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Hardcover | $36.00 Short | £29.95 | 168 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 18 figures | September 2012 | ISBN: 9780262017930
eBook | $36.00 Short | September 2012 | ISBN: 9780262306393
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Building Mobile Experiences


The mobile device is changing the ways we interact with each other and with the world. The mobile experience is distinct from the desktop or laptop experience; mobile apps require a significantly different design philosophy as well as design methods that reflect the unique experience of computing in the world. This book presents an approach to designing mobile media that takes advantage of the Internet-connected, context-aware, and media-sharing capabilities of mobile devices. It introduces tools that can be used at every stage of building a mobile application, from concept creation to commercialization, as well as real-world examples from industry and academia.

The methods outlined apply user-centered design processes to mobile devices in a way that makes these methods relevant to the mobile experience--which involves the use of systems in the complex spatial and social world rather than at a desk. The book shows how each project begins with generative research into the practices and desires of a diverse set of potential users, which grounds research and design in the real world. It then describes methods for rapid prototyping, usability evaluation, field testing, and scaling up solutions in order to bring a product to market. Building Mobile Experiences grew out of an MIT course in communicating with mobile technology; it is appropriate for classroom use and as a reference for mobile app designers.

About the Authors

Frank Bentley is a Principal Research Associate in the HCI Research Group at Yahoo Labs in San Francisco. Bentley and Edward Barrett teach the MIT course Communicating Using Mobile Technology.

Edward Barrett is Senior Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT.

Table of Contents

  • Building Mobile Experiences
  • Building Mobile Experiences
  • Frank Bentley and Edward Barrett
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2012
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • The contents of this book are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent Motorola Mobility’s positions, strategies, or opinions.
  • MIT Press books may be purchased at special quantity discounts for business or sales promotional use. For information, please email or write to Special Sales Department, The MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.
  • This book was set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited, Hong Kong. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Bentley, Frank, 1979–
  • Building mobile experiences / Frank Bentley and Edward Barrett.
  •  p. cm.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • ISBN 978-0-262-01793-0 (hardcover: alk. paper)
  • 1. Mobile computing. 2. User interfaces (Computer systems) 3. Mobile communication systems—Equipment and supplies. 4. Application software—Development. I. Barrett, Edward.  II. Title.
  • QA76.59.B427 2012
  • 004—dc23
  • 2012004563
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • 1 Introduction 1
  • 2 The User-Centered Design Process Applied to Mobile 17
  • 3 Discovering What to Build 29
  • 4 Rapid Iterative Prototyping 53
  • 5 Using Specific Mobile Technologies 69
  • 6 Mobile Interaction Design 83
  • 7 Usability Evaluation 97
  • 8 Field Testing 109
  • 9 Distributing Mobile Applications: Putting It All Together 123
  • 10 Conclusion 135
  • Acknowledgments 139
  • Author Bios 141
  • References 143
  • Index 153


“Frank Bentley and Edward Barrett's book is easy to read and clearly conveys lessons from a decade of building and teaching mobile experience design. It is full of suggestions and rules of thumb for rapid, successful design, evaluation, and interaction. Recommended for anyone building mobile applications or teaching mobile experience design.”
Joseph “Jofish” Kaye, Senior Research Scientist, Nokia Research Center and Consulting; Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Building Mobile Experiences is a grounded, well-researched, practical guide to application and service design for current and emerging mobile platforms and devices. The text offers a tried and tested toolkit of innovation methods suitable for researchers and practitioners interested in experience and interaction design as well as for technical and business development professionals. Dealing with thorny issues like scalability, instrumentation, ethics, and business relevance, the authors introduce all of the core topics and approaches that are needed for effective and programmatic design of mobile applications and services.”
Elizabeth F. Churchill, Executive Vice President, ACM SigCHI
“Frank Bentley and Edward Barrett beautifully assemble the methodologies needed to address the strategic border zone of mobile social media-rich user experiences. They write from deep knowledge of what has been done, what is possible, and what it means to build production apps in the trenches of Motorola and the labs of MIT. Bentley and Barrett delightfully conjure the mobile social media interface ecosystem, from ethnography to sensing modalities to services and applications, emphasizing essential and diverse forms of data. A must read.”
Andruid Kerne, Director, The Interface Ecology Lab at Texas A&M University