We are currently at Microsoft TechEd 2009 conference in Berlin and report you some of the best bits of the sessions we are joining. This session, Adding live an intelligence to Windows Mobile 6.5, was about how to use different sensors on mobile devices (Pocket PC, Smartphone, Handheld PC and Industrial Devices) and the main points you have to consider when designing user interfaces for mobile applications to get good user experience.
Following sensors were introduced in this session:
· GSensor (accelerometer, to measure orientation in the room)
· Light sensor
· Stylus sensor (to recognize if stylus has been taken out/put in)
These sensors can be easily accessed through the Unified Sensor API, which you can find on http://www.codeplex.com/sensorapi. Another nice sensor, which is coming up more and more, is the touch sensor. To use this feature in a very effective way no special API is needed, just use the mouse events from CF.
After this part of user input treatment we got a short overview about providing feedback to the user. The three main methods to do this on a mobile device are visual feedback, sounds and vibration. As sound feedback you can use either system sounds or create a sound object by your own with any source you like. To control the vibration mode you should include the OpenNetCF framework. But consider that you need different libraries either for Pocket PC’s (OpenNetCF.WindowsCE) or Smartphone’s (OpenNetCF.WindowsMobile).
We really enjoyed listening to this session. It gave an excellent introduction of human-machine interaction and showed how easy (only a few lines of code) really cool things can be implemented.
Some important tips collected for you:
· Always keep in mind user’s perspective!
· Don’t copy your PC applications directly to mobile, because this could dissatisfy your users (cause of the much smaller screen)!
· Avoid scrolling!
· Carefully use sound as feedback signal, this could annoy your users!
· Don’t overload the screen!
· Find a lot of useful tips on http://www.msdn.com
Adam Kortylewski and Raphael Bösch
Your Swiss MSP TechEd Blogging Team