Some years ago, reading emails on mobile devices was an acitivity which was, at minimal, uncommon – today, one can say that a huge amount of emails gets read on the run.

This – coupled with ever-improving HTML rendering on mobile devices – makes taking a look at how people read their email on the run interesting. A mass mailing company named MailChimp has compiled a fascinating report, which makes very good late-night reading.

Find out more via the URL below:
http://mailchimp.com/resources/guides/html/email-on-mobile-devices/

Most usability designers consider teenagers the omnivores of the genus user – common belief is that they will figure out just about anything as long as it is endorsed by the celebrity du jour.

useit.com, a UI and web usability house, has now performed an analysis of “the teenager” – and ended up with the like/dislike table below:
teenager web site design Web design for teenagers

Find out more on the topic via the URL below:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/teenagers.html

Even though we have seen our fair share of videos showing Windows Phone 7 in action, Microsoft has not released any specific videos explaining the use of controls to accomplish tasks.

The video below now shows just that. It was provided by the MSDN, and explains how to create a golf app using Microsoft Windows Phone 7 GUI elements:

Long-term followers of Tamoggemon know that the products usually have a minimized interface – this is due to fanatic tap counting in the UI design department. However, tap counting is but part of a successful mobile UI – you usually also need to adhere to common design patterns.

So far, no collection of design patterns for mobile applications has been published in book form. However, the design4mobile wiki is a more than adequate replacement:
mobile design patterns Mobile Design Patterns   the list

Hit the link below to find out more:
http://patterns.design4mobile.com/index.php/Main_Page

Don’t get me wrong – Opera Mobile is a very good browser once you get the way it works. In fact, I do most of the updating of the Tamoggemon Content Network with my X1 currently as my laptop is down.

However, I frequently run into errors like the one shown below:
Screen013 Opera: powerless, but stubborn

In fact, Opera Mobile pops it up every time it comes across a web site which doesn’t conform to its rather strict syntax validation rules. OK, a single click can dismiss it most of the time…but it nevertheless is extremely annoying.

The reason why I post about this is different, though: Opera’s syntax naziness is utterly futile. With a total market share of less than 10 percent, web masters can afford to simply ignore Opera users rather than invest large amounts of money into redesigning their web sites.

Users who see the message above thus have but two options: suck it up or change browsers. The wrath of affected individuals will be directed at Opera rather than at the web site (hey, it works in PocketIE)…thereby harming Opera further.

What do you think?

Don’t ask me why a presentation on user interface design made it into the IEEE proceedings schedule of the FH Hagenberg’s NFC Congress. Nevertheless, being the UI fetishist I am, Alice Moroni’s presentation struck my interest. Enjoy:

Alice started out by presenting a few cases of extremely bad design:
0 On sensible user interface design

According to her, catastrophes like the ones above are caused by a wrong approach to design – it does not consider the user:
1 On sensible user interface design

The solution is called user-centric design…which means putting the user at the center of the development process:
2 On sensible user interface design

Understanding users can be difficult – the slide below presents an overview of users needs:
3 On sensible user interface design

Prototypes are very useful when it comes to figuring out how users “tick”:
4 On sensible user interface design

Unfortunately, user tests are not easy. Their experience showed them that users should not be given too many tasks at a time (among other things):
5 On sensible user interface design

Users must be monitored discreetly, as their behavior changes the moment they feel monitored:
6 On sensible user interface design

Point-of-view cameras can be useful:
7 On sensible user interface design

Alternatively, a screencast solution can be used:
8 On sensible user interface design

When it comes to determining the users, a surprising thing pops up: 5 users are usually enough to find 85% of all eekers; whereas 15 are likely to find all of them according to J Nielsen:
9 On sensible user interface design

The next surprise: advanced users loathed their simple application. Some missed core features, while others felt that the program was “too lowly” for their taste:
10 On sensible user interface design

Manhattan night view Design patterns for .NET CF, courtesy of MicrosoftMost books on design patterns and/or application architecture are insanely expensive and not particularly well-suited to the demands of mobile application developers.

Fortunately for us, Microsoft’s patterns & practices group has just released a freely-downloadable ebook called “Rich Client Architecture Pocket Guide”. The 1MB PDF file looks at all things mobile – if you feel like giving it a spin, hit the URL below!

Rich Client Architecture Pocket Guide

Image: Wikimedia Commons / Andyindia

A thread on PocketNow.com comparing the home screen of various versions of the Windows Mobile UI have made me think about what really disturbs me about Windows Mobile. After quite a bit of thinking,. I think that I have found my culprit…it’s the annoying top and bottom toolbars which IMHO are way to wide(especially in landscape mode):
Screen001 The UI evolution of Windows Mobile or Cant someone finally axe the goddamn toolbar?

If the image above wouldn’t be so sad, one could laugh about it for hours. A spreadsheet cell is tinner than the bottom toolbar, and the same is valid for the bottom one.

My personal request to the Windows Mobile team can be expressed easily – but the toolbar size by half. They are still tappable(case frames aid inaccurate users) – and we could get a nice extra bit of information on-screen!

The lack of a color picker dialog in the .NET CF(yes, the desktop framework has a ColorPicker class – but .NET CF doesn’t contain it) has annoyed hell out of me for quite some time – even the 10yr old Palm OS contains a well-done color picker. Anyways, problems are here to be solved – please allow me to present you my own ColorPicker(running in .NET CF 2.0 on a hp rx4240, blots are due to GIF compression):
scr A color picker for .NET CF

Using this is very simple – just download the form file here and integrate it into your project like you would do with any other form.

Then, do the following to make the user pick a color:

Dim colorX as color
colorX = ColorPicker.getcolor()

Feel free to do with this code whatever you feel like. However, no warranties are given on anything….and posting a link to an app that uses it always is appreciated!

I am in a pretty bad mood about this…please forgive me the slightly aggressive slant

I am a programmer who takes pride in designing his UI’s himself – and indeed, many of my Palm OS applications have won awards for simple and well-done interfacing. For me, popping up a dialog over another form is a standard issue – it looks like this on a Palm:
0 Creating a dialog/popup form in .net CF

The code for doing this is approx 1 line long; and all you need to do is set the form dimensions and popup styles in Resource XML.

Creating such a dialog is next to impossible on the PocketPC in vb.net – for some strange reason, this absolutely operating system insists on making each and every form “full-screen” – even if you set the dimensions differently(even explicitly in code). All this while a MessageBox floats around the screen merrily…

However, I am not alone with this problem. Looking around in the CF newsgroup brought along the following gem of a thread:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/newsgroups/default.aspx?dg=microsoft.public.dotnet.framework.compactframework&tid=57f3a71b-7166-4b7b-98d6-003453f86c7c&p=1

Essentially, it all comes down to setting FormBorderStyle to none. You then have a form that doesn’t get resized automatically and can be popped up with Form.ShowDialog – but it doesn’t have a frame or title area.

Fabien Decret has a writeup on the “gory details” and also covers creating a simple border around the form – visit his blog here:
http://fabdecret.blogspot.com/2007/05/non-full-screen-window.html

How do you create a popup window in .net CF? If you have an idea, please email it to me at Tamog AT gmx DOT at!

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