Posts Tagged ‘UX’

“Starting Small” with Interface Design

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

A growing number of people and organizations are changing their approach to user interface design for applications that span web and mobile platforms, electing to focus initial design on smaller mobile device screens, and then adopting the result for use on larger PC & Mac screens.

They are finding that “starting small” with interface design often provides a more consistent user experience and superior results than “starting big” with the full web based version.  They also avoid one of the most common design mistakes of “starting big”: miniaturizing, rather than streamlining, larger and overly-involved web based interfaces, which proves most frustrating to mobile users.

This importance of “starting small” with interface design was reinforced for me recently when I caught up with a person I admire very much – one of the founders of a New York based digital agency I worked with several years ago.  His mantra was always “simple but elegant” when it came to the areas of technology and design, which helped lead the agency to many successes. 

It was no surprise to me, then, when he told me how he has evolved his approach to design interfaces for mobile platforms first, for even the most robust of applications.  “Starting small” supports his proven strategy for creating user experiences that are simple, intuitive, and consistent across multiple platforms.

In my opinion, the explosive growth of mobile devices may have been the best thing to happen to GUI and UX design in years.  The limited real estate on mobile device screens is – or at least, should be – causing designers to reconsider what’s really important.  It reinforces critical notions of clean, uncluttered, basic design, which often produce better functioning interfaces and ultimately improved audience experiences. 

It will be interesting to see how interface design will continue to evolve between web and mobile platforms.  In the meantime, what do you think?  Do you and your organization choose to “start small” or “start big” when designing your interfaces, and why?

– Jim S.