Click here to buy from Amazon.The page is the area that you will spend your time designing for any application or website. A part of it is visible in the viewport of the mobile screen during its current state. There are states and modes and versions to be considered, as well as addressing what is fixed to the page, what can float, and what is locked to the viewport.

Based on cultural norms of reading conventions and how people process information, you have to design elements for the page, and place items on it in ways your users will understand. You also want to create information that is easy to access and easy to locate. Your users are not stationary, nor are they focused entirely on the screen. They’re everywhere, and they want information quickly and to be able to manipulate it easily.

Unlike later parts of this book, which cover broader topics, the Page patterns that we will discuss here are contained in only a single chapter:

Helpful Knowledge for This Section

Before you dive into the patterns, we will provide you with some extra knowledge in the section introductions. This extra knowledge is in multidisciplinary areas of human factors, engineering, psychology, art, or whatever else we feel is relevant.

For this particular section, we will provide background knowledge for you in the following areas:

Digital Display Page Layout Principles

The composition of a page has to do with the assembly of components, concepts, content, and other elements to build up the final design. As we already know, consistency is important, so these elements are not placed arbitrarily on the page, or even just as the one page dictates, but on rules across the system, or even the whole OS.

Figure I-1. Developing a common grid and hierarchy of information for the entire application or site is key to a consistently usable and consistently branded experience. After a grid such as this is created and wrapper elements are defined, a series of templates can be created, and then individual pages and states.

At the highest level is the grid. This is a regularized series of guides, defining the spacing and alignment of the main elements on all the pages in the system, as shown in Figure I-1. Some rules are inviolable, such as margins, and some are specifically designed to offer options for special page layouts, or unexpected future changes.

From these are developed a series of templates, from which each page in the application, site, or other process will be designed and built. This encourages a consistent user and brand experience that supports content organization and layout, advertising require- ments, navigation, and message display characteristics such as legibility and readability.

Patterns within Chapter 1, such as Fixed Menu, Revealable Menu, Notifications, and Titles, are repeated at the same place on each and every page, and so reside in each template. A subsidiary concept is that of the wrapper, which defines these common compo- nents—and others, such as scroll bars—so that they are consistently designed and built for each and every page template.

Mobile users have specific tasks and goals. They require that the information be quickly located and effectively organized. Therefore, the page layouts need to reflect the mental models and schemas understood by users. If you ignore these, you will end up with situations such as that shown in Figure I-2. Your users can become frustrated and dissatisfied with their experience, create miscues and errors, and maybe even give up!

Furthermore, using page layouts wisely allows you to organize and place content effec- tively on valuable screen real estate, where every pixel is important.

Page Layout Guidelines for Mobile Users

Figure I-2. If you don’t follow the principles of a grid and templates, you will end up applying components in overly variable ways. Here, the title is far below the tab, separated by the banner ad. On the search page, there is a search dialog above the title, pushing it farther down. On the home page, the addition of the “more” icon makes it unclear whether “Top Stories” is the page title, section title, or something else. And in Settings, the new style of banner draws the eye, so it seems, for a moment, that this is the title.

Here are some page layout guidelines to follow:

Consider how users will view your page when plotting content. Generally, users will look for high-priority information in the upper left of the content area (Nielsen 2010).

Getting Started

You now have a general understanding that a page is an area that occupies the viewport of a mobile display. Pages can use a wrapper template to organize information consistently across the OS that will allow for a satisfying user experience. When making design decisions you must consider everything in this page section, even if you don’t have control (i.e., you’re not building an OS). You must know what it might do to your design. Consider your user’s goals and cognitive abilities, page layout guidelines, and the impor- tance of legibility and readability in message displays.

The following chapter will provide specific information on theory and tactics, and will illustrate examples of appropriate design patterns. Always remember to read the antipatterns, to make sure you don’t misuse or overuse a pattern.

Next: Composition

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