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Basic things to know while designing Blackberry Ap...
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by avn on Thursday, 25 March 2010
Basic things to know while designing Blackberry App


Basic things to know while designing for Blackberry Apps : 

 

 

Design principles for BlackBerry devices

 

Applications designed for BlackBerry® devices should provide a balance between the best possible user experience and a long battery life. When you design your BlackBerry device application, consider the differences between mobile devices and computers. Mobile devices have the following characteristics:

or information on designing web pages for BlackBerry devices, see the BlackBerry Browser Content Design Guidelines.

Best practice: Designing applications for BlackBerry devices

When you design applications for BlackBerry® devices, try to be as consistent as possible with other BlackBerrydevice applications. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Use or extend existing UI components where possible so that your application can inherit the default behavior of the component.
  • Follow the standard navigation model as closely as possible so that a particular user action produces a consistent result across applications. For example, allow users to open the context menu in all applications by clicking the trackball or trackpad.
  • Support and extend user tasks in useful ways. For example, when users download an application, the application should open automatically. The application should also be saved in the Applications folder.

When you design your application, also consider the following guidelines:

  • Stay focused on users' immediate task. Display only the information that users need at any one moment.
  • Verify that the actions that are available in the menu are relevant to users' current context.
  • Minimize the number of times that users need to click the trackwheel, trackball, trackpad, or touch screen to complete a task.
  • Design your UI to allow users to change their mind and undo commands. Users sometimes click the wrong menu item or button accidentally. For example, use an alert dialog box to notify users of a critical action such as deleting data from their BlackBerry devices.
  • Display information in a way that makes effective use of the small screen.
 

Application screens

Multiple screens can be open on a BlackBerry® device at one time, but users can view only one screen at a time. When multiple screens are open, they are organized in a stack. The screen at the top of the stack is the active screen. When an application displays a screen, the BlackBerry® Java® Virtual Machine pushes it to the top of the stack. When a screen closes, the BlackBerry Java Virtual Machine deletes the screen from the top of the stack and displays the next screen on the stack. The application redraws the screen as necessary.

A screen typically has the following characteristics:

Screen element

Description

nonscrolling title bar

This bar appears at the top of the screen and can include a descriptive screen title and indicators such as the battery power indicator and wireless coverage indicator.


This screen shows a title bar on a BlackBerry device.

scroll arrows or bars

If content extends beyond the viewing area, scroll arrows or scroll bars appear. Vertical scroll arrows or scroll bars appear on the right side of the screen, and horizontal scroll bars appear at the bottom of the screen. Scroll bars do not interfere with text.


This screen shows scroll arrows and a scroll bar on a BlackBerry device.

context menu

A context menu contains a list of the most common available actions that users can perform within the current context.

On BlackBerry devices with a trackball or trackpad, a context menu appears when users click the trackball or trackpad and there is no default action. The context menu appears at the bottom of a screen, centered horizontally.

On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, a context menu appears when users click an item that has a number of common actions associated with it (for example, a date separator in a message list or a contact name in a message). The context menu appears to the right of the highlighted item. If there is not enough space to the right, the context menu appears to the left of the highlighted item.


This screen shows a context menu on a BlackBerry device.

full menu

A full menu contains all the available actions for an application. To open a full menu, users press the Menu key. Full menus appear in the lower-left corner of the screen.


This screen shows a full menu.

toolbar

On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, a toolbar appears at the bottom of the screen. Toolbars provide users with access to common actions, such as composing an email message or adding a browser bookmark.


This screen shows a toolbar.

portrait and landscape view

On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, users can switch between portrait view and landscape view by turning the device sideways.

Figure 1. Portrait view 
This screen shows an example of a wireless service provider therme.

Figure 2. Landscape view 
This image shows landscape view on a BlackBerry device with a touch screen.

Best practice: Designing application screens

  • Delete your application screen from the stack when users close a screen. If you use standard components, theBlackBerry® device automatically deletes screens from the stack.
  • Set appropriate focus when your application screens open. Typically, you should set the focus on the control that users are most likely to use first. If this control is not near the top of the screen, consider changing the layout of the screen.
  • Repaint the screen judiciously. Your BlackBerry device application should not perform unnecessary screen repaints.
  • Use a limited number of nested layouts. The more nested layouts that you use to build your screen, the longer it takes for the BlackBerry device to render the screen.
  • Verify that your application receives and loses focus appropriately.
  • Support multiple screen resolutions and sizes. If you use standard UI fields to build your screens, theBlackBerry device automatically renders content to fit the screen. Otherwise, you might need to include the necessary logic to determine the screen size at runtime. Always test your application on different BlackBerrydevice models and screen sizes.
  • Include a Close menu item that users can use to close the application. When users click the menu item or press the Escape key, the application should close. If you use standard components, the Close menu item appears in the menu automatically.
  • Prompt users with a dialog box to save any unsaved data before closing a screen.
  • Where possible, inherit the visual style of the theme that users have selected. If your application does not inherit the visual style from the theme, try to provide a consistent experience for your users.
  • Avoid hardcoding color values. The color values that you choose might not work with the theme that users have selected.

Guidelines for layout

  • Use a vertical layout for your application screens and include scroll arrows or a scroll bar to allow users to scroll up or down the screens. If you use standard components, scroll arrows are inherited. If you build a custom scroll bar, try to be consistent with other applications on the BlackBerry device.
  • On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, verify that the screens display correctly in both portrait and landscape view.
  • Include a title bar that describes the content of the screen.
  • Consider including the date, time, battery power level indicator, and wireless coverage indicator in the banner of the application, especially if the application requires a wireless connection.
  • Display the most important information at the top of the screen. For example, for contact information, display the name first, followed by the email address and phone numbers. Display a field such as the Notes field last.
  • Limit the number of controls that appear on the screen at one time.
  • Place all actions that the user can perform in the full menu for the application.
  • Use line separators on a screen to separate controls or to indicate a group of controls.
  • Consider localization requirements as early in the design process as possible. Localization can affect the layout of screens.
 

Display specifications for BlackBerry devices

BlackBerry device model

Display screen size

Pixels per inch

Dot pitch (mm)

BlackBerry® 7100 Series

240 x 260 pixels

151

0.168

BlackBerry® 8700 Series

320 x 240 pixels

154

0.165


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