This week's coverage of SXSW 2012 in Austin, Texas, is provided by Next Issue Media. This post was written by Nicole Martinez; the video interview was conducted by Claus Enevoldsen.
Josh Clark, principal designer and founder of Global Moxie, spoke to hundreds of developers and user experience designers Friday about the process of creating “tap-worthy” mobile apps and websites. As touch applications and devices become more common, the need for intuitive app design is becoming increasingly important.
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The "Tapworthy" and "Best iPhone Apps" author spoke about a new model of application design that puts users in direct contact with content. He urged designers to move away from traditional barriers such as the point-and-click model, where buttons and menus are used to help users navigate app functions such as returning to a previous page or zooming in and out. Rather than focus on small targets such as buttons, designers should make use of big hand gestures and utilize entire touchscreens.
Clark also discussed the need for gesture conventions. He pointed out the wide range of gestures used by digital magazine apps to illustrate the need for a singular, universal set of hand gestures to be used across multiple platforms. Clark also shared his thoughts on what makes a tap-worthy digital magazine app.
Clark had other advice to share: Designing with the operating system in mind is key to creating effective workarounds for native gestures, the author said. Designers must always be looking toward creative, outside-of-the-box solutions.
"Design for humans" was Clark's second tip. Rather than providing users with tiny navigation buttons or clunky manuals to show them how to navigate an app, designers should instead provide visual cues to guide them. Interaction should be effortless; gestures should be natural and intuitive. "Clarity trumps density," Clark stated.
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