Float Mobile Symposium at Techweek 2012

Yesterday I attended the Float Mobile Symposium at Techweek 2012 and heard a few interesting speakers. Here are my notes:

Designing for Device Independence

  • Size on-screen elements using physical units (points), and not pixels. Differences in pixel density make pixel-based sizing impossible.
  • As iPad-challenger tablets come along, and only a few (if any) succeed, expect screen sizes to solidify around a few sets of physical dimensions (7-inch and 10-inch). Expect less fragmentation in device screen size and aspect ratio over time.
  • What you display on a 7-inch tablet should not be a shrunken down version of what you display on 10-inch devices. Tailor your content for the 7-inch display if that is a large segment of your user population.

E-Learning in the Mobile Context

  • Mobile e-learning is not just migrating all your existing content to tablets and handhelds.
  • E-learning in the mobile space is about getting the right information to the learner at the right moment and in the right place.
  • Use gamification if it makes compelling content more engaging. But start with good content, because badges and leader boards don’t make bad content good.

Semantic Markup in HTML5

  • Use structural tags like <article>, <section>, <header>, and <footer> to help screen readers and search crawlers understand (and not just display) your content.
  • Semantic markup is unambiguous, accessible, and future proof.
  • As search engines like Google and Bing pull more of your content into their search results pages, semantic markup can place your content ahead of your competition.
  • Be open to evolving standards. HTML5 may be the last numbered version, at which point it becomes just HTML as an ever evolving specification.

Speakers included: Shay Howe, UI engineer at Groupon; Steven Hoober, author of Designing Mobile Interfaces; and Kris Rockwell, founder of Hybird Learning Systems.