Full day training course offered at The UX Conference San Francisco

Visual Design for Mobile and Tablet: Day 1

Basic components and patterns of mobile design

Course Date: May 02, 2013

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

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
  • Designing for touch and physical constraints
    • Target sizes and spacing
    • Avoiding view-tap asymmetry
    • Designing for repeat gestures
    • Controls that are reachable and noticeable
  • Creating enticing entry points
    • Minimal barriers
    • Points of prospect and navigation
  • Icon design
    • Classifications, when to use each based on mental models
    • Icon usability testing
  • Creating signifiers and affordances
    • Links
    • Buttons
    • Carousels and swipe-able content
    • Encouraging scrolling
    • Avoiding the illusion of completeness
    • Providing visual feedback of status changes
  • Visual styles and their benefits
    • Strategic skeuomorphism
    • Flat and semi-flat design
    • Material design
  • Branding vs. Standardization
    • Establishing internal consistency
    • Exhibiting external (OS, web) consistency
    • Inserting personality and individuality



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

Participant Comments

Participant Comments

"It would take me five years to find, analyze and document what I learned with Aurora in a day!"

A. Gringay, Brooklyn

"I cannot imagine a better instructor for this course. Aurora is incredibly knowledgeable and intelligent.  She is a great instructor and I was impressed by how well prepared she was. She was focused the entire time and made sure we left this course more knowledgeable. Thank you, Aurora!"

Eli, Amaya Software

"This course gave me a great overview of what to think about when moving an established web page to a mobile platform."

Angie, Idaho Falls, ID

"Incredible instructor. Really interesting content."

Nancy Kosloff, Sacramento Public Library

"This is my 3rd day and I must say that your instructors are outstanding. Very knowledgeable and highly polished."

Ben Bonnet, Octo Consulting

"Nice course for drawing awareness about how visual design can enhance UX. Lots and good examples to demonstrate the concepts that have been discussed. The instructor kept the sessions interesting and engaging."

D. Economou, University of Westminster

"The depth of the instructor's knowledge is really good and impressive. Tips by the instructor on the course are great."

R. Sarda, Juniper Networks,

Companion Course

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.