Thursday, October 18, 2007

Web Application UIs for Desktop / Mobile

As the "web" is moving very fast to mobile devices following the new-age mobile devices revolution which is enabling users to access websites & rich media content on their devices very easily making us re-think about the user interface designing & accessibility strategies from different perspectives when compared the conventional desktop-based web access.

As I always , the "end-user" is always at the core of all the development that happens on and off the web, the fundamental of any such product or application development is to create a product that's easily accessible & usable to him / her. But, being developers, the responsibility increases when it comes to 'mobile web applications' & the strategies changes from the conventional ones.

Unlike desktops, mobile phones are not powered by high-end processors, RAM or even storage capacity (as in most cases); which makes them far less capable when compared to desktop computers. And, this is where the need of the sensible web application design comes in to the picture at a critical level.

As mobile application UI designers / developers, one 'really' needs to understand the requirements of the end-users. An application which is going to be specifically for mobile devices needs to keep lot things like "display & such hardware capability limits, bandwidth / data usage limits & cost constraints & user demographics". The typical desktop-based web application user interface (UI) approach can NOT be fully applied for mobile-specific web application development. The below given image explains the same, about how both of them have different UI approaches:

Unlike desktop-based web application development where an UI uses 'horizontal' approach & splits into several areas like header, footer, left navigation, right navigation, etc. ; though the mobile application interface has only vertical approach as the ideal one & is not recommended to use a horizontal split approach until the application is targeted at a specific user segment with a specific device which is known to developers about it's capabilities, like hardware configurations; i.e. screen / display sizes, RAM, etc. In the absence of such information or business scenario, such split approach in UI development for mobile application is not fruitful & rather may land up the application in trouble.

I will add some more thoughts on this in my next article, where I will post some of my learning from my experience as well from others also.

1 comment:

Brendon Webappl Soft IT said...

Web application development is one aspect that has picked up in the current times and it is one of the most inevitable aspects at that. Ecommerce or to put it in layman's words business on the net is impossible without what we technically term as web applications. However, web application development has to be effective enough to earn business; otherwise it is as good as non existent.