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New immersive webOS app guidelines

If you're wanting to provide users with an "immersive and customized" experience with your app, folks from the Palm UI design team has some advice on how to make sure your webOS app gets noticed when submitting to the App Catalog. While reviewing immersive apps (commonly games that utilize fullscreen mode), the review team noticed the following, writes Chuq Von Rospach:

  • Immersive app developers commonly use custom controls (instead of standard webOS framework controls).
  • Immersive app UI designs (especially for games) are complex, and commonly contain tap targets that are smaller than what we recommend (minimum size = 48 pixels).
  • Immersive app developers commonly include buttons in their UI that navigate to different scenes in their app hierarchy, including buttons like “Back,” “Next” and “Home.”
  • Performing the back gesture feels “natural” when in Portrait orientation, but not in Landscape.

So after much consideration, in addition to the updated Application UI Checklist, immersive app developers should take note of the following list after the jump:

Use one style of controls consistently:

  • If your app uses custom controls in a scene, use those exclusively.
  • If your app uses framework UI controls in a scene, use those exclusively.
  • Do not mix custom controls and framework UI controls.

When displaying a standard scene in your app:

  • Include required UI elements like the App Menu and its standard items (Edit, Help) and the standard Help scene.
  • Support required behaviors users expect, like the Back Gesture.
  • Ensure that your app displays banner notifications and popup notifications from other apps, when they occur.

When displaying a scene in full screen mode:

  • Provide all the UI controls a user needs to navigate to different scenes in the app.
    • It’s okay to include Back or other scene navigation buttons in an immersive full screen UI.
      • If the fullscreen scene is in Portrait orientation, you must support the Back Gesture.
  • Provide visual tap feedback.
    • When a user taps a button, make sure it changes so the user knows the app received the tap.
  • Make sure tap targets are large enough to tap.
    • In standard apps, we recommend tap targets be no smaller than 48 pixels. Developers have told us they think this is “kind of big” for game UI’s, where every pixel is precious. If you must use smaller graphics, increase the size of the DIV they’re enclosed in whenever possible, to increase the size of the tap target. Don’t ever make the tap target smaller than 32 pixels, because targets smaller than that are difficult to detect reliably.
  • Design your UI to run on each webOS device
    • The Palm Pre is a 320 x 480 pixel device. The Palm Pixi is 320 x 400. Make sure your app runs on each. For tips regarding how you can optimize your design for each device, read the document Designing for Flexibility and Responsiveness.
  • Test your app on each webOS device
    • Test your app on the webOS device it’s intended to run on. This is especially important for developers porting apps from other mobile platforms. Try your apps and make sure everything in your UI still feels big enough to tap.

Eventually, Palm hopes to incorporate the above into the UI Checklist; but for now, this is some good advice to help your app get its foot in the door of the App Catalog.

PDN Blog



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