Experts in the mobile arena, including vendors and developers, have advice for developers navigating this new realm of computing, covering aspects ranging from navigation to screen size to memory consumption. Mobile developers -- especially new ones -- should pay special attention to these eight lessons.
Mobile app dev lesson 1: Focus on user experience "The first [guideline] is reduce navigation that the users have to do by taking them directly to the content that they're working with," says Adam Blum, CEO of Rhomobile, makers of the Rhodes development framework for mobile applications. In a CRM application, for example, take users right to their contacts instead of making them wade through lists and tasks. Also, try basing the application's navigation on what users did the last time; go with defaults.
Nokia, which has built smartphones based on the Symbian platform and is switching to Windows Phone 7, offers templates to assist in putting icons on screens. "[The icons] scale to the different screen sizes," Fabbricino says. Developers must be concerned with integrating UI and application logic, as well as remain mindful of what an application is trying to do. "You don't want to overload information, overload user interactions."
At Callaway Digital Arts, which builds multimedia storytelling software for Apple's iPhone and iPad, applications are tweaked for the different devices, such as offering shopping lists on the iPhone, which tends to be used in more on-the-go settings than the iPad. "We're not just creating a single experience across all iOS platforms," says Nicholas Callaway, president of the company. Callaway focuses on optimizing its applications in the rich media space. "That's part of our art: knowing how to deliver the richest UX [user experience] and to push the boundaries of what the devices can do but still have them be [usable and reliable]."