas from the involved.

In this perspective, the approach to the exploration of multimedia in a mobile application to support the collaborative learning is plausible, since all necessary resources to capture and storage the audio- visual resources is already found in the mobile devices. The next section presents a mobile prototype interface designed based on the approach discussed in this section.

In order to build the prototype was necessary to develop and organize interfaces and different forms of interaction, with multiplies forms of collaboration that must be available in the environment. It was also necessary to provide the minimum of information that must be contained on these interfaces in a simple way.

Several requirements was considered such as the flexibility of the application components to fit the different contexts of collaborative use which are numerous when it deals with informal education ; additionally, the application should provide many ways of expression.

With this objective the prototype adopted various media as a form to develop a richer and fruitful collaboration. Thus, the prototype designed in this work shows an organized set of design interfaces capable of supporting collaboration in synchronous and asynchronous ways.

Additionally, we proposed a mechanism to consolidate highlight the messages in a synchronous collaborative process, and to vote the situations states of the developed collaborations.

Figure 1 shows a general view of the proposed environment. Figure 1: General view of the mobile collaborative environment According to the scheme presented in Figure 1, collaborations occur in the environment by sending synchronous chat and asynchronous messages commentaries.

The users collaborate to consolidate the collaboration, which gives emphasis to specific messages, and to provide the status of the collaborations. The computational proposal foresees that the participants must have more possibilities and freedom to interact and propose collaboratively discussions on topics related to the interests and practices of the groups through the software. The goal is to provide a virtual mobile environment that can support the constitution of CoP, in this way, individuals with similar interests and practices can constitute group of collaborators.

The communities are represented by groups in the software. They are created by users in order to organize topics related to the main group proposes. Furthermore, due to the large range of topics that can be discussed, it was created a way to organize the information in hierarchical levels: 1 Groups communities , first division of themes; Topics, within a group there are several topics, and 3 Collaborations, numerous collaborations can be associated to one topic.

The process of developing collaboration can start by inserting a new group, or choosing a group that already exists. The groups represent the CoP and they have a vital role within the environment, since they organize the various themes that can be related to informal education into specific areas. Users of a same group are people with common interests and practices in which the objective is to discuss problems and find out solutions in a collaborative way.

It means that a group is a specific area of formal or informal knowledge where users can be grouped, and topics and collaborations are organized. Users are able to join the existing groups, or create new ones, as they want. In the next section, the developed prototype will be presented through examples. These groups perform discussions through collaboration sessions. In the prototype, the collaboration occurs through synchronous and asynchronous multimedia messages.

A specific group of collaborators, in a discussion, can consolidate highlight messages that could be important to someone that may want to know a synthesis of it. The users can decide which state situation each collaboration is, for example any collaborator could vote if they find out the solution of a problem or not. The users can also search discussions by topic in order to know more about some problem, and give opinions commentaries using asynchronous messages even after the end of a synchronous session.

Within the groups can be added various topics see Figure 3a and 3b and within the topics is possible to add new collaborations. Figure 3b shows the list of topics for a group called Bikes, in this interface users can choose a topic to add a new collaboration to interact through synchronous and asynchronous messages.

After sending the message, it is displayed in an interface that centralizes the messages from all involved collaborators in the discussion, as shown in Figure 4b. This illustrates the interface with an example of synchronous message exchange in which users establish a communication chat from a defined theme — in this case "Nature and Profits" - and specify his "speech" as the type: question, answer, solution, questions, etc.

The participants can also select which synchronous messages should be "consolidated" during the chat Figure 4c. These consolidated messages have an important role because they will describe a summary of all the synchronous interaction with the most important messages selected by users in a specific issue. Figure 4c shows an example of consolidated messages of the collaboration developed in Figure 4b.

Other users of the environment can also see this summary Figure 4c illustrates this interface. The occurrence of communication via asynchronous messages - as shown in Figure 5a - is a way to add new information to synchronous collaboration developed or under development. This type of communication will be especially useful in two situations: 1 When the theme of collaboration takes several days to be resolved, in which there is a need for several rounds of synchronous interaction online chat.

In this case the commentaries asynchronous messages can be a way to divulge possible solutions at any time between the online conversations. These commentaries can be discussed in a new round of synchronous collaboration, thus the discussions of the chat synchronous messages are articulated with the commentaries asynchronous messages.

As illustrated in Figure 5b, another proposed way for supporting the collaborative environment is to define possible "states" for the developed collaborations. Collaborators can vote on the basis of information from the collaboration synchronous and asynchronous messages to classify the status of the collaboration; e. This is an important functionality because this interface takes into account the opinions from users.

