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December 28th, 2012

Designing for Mobile

by in Technology

Designing for Mobile

Designing for Cloud Doodle was a very eye opening experience. In an  addition to creating multiple layouts for the different sections of Cloud Doodle (Drawing, Free Draw and Postcards), special care had to be taken for the numerous (putting it lightly) resolutions and aspect ratios. Not only that, a decision had to be made for whether or not we wanted to allow the app be viewable in landscape or portrait view. Ultimately we made the decision to only design for landscape due to the limited screen space available. We wanted to make sure the users had as much space as possible to draw and create their images.

To give you an idea of the diversity of the android platform, take a look at the photo below.

This is a just a fraction of what the android market has to offer.  With over 15 different phones and a half dozen tablets released just this year alone, confirming our design was consistent across all devices was no small task. It took a lot of time, testing and revisions.

Thankfully Android provides a great wealth of information for developers and designers that streamlines the design process by ensuring that you have the knowledge you need to ensure  your content is device ready.
During, testing we found that it was necessary to divide the multiple devices into 4 categories of screen density.

  • ldpi: Low Density screens – 120dpi
  • mdpi: Medium Density screens (also known as “baseline”) – 160dpi
  • hdpi: High Density screens –  240dpi
  • xhdpi: Extra High Density screens – 320dpi

More than anything, this was necessary for designing our buttons.

This was done because creating content for every different screen size and density would seriously impact size and memory usage. We wanted to make sure that Cloud Doodle would be accessible for the majority of Android devices out there including those that did not have large internal memory.

By separating device types into these 4 generalized sub groups we were able to limit the amount of customized content needed while letting the Android API handle any necessary adjustments in the background.

While this worked out very well, there was still lots of tweaking that had to be done in terms of resizing of images as well and placement adjustments to make sure content and buttons were visible and accessible.

In the days and weeks to come, I will be continuing to share my experiences in designing for Cloud Doodle and Android in general.

Designer at Translucent Computing Inc.

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December 28th, 2012

by in Technology

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