Most of this stuff is from Nokia and specifically S60 related but there’s lots of good information regardless of the O/S or platform you’re developing for.
- Usability Culturally Speaking: Short paper by Nokia introducing common issues such as differences in text direction, colour usage, iconography, number and date conventions etc.
- Series 60 UI Style Guide: Just what it sounds like
- Series 60 Usability Guidelines for J2ME Games: This is a really useful document. Many issues addressed will be useful to not only Flash Lite developers but creators of small advertising or content based application. Also includes sections on game experience and gameplay.
- Turn Limitations into Strengths: Design one Button Games: Another good one for Flash Lite developers. Short but useful article with reference to an old Gamasutra article/tutorial and a great quote by Noah Falstein “When you find yourself constrained by a difficult circumstance or combination of limitations in design, look for a solution that turns those very limitations into a fun solution. Try to make the limitations work in your favor, not against you.”
- User Experience Checklist for J2ME Applications: Once again, good reference for everyone with headings to indicate which checklist items apply best to which OS or type of application (ie. games etc.) Lots of good stuff including handy tips like “Application has been tested with actual end-users, not just in-house developers, The user is not forced to guess the right format for information and Obscenity or foul language is not used.” LOL!
- Designing XHTML MP Content: From Nokia again. Includes a checklist of “top guidelines for optimizing mobile XHTML services” as well as details on each XHTML MP element. Found through the W3C Mobile Web Best Pactices reference section.
- Browsing on Mobile Phones: Short paper from Nokia discussing usability as it relates to mobile web content and the Opera-style single column layout.
And just for fun, the Series 60 Themes Illustrator Sketching Templates. Great idea thisâ€”an Adobe Illustrator file including real vector S60 UI layouts and menu elements. Great vector artwork. Very handy for mockups!
BTW-Most of these were found on Forum Nokia.
I’ve been trying to formulate a reasonably plausible handset literacy checklist to inform some upcoming projects. Since a handset is the closest many people will come to owning a personal computer and may be used to accomplish similar tasks, I thought i’d start with a list for computer literacy and see how they compare.
My list…in no particular order…
- Use of input device: Mouse, keyboard etc.
- Knowledge of working parts: This may sound silly but I still know lots of people who think the computer monitor is the actual computer. What they think the CPU is for is anybody’s guess. So this includes knowing how to turn the computer on, what each part does, how to restart etc.
- Knowledge of basic peripherals: Mostly a printer but possibly an external drive, Flash memory, thumb drive etc.
- File structure: Folders, directories, understanding where stuff lives on your drive(s), how to keep things organized.
- Menu system: How to find, install or uninstall an application, create shortcuts etc.
- Common UI elements, navigational elements and widgets: Discovering cues that define interactivity (ex. windows that are resizable or dragable,) closing or docking a window, menu or toolbar, scrolling, toggling, using sliders, understanding tabs and their relationship to content etc.
- Saving, Cut, Copy, Paste: Saving something somewhere then knowing how to find it again (!!), understanding the difference between save and ‘save as.’ Understanding how to duplicate and move data around.
- Data transfer: Getting stuff on and off your computer via email, USB, floppy, burning a CD, Bluetooth, maybe even FTP.
- Communication: How to use email, IM, VOIP, web mail etc. A few years ago this might have been considered a separate set of skills but I think they’re now just standard computer literacy requirements.
- Internet use and internet literacy: What is a browser? How does it work? What is a search engine? A blog? Also speaks to information literacy. How to search , how to evaluate search results, how to determine if a web site is a valid or reliable source of information (Wikipedia? blog? news portal?).
- Safety: Avoiding spam, viruses, staying safe on IM, blogs and in chatrooms, applying parental filters, safe online shopping etc.
- Etiquette: How to write a proper business email, how to comment or post to a list, how to use emoticons but also, how to use a laptop at meetings (how NOT to check mail and IM three different people while talking to a client Is it proper to blog while listening to a speaker at a conference?
- Self-reliance, personalization, respect for the device, ability to troubleshoot: May be best illustrated with a story: Once upon a time my job was (amongst other things) to provide tech support for a small office of media sales people who spent their days on the computer inputting media data, cpm numbers etc. One day, a coworker called me complaining there was a CD ROM was stuck in her desktop computer drive. When I asked if she had tried re-starting her computer, she said yes and proceeded to flick her monitor on and off saying “See, it doesn’t help.” That was when I discovered that her computer had been on for several years as all she did each night was shut the monitor off. For arguments’ sake I then asked if she had tried anything else. She then responded “I shook it and held it upside down but that didn’t help either.” At some point computer literacy should translate into some sort of self-reliant yet appropriate behaviour or ability to care for the deviceâ€”even in a very basic way. And somewhat related, it should also translate into an ability to personalize your device and/or applications while maintaining an understanding of what types of personalization are acceptable on a private vs public device (internet cafe, school library etc.)
- Software: Opens a big can of worms with the open source/Mac/PC community as to what is considered ‘standard’ software but reallyâ€”you should be able to send an email to multiple parties with attachments, create a document, a spreadsheet, a short presentation and ideally; edit or manipulate simple graphics.