This state or situation refers to what has been discussed in a collaboration session determined subject proposed by one person , so a situation would be, for example, the impossibility of conclusion or resolution. That is, the participants of the collaboration interacted with each other and exchanged messages, but they did not reach a definitive conclusion about the problem in question.

Different final situations to a collaboration session can be defined in the prototype. The objective is to have a number of situations selected by the users of the application, presenting in this matter different points of view from the same collaboration, enabling users to check if that collaboration has generated interesting results or not see Figure 5c.

Figure 4c shows an example of consolidated messages from the collaboration developed in Figure 4b. Figure 5a illustrates an interface of commentaries, in which users sent asynchronous messages to a collaboration named "Problems with Java".

Finally Figure 5b shows the vote results made by users for the collaboration entitled "Problems with Java". Besides these aspects, the environment encourages autonomy by providing resources for the self-organization through the collaboration sessions. Users can launch themes for discussion; they can be involved in the resolution of a problem, choosing the relevant solutions, and they can point out the status of the collaborations.

Therefore the proposal is not to provide functionalities in a software environment to produce video or sound collaboratively, but to use these resources.

There would have proposed means to make the explanation of the exact through the abstract, the art through images, audio and videos helping in a process of collaborative learning between users through mobile devices. Consequently is discussed how the multimedia was introduced in the collaborative learning through the interfaces of the prototype. We should clarify that was assumed that the media archives were already recorded in the respective mobile devices, and the software interfaces only use the media that is already available.

In the prototype, besides other interfaces for the management of the collaborative environment, from the specific interface for sending messages, we developed an interface mechanism for the inclusion of multimedia; which provides means to include medias of the following types: image, audio and video. Thus, when users are interacting in the collaboration, they may attach media in their messages. Figure 6 a shows an example of interaction sending the message using multimedia; for that, the user will need to click on the menu "Add media" in order to add a media in the message using the interface of messages.

In sequence as shown by Figure 6 b , the multimedia interface appears to the user.

In this interface users can see the name of the collaboration, the text message and what type of collaboration chat or commentary media will be attached to this message. At this moment, the user has the option to list the three types of media available to be manipulated in the environment, as shown the right side menu of Figure 6 b. People can choose a media file, as illustrated in Figure 7 a. This interface displays the list of all media available in the device, given the type chosen in the menu.

After that users can visualize it, as shown in Figure 7 b the example shows an audio that presents the media after the selection. In this way, users can attach the media in the message through an option from the menu in the interface shown in Figure 7 b. After sending a new message to the collaboration, the media attached to the message will be available to other users. The sent message will have an icon on the interface of the collaboration that will indicate whether a media has been attached and what type of media.

Figure 8 illustrates the types of icons that will appear in the interface indicating the media added. Types of icons used to represent the several media available by the interface: a image, b audio and c video. The clear tab bar right is much better than cluttered one left.

Image credits: Apple Tip: If you want to reduce clutter on a screen which represents a part of the user flow — show only what is necessary on the current step of the flow. For example, when a user is making a choice, reveal enough information to allow them the choice, then dive into details on the next screen s.

Interface Design for Mobile Applications

Avoid hidden navigation such as gesture-driven because most users will have a hard time finding it. Consistent navigation. Mobile app developers often hide menus on individual pages. Communicate the current location. Failing to indicate the current location is the common problem for many mobile apps. The majority of users are familiar with both navigation patterns. No need to get clever if a simple solution works. Unlike desktop where users can use hover effects to understand whether something is interactive or not, on mobile users can check interactivity only by tapping on an element.

Users should be able to correctly predict how an interface element will behave just by looking at it. As a rule of thumb, design controls that have touch area of 7—10 mm so they can be accurately tapped with a finger. Such tap target makes the edges of the target visible for the users when they touch it. While a thumb can sweep most of the screen on most mobile screens, only a third of the screen is a genuinely effortless territory.

This territory is called the natural thumb zone. Other zones require finger stretching or even changing the grip to reach them. Based on hand placement left, right, or combined , we can see how the safe zone looks like on the modern mobile device see a green area on the following image.Minor visual impairments can usually be addressed by magnifying the size of interactive elements, increasing color contrast, or selecting appropriate color combinations for color-blinded users [ 18 ].

The results showed that the vertical list was better than the fisheye menu in task execution time; thus, the vertical list was superior to the fisheye list in terms of learnability. Jeffs, T. This illustrates the need of empirically based guidelines to assist designers in designing accessible applications in mobile context.

Early studies on sorting and filtering focused on data organizational patterns. Desktop computers are always stationary, whereas mobile device is ubiquitous. Towards a design framework for mobile computer supported collaborative learning.

Rather, icon recognition was influenced by icon concreteness and abstractness.

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