O'Reilly Book Reviewer

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: Mobile Design Pattern Gallery by Theresa Neil (O'Reilly)

Mobile apps have become quite the rage. Forget about consumer apps, these days even enterprise IT teams have been asked to develop corporate apps for the tablet. I was quite surprised myself when my project lead took me aside the other day and asked me, "When can we have a lite version of our web app on the iPad?". A lite version! I had no idea what that meant or where to begin. For sure I knew that the web app that looks super cool on the desktop would look like a disaster on the tablet. Think Mobile First! Who does that? Certainly not me. Old UI habits die hard. However, as Darwin said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

I knew I had to start with my screens. Unfortunately my years of knowledge of desktop browser UI designing was of not much use. I can throw a hundred UI components in the desktop browser and it will just work. Mobile UI design is a totally different ball game. So I got this book!

This book will not teach you mobile programming. There are plenty of other books to do that. This is the ONLY reliable book that has a catalog of all mobile UI design patterns. Do you like the Facebook and LinkedIn apps? Did you know the names of the layouts for each of the screens in those apps? I didn't until I read this book. I learned quite a lot about designing navigation, forms, tables & lists, searching, charts, etc. The chapter on designing Invitations was pretty intuitive. I really hadn't noticed the power of invitations and how useful they are for mobile apps until I read this chapter. The book ends with a powerful chapter on anti-patterns - things not to do in a mobile app should be a part of your strategy in designing your mobile apps. Appendix at the end provide valuable additional resources including the website of this book. Also provided is a summary of all the UI design gallery in this book so you can always go to the end of the book when you are in a hurry.

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