When designing for mobile, keep in mind that you are typically not designing “on” mobile. In the Universal Mind UX studio, we just completed an initiative for SoDA—The Society of Digital Agencies—to create the annual SoDA Report on iPad and Kindle Fire. A key element of our best practices in UX design is to test and view our work on the devices we expect to deploy on so that we may understand the impact each device has on our designs. For the SoDA Report, we needed to accurately assess how our choice of fonts affected the publication’s clarity, readability, and balance across both the iPad and the Kindle Fire.
For this project, we designed both platforms at the same time. Typographic solutions across iOS and Kindle platforms needed to be thoughtfully considered independently from one another. The differences in type choice in our design tools were subtle, but on device, they were dramatic. For instance, in our project the body copy is set as:
- iOS Body Copy Style: Helvetica Light 16/20
- Kindle Fire Body Copy Style: Helvetica Light 19/23
Without previewing these font choices on devices, we would not have guessed these settings for an optimal, readable experience. Be sure to frequently test your font selections on your device even if you simply capture a screen grab of it and send it to your mobile. View it in the sun. View it in a dimly lit room. View it in the environment your users will consume it in. Be critical to the structure of your typographic elements—font size, kerning, tracking, leading, color—and adjust as necessary for desired results.
To accelerate the production of our work for SoDA, we relied heavily on custom InDesign templates and styles. We used the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite for this initiative. With DPS, you create your assets for publication in familiar Adobe Creative Suite tools with InDesign as the primary production environment. By leveraging the templates and style features of InDesign, we were able to work efficiently as a team to produce the designs for both platforms simultaneously.