Sunday 23 November 2008

Future of Mobile 08: Tradeoffs, Strengths & Weaknesses in Platforms

Tom Hume — Future Platforms

Full slides now available from slideshare. My notes follow...

  • Fragmentation got worse in 2008
    • Not that we’re short on standards — we’ve got loads and loads of them!
    • good summary graph of effort, coverage & capability: Effort Involved for different platforms
  • Distribution is linked to platform
    • Vital for getting apps
    • Just as complicated and tricky as making the build
    • e.g. advertising of SMS shortcodes in national press — get lots of responses, but very unqualified — not so many actual downloads
    • billing also adds complexity
      • PayForIt — fairly grotty user experience
      • Credit Cards on mobile — scary issues on security but makes billing easier the second time round
  • Why is choice a problem?
    • Got used to making lots of versions for different devices
      • Doesn’t mean that you should do it…
    • Trutap v1 has 30 versions (SKUs)
      • High load on QA
      • Changes are difficult
    • Trutap v2 has just one version (apart from icon assets)
      • FP’s new framework makes use of UI scaling: UI Scaling from single build
      • When app is installed it works out how much screen it has
      • Had to think differently when designing it
      • Explicitly designed to scale up — fluid layouts, percentage widths, etc.
  • Work out where the seams are and make them more fluid
    • Switching between app & browser
    • Google Search for Symbian
      • immediate launch app that then launches browser
      • keep the user’s attention while they type in their search term
    • Using web for what it’s good at, native apps for what they’re good at
    • Can stitch together different platforms
    • On desktop, widgets are closest to this idea
  • Take design seriously
    • Think about how interface will scale
    • More than pixels

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