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The mobile app treasure trove: 32 usability resources

| October 10, 2014
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The reviews in the App Store and Google Play can be ruthless. If your app has a poor user experience and gets bad reviews early on, your chances at success are shot. You’ll want to make sure you’re building an excellent, highly-usable app from the very start!

To help you study up and make your app as user-friendly as possible, here is our list of 32 articles, books, presentations, and courses on mobile app usability and UX.

Categories:

General Design and UX articles

Ten Tips for Mobile UX

If you’re new to app design, or if you’re transitioning from desktop web design to mobile, these tips will help you get in the right state of mind to create great mobile experiences.

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Designing a Mobile App? Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes

Here are 10 common pitfalls to watch out for as you design your app, from overstuffing the interface to starting with lo-res images.

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Designing for Mobile, Parts 1, 2, and 3

This one’s a three-fer! These three in-depth guides will walk you through information architecture, interaction design, and visual design for your app.

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7 Key Questions To Ask When Taking Your App From iOS To Android

There’s a lot to consider when taking your app to a new platform. While you want consistency, you also want to make sure your new users understand how to use it (not to mention platform-specific design guidelines).

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A Dad’s Plea To Developers Of iPad Apps For Children

Kids’ apps are tricky: not only do they have to have age-appropriate and engaging content, but they also have to have extremely clear and user-friendly interfaces. Here are four tips for designing apps for children.

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Specific Feature Usability

Mobile Form Usability: Never Use Inline Labels

Mobile Form Usability: Never Use Inline Labels

On the small screen, many designers try to conserve space by using labels inside the form fields. Here’s why that hurts usability, especially on mobile.

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Instructional Overlays and Coach Marks for Mobile Apps

Instructional Overlays and Coach Marks for Mobile Apps

Providing instructional overlays is a great way to help new users learn their way around your app. Follow these guidelines to make sure your instructions are helpful and easy to understand.

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Mobile Onboarding: A beginner’s guide

Mobile Onboarding: A Beginner’s Guide

This article showcases three different onboarding techniques for getting new users started with your app: benefits-oriented, function-oriented, and progressive.

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Navigating the Mobile Application: 5 UX Design Patterns

Navigating the Mobile Application: 5 UX Design Patterns

A mark of a good app is its ability to guide users through the workflow intuitively. This article showcases five patterns that you can use to help users navigate your app.

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Kill the Hamburger Button

Kill the Hamburger Button

The three line menu icon known as the hamburger is an easy way to keep all of an app’s features organized, but it’s not the best way to help your users access the features they need most.

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Primer on Types of Navigation in Mobile Apps

Primer on Types of Navigation in Mobile Apps

Need inspiration for your navigation? Check out these 5 different types of menus; each type has several beautiful examples to get your creative gears turning.

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Touchscreen Interaction

Designing for Touch

Designing for Touch

When designing an app, it’s essential to consider how users will actually be touching the screen when they have their own device in their hands. Take these six things into consideration to build an excellent touchscreen experience.

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Responsive Navigation: Optimizing for Touch Across Devices

Responsive Navigation: Optimizing for Touch Across Devices

In this article, Luke Wroblewski explores navigation across a wide range of screen sizes, from small smartphones to touch-enabled laptops.

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How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

This article takes an in-depth look at how users actually hold their phones, based on 1,333 real-world observations.

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Improving Mobile Interfaces with Rich-Touch Interactions

Improving Mobile Interfaces with Rich-Touch Interactions

Traditionally, interactions with touch screens have either been very simplistic or somewhat unintuitive. Rich touch research aims to uncover new ways of interacting with touchscreens that mimics the way we use our hands in the real world.

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Accessibility

The Practical and Legal Reasons Behind Designing for Accessibility

The Practical and Legal Reasons Behind Designing for Accessibility

If you aren’t sure that you need to be thinking about accessibility when you design your app, stop and read this before you do anything else.

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Top 10 Steps Towards Making Your Mobile Apps More Accessible

Top 10 Steps Towards Making Your Mobile Apps More Accessible

To get started with accessibility, follow these ten steps, from considering your color choices to getting to hands-on experience with screen readers and other accessibility technologies.

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Mobile Web Application Best Practices

Mobile Web Application Best Practices

Follow these guidelines from accessibility authority W3C to make sure your app is highly usable and enjoyable for people with disabilities (and those without disabilities, too).

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Books

Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman

Designing Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober and Eric Berkman

This book gives practical techniques for capturing users’ interest, along with common patterns for interaction design on mobile.

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Mobile Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu

Mobile Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu

This guide from usability leader Nielsen Norman Group covers developing a mobile strategy, designing for small screens, writing for mobile, and more.

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The Mobile Frontier: A Guide for Designing Mobile Experiences by Rachel Hinman

The Mobile Frontier: A Guide for Designing Mobile Experiences by Rachel Hinman

Learn mobile UX design and find out what industry experts are saying about the future of mobile in this book.

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Visual Usability: Principles and Practices for Designing Digital Applications by Tania Schlatter and Deborah Levinson

Visual Usability: Principles and Practices for Designing Digital Applications by Tania Schlatter and Deborah Levinson

With this guide for developers and UI designers, you’ll learn how to apply visual design principles to complex app development.

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Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil

Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil

Looking for design inspiration? This book showcases 90+ mobile app design patterns on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

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Presentations

Mobile App Design: Usable Interfaces for Tiny Places

Mobile App Design: Usable Interfaces for Tiny Places

This SlideShare deck covers the basics of designing highly usable mobile interfaces.

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Mobile Input

Mobile Input

From text entry to sliders to switches and more, Luke W covers different ways of inputting information on mobile–and how you can make it an enjoyable experience for your users.

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Mobile User Experience

Mobile User Experience

This presentation touches on why mobile matters, the mobile mindset, UI elements, gestures, and more.

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Mobile Design Now

Mobile Design Now

Yes, this is one of our own webinars, but Luke W gave such an excellent presentation that we couldn’t help but include it. In this webinar, Luke discusses how our years of experience with PCs are holding our mobile designs back, and what we need to change to build better mobile experiences.

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Tapworthy: Designing iPhone Interfaces for Delight and Usability

Tapworthy: Designing iPhone Interfaces for Delight and Usability

In this classic presentation, Josh Clark shares why an iPhone is like a Swiss army knife and what the best iPhone apps have in common.

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Mobile Usability Futures

Mobile Usability Futures

Watch as renowned usability expert Jakob Nielsen presents to Google about the future of mobile interfaces.

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Courses

Udacity: UX Design for Mobile Developers

Udacity: UX Design for Mobile Developers

In this four-week online course, you will learn how to plan and prototype a well-designed Android app.

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Nielsen Norman Group: Mobile User Experience

Nielsen Norman Group: Mobile User Experience

This full-day training course is offered in different locations throughout the year, and it can be applied toward a NN/g UX Certification.

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Human Factors International: Designing the Mobile User Experience

Human Factors International: Designing the Mobile User Experience

Also offered in different locations at different times of year, this two-day course focuses on creating design narratives, visual designs, and prototypes.

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Have a resource to add to the list?

    If you have another mobile app resource to share, please share it with us on Twitter.

    If you found this article helpful, check out our Navigation Treasure Trove too!