In case you’re wondering, I expected to find a whole bunch of lists like this on the web but ended up mostly finding definitions of the term or academic papers on the subject. I wonder if we’re not getting a bit complacent about this stuff with the assumption that it’s all common knowledge now?
Does the above list map to mobile? What are the differences?
- Use of input devices: Keys, navipad, joystick, sylus, QWERTY etc.
- Knowledge of working parts: A bit less relevant but could translate to a knowledge of the various ‘ports’ on your device (memory card, data synchronization cable, infra-red etc.) Could also include a general knowledge of standard device keys or controls like soft-keys or a navi-pad and how they vary from device to device (i.e. being able to successfully locate the equivalent key on a new device to make a call, send an SMS.)
- Knowledge of basic peripherals: Bluetooth headset, USB connector, USB keyboard etc.
- File structure: Folders, directories, understanding where stuff lives on your drive/memory card, how to keep things organized, how to access your drive via your computer (device and O/S dependant of course.)
- Menu system: How to find an application, install and uninstall, configure basic device settings etc.
- Common UI elements, navigational elements and widgets: Cues that identify interactivity (ex. tabs, scrolling, toggling, using sliders, collapsable lists etc.
- Saving, Cut, Copy, Paste: Saving something somewhere then knowing how to find it again. Understanding how to copy, duplicate or move data around. Obviously O/S dependant. I know how to do some of this in S60 but have no clue if it even maps over to my Sony Ericsson.
- Data transfer: Getting stuff on and off your device via USB, memory card, Bluetooth, responding to a WAP push (all somewhat operator and device dependant.). Could also include an understanding of data itself. Is 5kb bigger than 5MB?
- Communication: How to initiate a voice call, send an SMS or MMS (device and operator dependant of course.)
- Internet use and internet literacy: What is a mobile browser, how does it work? What is a WAP browser? What is an on-device-portal? Walled garden? What is a data connection? What are the costs involved in consuming data? How can you minimize them?
- Safety: Avoiding spam, staying safe on IM, using Bluetooth/LBS for social interaction, understanding your rights relative to mobile marketing and opt-in services, keeping your personal data safe etc.
- Etiquette: On a device, this goes way further than just knowing how to send a proper and polite SMS. What is the etiquette in various situations? When do you stop a conversation to take a call? When do you shut the phone off? On a date, in a meeting, at home? How does your ability to make good decisions regarding etiquette affect your dealings with others? How does carrying a mobile affect your ability to follow other types of etiquette?
- Self-reliance, personalization, respect for the device, ability to troubleshoot: A bit different here as a mobile is rarely a truly public deviceâ€”rather a private device used in a public space. How does your ability to understand your device affect others around you (ex. the ability to quickly switch to vibrate mode in a meeting or place of worship.) How can you personalize the device it ways that reveal different personas to those around you? How can you maintain and safeguard personal data on the device (ex. the Paris Hilton address book theft via Bluetooth incident.)
- Software: Do we have ‘standard’ handset software at this stage? (Does S60 count?) Once you know how to send an SMS, take a picture (somewhat software related in my opinion) what else should you be able to do? What applications are we missing?
And what am I missing? How does my lack of device literacy affect the list i’ve created?
I’ve run into a bunch of good mobile-related podcasts and web-casts this month. Many are part of a series and have RSS feeds so I thought i’d pass them on.
- Voice of S60 interview with Charlie Schick of Nokia Lifeblog and Series 60 fame (this is a great interviewâ€”lots of arcane information about the making of S60 and the inner workings of Nokia plus Charlie’s always great fun to talk to)
- Podcast Network’s Mobile Media Show interview with Russell Buckley from AdMob (way more than just a mobile ad networkâ€”this is a neat service)
- Mobile Monday Silicon Valley presentations courtesy of Nodemode.
- Dave Adams from Mobile Research discusses status and trends of the handset landscape.
- Dave, architect at Nokia talks about the Nokia browser based on WebCore, the same core in OSX’s Safari browser.
- Chris Hoffman, an engineering director at the Mozilla Foundation talks about their Minimo mobile browser. Currently available for Windows CE devices.
- Mobile Monday London presentations in mp3, mov and 3Gp formats
- June 2006 – Mobile Enterprise (Symbian, Bluetrail, Red Oxygen, 3G Doctor and others)
- May 2006 – User Experience hosted at Surfkitchen (SurfKitchen, Ikivo, Instrata, Intelli-call)
- April 2006 – Mobile Web 2.0 (AMF Ventures, AOL, and a panel including Cognima, Vodaphone and others)
- March 2006 – Demo Night (Cognima, Discovery Networks, E-Bay, IncrediblInc!, iTAGG, m-spatial, Skype, Volantis)
- February 2006 – Mobile Payments (Google, Luup, Vodafone, Reporo)
Hmmm, if the above list isn’t a sales pitch for Mobile Monday i’m not sure what is
Oh, and I have to include this one even though it’s pretty old…
- Tom Hume’s entertaining ‘Web Everywhere‘ presentation from Deconstruct 2005 (an alternate view of the mobile web, walled gardens, digital divide etc.)