Stage 3: Organizing content on the screen

During this stage, lay out the components on each screen. Make sure that the components are organized in a way that makes sense to users. Make sure that the layout and behavior of each component helps users perform tasks quickly and easily. For example, use spin boxes for a list of sequential items and drop-down lists for non-sequential items or items with irregular intervals.

Design outputs

You can create the following design outputs to help you organize content on the screen:

  • page layouts
  • detailed designs of task flows and navigation
  • a naming model for objects and actions in the UI

User research methods

You can use the following types of user research methods to help you organize content on the screen:

User research method

Purpose

usability evaluation of goal-based tasks

After you evaluate high-level tasks, you can focus on evaluating the details of specific tasks.

terminology evaluation

This type of evaluation provides feedback on the terms used across the application.

The information gathered in this stage can also help you make decisions about what development tasks need to be implemented. For more information on tasks such as pushing screens and running applications in the background, see the BlackBerry Java® Application UI and Navigation Development Guide.

Best practice: Organizing content on the screen

Consider the following guidelines:

  • Stay focused on users' immediate task. Display only the information that users need at any one moment.
  • If there are many components on a screen, group the components where possible.
  • Minimize the number of times that users need to click the trackpad or touch the screen to complete a task.
  • Use clear, concise labels that map to the naming model.
  • Leave enough space in your UI for translated text. The height and the width of text might expand when translated from English to other languages.
  • Avoid overloading users. For example, allow users to select an item from a list instead of making users type the name of an item.
  • Verify that the actions that are available in the menu are relevant to users' current context.
  • Address any physical challenges. For example, if the application displays a lot of content, avoid designing screens that require users to repeatedly scroll to the top of the screen to initiate an action.
  • Try to reduce the amount of time between a user action and the desired result. If an operation takes longer than users expect, provide a meaningful message. If you can determine the duration, display a progress indicator. Otherwise, display an activity indicator.

If you follow the BlackBerry® platform conventions, users know what to expect from their BlackBerry devices.

  • Use BlackBerry UI components in consistent patterns and layouts. Even if you customize a component (for example, change the color) the behavior and layout of the component should stay the same across applications.
  • Make sure that the default menu item for each screen initiates the same action that occurs when users click a trackpad or tap a touch screen. This approach keeps behaviors consistent across devices, including devices that have both a trackpad and a touch screen.
  • Display the application name or screen title, and useful notifications, in the title bar.
  • Design for vertical scrolling. Avoid horizontal scrolling where possible.
  • Avoid making users scroll in dialog boxes.

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