Creating Content for Mobile Devices

IDC (International Data Corporation) recently estimated the total number of all handheld devices shipped worldwide will exceed 24.8 million this year.

By combining software and design principles, companies are planning to extend their enterprise and Web-based applications to handheld computers on the Palm, Psion and Windows CE platforms.

These devices are designed for mobility. Therefore developing effective interactive applications for low-resolution displays requires careful planning.

The following guidelines will optimize content that is to be converted to small screen devices:

Content Selection – Choose content that is most essential to your target audience. This is the most popular content that a user will access regularly or will urgently require in certain situations.

Customize the content specifically for this audience. Focus on their specific needs.

Minimize Page Length – Mobile devices restrict the amount of screen space available to an application. When developing such applications keep in mind that the familiar web-based horizontal/vertical scrolling may not be the best solution.

You may get better results by using drill-down navigation with hypertext links to allow you to navigate forward and backward.

Organize Data – Whenever you group data on hyper-linked pages, you must maintain a balance between page depth (level of nested pages) and the length of individual pages.

For mobile devices, use a deeper hierarchy rather than longer pages; users find it difficult to find their location in a lengthy section of text using the scroll bar.

Split long documents into smaller sections and create indexes wherever possible. If splitting is not possible use anchors to mark sections and maintain links to them from the table of contents.

Layout – Avoid graphics that reduce readability. Provide access to useful, concise and well organized content.

Design graphics that fit on one screen. Use images that are compatible with various display capability (e.g. 1 bit, 2 bit, full color).

Display Size – When designing remember the products screen size. The available screen real estate on the PalmPilot is only 160×160 pixels, while the Windows CE devices range up to 640×480.

Tip: Avoid scaling images to fit various screen sizes; they will lose their resolution on certain sets; avoid images wider than the devices’ viewing area. Avoid large images as they eat up screen space and consume bandwidth.

Bandwidth — Avoid large, detailed images as it may obstruct the main content. If there is a way of conveying the data without requiring the image then it may be best to avoid using it. On bandwidth restricted devices you need to justify every image that you use.

Color Schemes — It is usually best to use graphics that are primarily black-and-white when using handheld devices. It is hard to predict how different certain colors will turn out. Avoid graphics with curved lines. Convert color images to black and white. Anti-aliased don’t usually convert well.

Design Images — Design your images with clean lines and simple shapes since more complicated elements tend to appear ragged. It is better to use an image that is deliberately simple, rather than using a complex image that may appear confusing.

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan