Essential Mobile Interaction Design: Perfecting Interface Design in Mobile Apps / Edition 1

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Design User-Friendly, Intuitive Smartphone and Tablet Apps for Any Platform

Mobile apps should feel natural and intuitive, and users should understand them quickly and easily. This means that effective interaction and interface design is crucial. However, few mobile app developers (or even designers) have had adequate training in these areas. Essential Mobile Interaction Design fills this gap, bringing together proven principles and techniques you can use in your next app–for any platform, target device, or user.

This tutorial requires virtually no design or programming knowledge. Even if you’ve never designed a mobile app before, this guide teaches you the key skills that lead to the best results. Cameron Banga and Josh Weinhold help you master the mindset, processes, and vocabulary of mobile interaction design, so you can start making better choices right away. They guide you through the entire design process, demystifying issues that arise at every stage.

The authors share hard-won lessons from years of experience developing more than one hundred mobile apps for clients and customers of every type. They cover important issues that platform-specific guides often overlook, including internationalization, accessibility, hybrid apps, sandboxing, and what to do after release.

This guide shows you how to

  • Think through your designs, instead of just throwing together UI elements
  • Allow an intuitive design flow to emerge from your app
  • Sketch and wireframe apps more effectively
  • Reflect key differences among smartphones, tablets, and desktops
  • Design for visual appeal without compromising usability
  • Work effectively with programmers
  • Make sure your apps are accessible to everyone
  • Get usable feedback, and understand what it’s telling you
  • Learn valuable lessons from today’s most successful apps
  • Refresh your designs in new apps and future versions
  • Discover new tools for designing more successfully

Packed with iOS and Android examples, Essential Mobile Interaction Design offers dozens of tips and solutions that will be equally useful on today’s platforms and on whatever comes next. Extensive resources are available at

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In Essential Mobile Interaction Design, Banga and Weinhold do a great job of explaining what it takes to make a good-looking and easy-to-use app. The accessible language and visual examples of quality work combine to make this book a great resource for those looking to get into app design, or to take their craft to the next level.”

– Jon Becker, boom. reactive.

Essential Mobile Interaction Design is not merely a book full of pictures and design concepts or one of straight technical drivel. Instead, it is a guidebook for creating human-based interfaces that feature simplicity, functionality, and value. Whether you have questions about how mobile design is different from traditional desktop design, how to work with a developer, or even what tools to use for the creation process, Essential Mobile Interaction Design demonstrates the answer for that.”

– Phil Dutson, Lead UX and Mobile Developer, ICON Health & Fitness

“Filled with nuggets of useful information, this book is a solid resource for the many aspects of designing a mobile app. I’ve found many recommendations in this book that we can use in our apps.”

– Lucius Kwok, CEO, Felt Tip, Inc.

“A well-rounded, easy-to-read book that provides a good grounding in mobile design and how to keep all those small details in mind so that your apps will really shine.”

– Dave Verwer, Shiny Development and iOS Dev Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321961570
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 4/11/2014
  • Series: Usability Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 708,046
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cameron Banga is lead designer at 9magnets LLC, a company he cofounded. He has worked on more than one hundred mobile apps for clients ranging from pro sports teams to educators to large corporations. His first application, Battery Go!, quickly became an iPhone best seller. His apps have been recommended by the New York Times, Fox Business News, Macworld, PC Magazine, and many other media outlets.

Josh Weinhold is assistant editor of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine. He shared a National Press Club Online Journalism Award with other members of an Truth reporting team, and won The Chicago Bar Association’s Herman Kogan Award for legal beat reporting.

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Table of Contents

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xix

About the Authors xxi

Chapter 1: A Look at Mobile and Its Main Players 1

The Field of Interface Design 2

The Dawn of the App 3

What Is a Mobile Device? 8

The Industry’s Key Players 12

Distinctions between Platforms 16

Conclusion 19

Chapter 2: Design for Humans, by Humans 21

What Is Interaction Design? 22

Goals When Designing an Interface 25

Designing for Humans 25

Designed by Humans 28

Where to Begin 30

Anticipating Your User Base 32

Mobile’s Role in User Workflow 35

Conclusion 37

Chapter 3: Dynamic Differences in Mobile Design 39

Understanding the Role of Mobile 40

Mobile-Only Interactions 41

Interactions That Aren’t Possible on Mobile 46

Universal Appeal 48

Complementing Traditional Workflows 55

Conclusion 57

Chapter 4: First Sketches of an App 59

What Tools Do You Need? 60

Becoming a Designer 65

Planning for a Specific Platform 66

Starting with a Workflow 68

Creating Pixel-Perfect Digital Mockups 73

Reiterating Before It’s Too Late 75

Preparing for the Next Stage 77

Conclusion 79

Chapter 5: Finding the Right Design Flow 81

The Big Three App Types 82

Common App Navigation Methods 85

Picking an Interaction Type 93

Minimizing Interface Friction 96

Preparing for Connectivity Failure 98

Conclusion 102

Chapter 6: Designing for Visual Appeal 103

How Appearance Changes Interactions 104

Creating an App Icon 107

Finding a Unique Look 111

Matching Art to Interaction Design 115

Building Art That Scales 119

Adding the Final Touches 123

Conclusion 126

Chapter 7: Working with Programmers 127

Understanding Your Programmer 128

Describing Your Design 132

Communicating During Development 136

Comprehending the Source Code 141

Conclusion 148

Chapter 8: Making Apps Usable by All 149

Knowing Your Audience 150

How Sandboxing Changed Mobile 152

Interactions for the Mass Market 157

Building Multilingual Interaction Designs 160

Designing for Users with Disabilities 163

Conclusion 166

Chapter 9: Designing for Simplicity 167

The Sophistication of Simplicity 168

Simple Design Goals 171

Interfaces That Do It Well 175

Creating Simple Interactions 178

Simplicity through Familiarity 183

Testing Simplicity 186

Conclusion 191

Chapter 10: Gaining Valuable Feedback 193

Showing Off Your Work 194

Devising a Beta-Test Strategy 198

Analyzing Valuable Test Data 204

From Beta to Positive Changes 208

Conclusion 211

Chapter 11: Refreshing a Design 213

Improving as a Designer 214

Judging Who Is Worth Listening To 218

Turning Requests into Changes 224

Preparing Users for Design Changes 226

The Resubmission Process 228

Conclusion 230

Appendix A: Standout Apps 231

1Password 232

Amazon Mobile 232

CNN News 233

Coach’s Eye 234

Evernote 234

Facebook 235

Flipboard 236

Google Chrome 237

Google Maps 237

Instagram 237

Instapaper 239 At Bat 240

Twitter 240

TuneIn Radio 241

WolframAlpha 242

Appendix B: Apps for Designers 243

Adobe Photoshop 244

Balsamiq 244

Bugshot 245

Dribbble 246

Icon Slate 247

MindNode Pro 247

Pngyu 248

Skitch 249

Spark Inspector 249

xScope 249

Appendix C: Artwork Requirements for Android and iOS 251

Android 252

iOS 255

Index 261

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