1. Lawrence Najjar's Avatar
    iPhone User Interface Design Considerations
    Lawrence Najjar

    The Apple iPhone is a powerful smartphone that is being used increasingly to improve the productivity of mobile workers. To design simple, successful iPhone enterprise app user interfaces, keep in mind the unique attributes of the iPhone.


    • Small screen The resolution of the iPhone is 480 x 320 pixels. This is large for a phone, but small compared to a personal computer. Resist the temptation to jam in many user interface controls. They will make your app unattractive and hard to use. Instead, limit the number of controls by limiting the focus of your app. Break a single complex app into two or more apps with very different functions.
    • One screen at a time Except for some dialog windows, users can see only one app screen at a time. This design style differs from the multiple simultaneous windows familiar to your users on their computers. In an iPhone app, separate the major function into selectable tasks and allow users to move sequentially forward and backward through the task screens. Design so that users drill down and sequence across.
    • One app at a time The iPhone can run only one app at a time. When users change apps, answer a phone call, check their calendars, or send an e-mail, the current app closes automatically. Your app must save user-entered data immediately, show the saved data the next time users open the app, and close gracefully from any screen. Also, your app doesnt need a Quit button. iPhone users close your app by simply going somewhere else on their iPhones.
    • Minimal settings Standard iPhone settings, such as display brightness and Wi-Fi access, are available only in the pre-installed iPhone Settings app. If users are in your app and want to change iPhone settings (such as changing display brightness for a flashlight app), they must open the Settings app, which automatically closes your app. Minimize user frustration by minimizing the need for users to change standard iPhone settings for your app.
    • No training The strongest asset of the iPhone is its ease of use. The simple user interface usually allows users to get their tasks done without training or reading online Help. Users expect to open an app and use it immediately. So, analyze your users their needs, priorities, jargon, tasks steps and design a very simple, intuitive user interface that allows users to operate your app without training or Help.
    • Hidden user input techniques The iPhone allows users to perform multi-touch gestures (double tap, touch and hold, drag, flick, swipe, pinch open, pinch close), tilt the phone, and shake the phone to make inputs. These innovative, often hidden, user input techniques replace text and other displayed iPhone user interface controls to make games and utilities more fun and entertaining. However, these hidden user input techniques can make it difficult for mobile workers to figure out how to get their tasks done. Especially in enterprise apps, use the familiar, standard, visual, iPhone user interface controls. Always display obvious controls for your apps.


    By taking into account these iPhone user interface attributes, you can design simpler, more effective, easier-to-use apps for your users.


    References

    Apple, Inc. (2009, March 4). iPhone user interface guidelines: User experience. Retrieved from iPhone Dev Center: iPhone Human Interface Guidelines: Introduction
    Last edited by Lawrence Najjar; 03-12-2010 at 12:10 PM.
    03-10-2010 05:24 PM
  2. Lawrence Najjar's Avatar
    iPhone Apps for the Enterprise
    Lawrence Najjar

    Since its introduction in June of 2007, the Apple iPhone has experienced explosive growth in popularity. Worldwide iPhone market share grew 246% from 2007 to 2008 and the iPhone is currently the third most popular smartphone (MacDailyNews). In the United States, the iPhone is already the second most popular corporate smartphone (A Historic Collapse in U.S. Corporate IT Spending) and has the highest customer satisfaction ratings (J.D.Power and Associates - Press Release).

    Why? iPhone owners love the smooth integration of phone, Internet browsing, and iPod functions (iPhone vs. BlackBerry: Which Do Consumers Love Most?), the ability to view documents (Top 10 lessons for enterprise iPhone adoption - ZDNet.co.uk), and the easy-to-use touch screen user interface. The newest iPhones even include a built-in Global Positioning System. As a result, iPhone owners are bringing their phones to work and asking IT to integrate enterprise functions to improve the owners mobile work productivity (Predictions 2009: What's In Store For Enterprise Mobility - Forrester Research).

    With the launch of the Apple iPhone App Store and the Apple Enterprise Program (Apple - iPhone in Business - Integration), enterprises can create customized, lightweight, and rich iPhone app user interfaces for their employees. Enterprise apps are lightweight because the business logic and complexity are stored off the phone in corporate servers. They are rich because the apps can use the large, full color, touch sensitive iPhone screen, a maps function (for example, to track the locations of corporate assets), an accelerometer to add phone movement in user interfaces, and the iPhones assisted global positioning system to show a current location (Apple - iPhone - iPhone in Business).

    Employees can get secure access to their company networks using VPN client software, 802.11x authentication, and Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standards. A company can require employees to use complex passwords to access the iPhone and can wipe the iPhone contents clean when a security policy is violated comforting if the employees iPhone is lost or stolen (Gartner: iPhone 2.0 cuts business mustard | Business Tech - CNET News) or the employee leaves the company (Owning an iPhone makes you "happier and more productive" - Page 3).

    Well-known companies are creating helpful enterprise iPhone apps. The Oracle Business Indicators app (Business Indicators | Business Intelligence | Oracle) allows employees to get alerts and updates, such as missed sales goals, sent to their iPhones. Salesforce.coms Salesforce Mobile (Sales Tools - salesforce.com) lets employees access their companies Salesforce databases to get information on accounts, contacts, and leads. Ciscos WebEx (Cisco WebEx on the iPhone) allows employees to schedule, join, and participate in company remote desktop sharing teleconference meetings. Finally, a mysterious little firm called Jugaari sells the very popular Jaadu VNC (iTeleport: Jaadu VNC) that, with a little technical savvy, lets a mobile employee control a work computer or servers from an iPhone.

    Using the iPhone for mobile enterprise apps can actually lower costs because users often purchase their own phones and wireless service and are more likely to take better care of their phones, reducing costs to replace lost, damaged, or stolen phones. By moving to iPhones with combined voice and data plans, one company saved $360 per year on each iPhone (iPhone corporate users happier, more productive, Forrester says). Plus, enterprise iPhone users may be happier because they can use their own phones instead of phones forced on them by their companies (iPhone found more enterprise ready than Blackberry, more cost efficient).

    Customized iPhone apps are ready for the enterprise and are a great way to improve the productivity and satisfaction of mobile employees.
    Last edited by Lawrence Najjar; 03-12-2010 at 12:10 PM.
    03-10-2010 06:07 PM
  3. Alli's Avatar
    ...and your point?
    03-10-2010 07:21 PM
  4. Lawrence Najjar's Avatar
    ...and your point?
    My point is that the iPhone is ready for enterprise apps.

    Though usually thought of as a consumer device, the iPhone can also help employees get their work done.

    My posts showed WHY the iPhone is ready for enterprise apps and gave some tips on HOW to design effective enterprise app user interfaces.

    Do you use your iPhone for work? Do you use enterprise apps?
    03-11-2010 06:16 PM
  5. Alli's Avatar
    I do use enterprise apps. I am a productivity nut. I just couldn't understand what you were saying. Looked like you were just having a bit of a ramble. The iPhone has been ready for enterprise apps. You can buy/use enterprise apps on there now - for quite some time, actually.
    03-11-2010 07:57 PM
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