Designing for Different Screens and Devices

Sustainable UX design practices

Gone are the days of mass consumption without questioning, users expect you to serve content in a highly customised way and they don’t want anything that is served to them just for the sake of serving. They have great attention to detailing and so it is very important that new age designers should accept this challenge from the users and work continuously to provide content with incredible detailing and customisation.

Simply resizing the content for different screens as per the display size of various devices does not imply effective and meaningful designing. In fact, it is the most absurd and lethargic way of design thinking.

Great UX designers provide uniquely tailored visual content to their users, by considering various factors such as usage occasion, usability, readability, viewability and sensitivity across a wide array of devices, based on screen size varying from micro screens to large desktop screens. They aim to provide seamless experience across all sorts of devices irrespective of screen size to provide instant satisfaction.

So, a strategy based on the below parameters should be adopted to make the design effective.

Core User Experience

The basic reason why each product exists is because of its core user experience. To find the core UX the developer should identify the most important and common task of the customer. For example, Gmail’s core user experience revolves around checking emails and sending emails. Gmail concentrates on these two core experiences while designing the UI for various devices and also tries to provide a seamless integration of support features like archiving emails, deleting emails and blocking spam emails, etc,..

Product’s Design Group

Different services are provided by different devices in different contexts. It is impossible to target individual devices from myriad of devices with different screen size but defining a group of devices is possible, based on the tasks the user is likely to focus.

The most common device groups are:
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Desktops and Laptops
  • Smart TVs
  • Smartwatches

Experience for Each Context of Use

After identifying core UX and device groups, then identify the experience for each group (for each context of use) should be adapted.

Initially, on all devices not all features make sense. One need to identify the different scenarios in which the product will be used across the groups of devices, and design an experience suitable for each of those scenarios. Second, there are different input methods like touch, voice, text. The input methods are different for different screens.

Mobile First Experience

Design strategy is better when designing starts from smallest screen up to the largest — meaning that the first and primary design should be, for the full Mobile Phones (it had less functionalities) because if the preference is given to large screen devices like desktops it will support more functionalities. Increase in the number of functionalities also increase in number of block or error portions. So, preference should always be given to small screens rather than large screens.

When the design for smallest screen size is started first, it forces to decide what matters most and act judiciously. After a while, apply this same approach of careful selection to other versions of the product, be it on desktop, tablet, or TV.

Consistent and Seamless Experience

A consistent experience should be provided across all platforms. It means that the app and its experience are similar across all screen sizes. One of the key components of a successful omnichannel user experience regardless of device is a consistent user experience.

Long back Apple had considered this and developed the CONTINUITY feature, that enabled the user to start a transaction in one device, proceed the transaction in the second device and complete the transaction in another device. Of course before rolling out this feature they had to ensure that UX design in all the devices are relevant to the device and are engaging enough to deliver a consistent and seamless experience.

Design Test

Sometimes the UX design succeeded in test environment does not always hold up well in the real world. So, to overcome this UX problem, all the real world design issues should be identified and resolved prior to the actual release. Usability test for the product from the real user on actual devices will help in uncovering large number of UX issues.Finally, the end user experience is what matters the most while designing for multiple screens and platforms.

As a new age UX designer, one should always aim to provide optimal experience for the user, by evaluating when, where and how a product will be used by the user. Users expect a smooth experience across devices regardless of what size screen your content is on and let’s give them what they need by following the above best practices.