Visit our archive

Are you new to mobile and dying to learn more about it so you can move that big idea in your head onto the marketplace? Or are you a user experience pro looking to take that app you’re designing for a client to the next level? Here’s a few good reads you might want to bring along on that next long plane ride.

iPhone app design - tapworthy designing great iphone appsTapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps by Josh Clark

In plain language with a real-world approach and lots of visual samples, this book focuses on iPhone and iPod touch development and how to make a compelling iPhone app people would love to use. I’d recommend this one for those designer-preneurs out there who aren’t just looking to build an app for a client, but have a few ideas of their own that they’d like to take to market. Clark does an excellent job of summing things up in an easy-to-digest way so it’s a breeze to read. Note, it was written pre-iPad era, but the general principles could easily apply to iPad development as well.

Usability of iPad Apps and Websites by Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen of Nielsen Norman Group

This report from NN/g covers early but firsthand findings from actual usability testing conducted with the iPad. It offers great insight into how the new rules and user interface of the iPad fared in real users’ experiences, and reviews everything from the iPad users’ mental models to the new UI controls to what works and doesn’t work regarding gestural interaction. I had the pleasure of attending Budiu’s workshop on touchscreen usability at NN/g’s Usability Week in Las Vegas last fall which included the iPhone, iPad and Android – it was fascinating to watch the videos of users struggling and delighting to see the various devices demonstrated.

Mobile Design and Development by Brian FlingMobile Design and Development by Brian Fling

This book offers a comprehensive look at the whole world of mobile from the history of mobile phones to a breakdown of the multitude of platforms and frameworks. It also discusses strategy, how to approach information architecture uniquely for mobile, design tips, code and even a discussion on the all important quest for monetization. Great for newbies, pros, and programmers alike.

iPhone User Experience - Designing the iPhone User Experience: A User-Centered Approach to Sketching and Prototyping iPhone Apps by Suzanne GinsburgDesigning the iPhone User Experience: A User-Centered Approach to Sketching and Prototyping iPhone Apps by Suzanne Ginsburg

Although less suited for newbies to mobile development and mobile user experience, I think this book would be an excellent resource for refining an existing app or those who are looking to do more rigorous user testing. It defines the various type of apps, introduces the native features of iPhone and iPod Touch (again, likely pre-iPad era), emphasizes the importance of gathering user research when developing and concepting, discusses methodology for conducting, analyzing and applying this research, and talks in depth about usability testing. Part four may be a bit of review for those visual designers or user experience pros out there as it spends some time reminding readers of basic user experience dogma, a bit on basic visual design principles, branding and localization.

Designing the Mobile User Experience by Barbara Ballard

This book might be a good read for those user experience designers who are new to mobile design and development or are migrating from the web realm to the mobile sphere. It offers an intro to the general mobile universe and the nuances of the mobile user and mobile usage. Usability testing methods and guidance on how to gather research are discussed as well. It would be great to see a newer edition of this book as it applies to other touch-based devices.