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Mobile Design and Development

Cover of Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Mobile Design and Development
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Preface
      1. Who This Book Is For
      2. How This Book Is Organized
      3. Conventions Used in This Book
      4. Using Code Examples
      5. How to Contact Us
      6. Safari® Books Online
      7. Acknowledgments
    3. 1. A Brief History of Mobile
      1. In the Beginning
      2. The Evolution of Devices
    4. 2. The Mobile Ecosystem
      1. Operators
      2. Networks
      3. Devices
      4. Platforms
      5. Operating Systems
      6. Application Frameworks
      7. Applications
      8. Services
    5. 3. Why Mobile?
      1. Size and Scope of the Mobile Market
      2. The Addressable Mobile Market
      3. Mobile As a Medium
      4. The Eighth Mass Medium: What’s Next?
      5. Ubiquity Starts with the Mobile Web
    6. 4. Designing for Context
      1. Thinking in Context
      2. Taking the Next Steps
    7. 5. Developing a Mobile Strategy
      1. New Rules
      2. Summary
    8. 6. Types of Mobile Applications
      1. Mobile Application Medium Types
    9. 7. Mobile Information Architecture
      1. What Is Information Architecture?
      2. Mobile Information Architecture
      3. The Design Myth
    10. 8. Mobile Design
      1. Interpreting Design
      2. The Mobile Design Tent-Pole
      3. Designing for the Best Possible Experience
      4. The Elements of Mobile Design
      5. Mobile Design Tools
      6. Designing for the Right Device
      7. Designing for Different Screen Sizes
    11. 9. Mobile Web Apps Versus Native Applications
      1. The Ubiquity Principle
      2. When to Make a Native Application
      3. When to Make a Mobile Web Application
    12. 10. Mobile 2.0
      1. What Is Mobile 2.0?
    13. 11. Mobile Web Development
      1. Web Standards
      2. Designing for Multiple Mobile Browsers
      3. Device Plans
      4. Markup
      5. CSS: Cascading Style Sheets
      6. JavaScript
    14. 12. iPhone Web Apps
      1. Why WebKit?
      2. What Makes It a Mobile Web App?
      3. Markup
      4. CSS
      5. JavaScript
      6. Creating a Mobile Web App
      7. Web Apps As Native Apps
      8. PhoneGap
      9. Tools and Libraries
    15. 13. Adapting to Devices
      1. Why Is Adaptation a “Necessity”?
      2. Strategy #1: Do Nothing
      3. Strategy #2: Progressive Enhancement
      4. Strategy #3: Device Targeting
      5. Strategy #4: Full Adaptation
      6. What Domain Do I Use?
      7. Taking the Next Step
    16. 14. Making Money in Mobile
      1. Working with Operators
      2. Working with an App Store
      3. Add Advertising
      4. Invent a New Model
    17. 15. Supporting Devices
      1. Having a Device Plan
      2. Device Testing
      3. Desktop Testing
      4. Usability Testing
    18. 16. The Future of Mobile
      1. The Opportunity for Change
    19. Index
    20. About the Author
    21. Colophon
    22. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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Chapter 1. A Brief History of Mobile

I like to compare the history of the mobile industry to the work of Umberto Eco: you get what is going on, but it makes your head hurt in the process. The evolution of mobile networks, the devices that run on them, and the services we use every day have evolved at an amazing rate, from the early phones that looked more like World War II field radios to the ultra-sleek fashion statements of today.

If there is one basic principle about mobile, it is that everything is the way it is for a reason. It might not be a good reason, but a reason exists nonetheless. It is the history, or the context, of the medium that gives mobile designers and developers the patience and passion needed to deal with the frequent issues they face in the mobile ecosystem. The mobile industry is a difficult one to jump into without patience and passion.

This chapter briefly discusses the evolution of the mobile medium from the perspective of the device, the most universally identifiable facet of the mobile ecosystem.

In the Beginning

For those of us who are older—that is, over the age of 30—when we think of what a telephone is and try to picture it, we might think of the phone illustrated in Figure 1-1.

The telephone is undoubtedly one of the greatest inventions of mankind. It revolutionized communications, enabling us to reach across great distances and share thoughts, ideas, and dreams with our fellow man, making the world a much smaller place in the process. In fact, the telephone is probably one the most defining technologies of the twentieth century and the most commonly used electronic device in the world today.

For the vast majority of people around the world, the perception of what a “phone” is and what it can do hasn’t changed from this iconic image—something you hold up to your ear and talk into—but when those under the age of 20 picture a telephone, they might think of an image similar to the one shown in Figure 1-2.

The traditional telephone

Figure 1-1. The traditional telephone

A modern mobile phone

Figure 1-2. A modern mobile phone

Although the modern mobile phone is a distant cousin to the telephone, it is a communication and information device. It is nearly always connected to the Internet, even if you don’t have a web browser open. You can send and receive voice and text messages. You can purchase goods and services without opening your wallet. Plus, it can locate which street corner you are standing on and tell you what is nearby all in a fraction of an instant. Oh, did I forget to mention that you can talk to people, too?

In fact, the modern mobile phone is capable of doing nearly everything you can do with a desktop computer, but with the potential for more meaningful relevance to our daily activities. The mobile phone is not merely a telephone. In fact, modern mobile devices deliver on the long-overdue promises that technology will make our lives easier, but without the cable clutter that drives someone like my wife nuts.

Thinking of mobile devices more as personal computers and less as telephones is a difficult shift in perception. The mobile industry of today has somewhat of a split personality—each side with its own conflicting interests: the first half being the telecom infrastructure and the people who run it, required for everything to work but only focused on the network; and the other consisting of the devices we carry, focused on how and when we interact with the network. And yet a third personality is the Web, the repository of the world’s knowledge that we seek to use in the context of our daily activities.

Even the Web is divided within mobile, consisting of the “regular” or desktop web and the mobile web. The desktop web is made up of the sites and web applications designed for a browser running on desktop or laptop computers. In other words, the desktop context involves information that we access typically while stationary and sitting at our desk. The mobile web contains the sites and web applications designed for mobile devices, or the mobile context, which we can access anywhere at any time.

Technically speaking, it is all one Web, at least in terms of the technology that we use to publish information and knowledge. But these two mediums are very different and offer different value to the end user, based on their context—something we will talk about in more detail in Chapter 4.

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