Full day training course offered at Usability Week Dallas

Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet: Day 1

Basic components and patterns of mobile design

Aesthetics and interaction play a critical role in the success of a mobile experience; they can alter a person’s perception of the usefulness of your mobile app or website. Learn how appearance and function can combine to create both beautiful and usable mobile interfaces for your users. This course is ideal for people who are new or have limited experience in mobile design, or for those with experience who want to brush up on the basics.

"The examples and explanations were great. Learning why certain designs only looked great but weren't great for functionality was very eye-opening."

Chrichelle Fernandez
American Fidelity

Please note: This seminar focuses on visual and interaction design, not on development or programming.

Topics Covered

  • Balance aesthetics with functionality to create an elegant and functional design
    • Understand how presentation affects interpretation of functionality
    • Examples of visual design affecting usability
    • Designs to guide users towards completing a task
  • Identify visually-awkward design decisions and know how to fix them
  • Designing for touch
    • Target sizes and spacing
    • Avoiding view-tap asymmetry
    • Designing for repeat gestures
    • Controls that are reachable and noticeable
  • Basic visual design components for mobile design
    • App launch icons
    • Icon design
    • Navigation bars
    • Action bars
    • Tab bars
    • Menus and lists
  • Creating signifiers and affordances
    • Links
    • Buttons
    • Carousels and swipe-able content
    • Encouraging scrolling
    • Avoiding the illusion of completeness
  • Content design
    • Hints, coach marks, and intro screens
    • Utilizing contrast
    • Building information hierarchy
    • Visual priority and prominence
    • Establishing internal consistency
    • Strategic skeuomorphism


The basis of the course is a lecture format with a couple of group exercises to reinforce the learned principles and guidelines.

The course also includes:

  • Screenshots of designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answers

Companion Course

Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet: Day 2 is a companion course to Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet: Day 1. Each course can be taken independently. Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet: Day 2 covers:

  • Advanced visual design principles for mobile devices
  • Visual design and interaction patterns for common mobile experiences
  • Tips to differentiate your design from competitors


Kara McCain

For more than 13 years, Kara McCain has been creating innovative brand and user experiences in the search, social media, luxury, hotel, travel, telecommunications, jewelry, professional sports, e-commerce, government and food service industries. Her expertise has allowed her to develop and implement highly successful Web and print design strategies for top Fortune 500 companies. Read more about Kara

Course Date: April 11, 2013

Apply this course toward UX Certification

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