Full day training course

Mobile Apps for Touchscreens

App-specific usability guidelines for phones and tablets

Starting June 2014, this course will be replaced by a new offering Usability of Mobile Websites and Apps.

Different platforms require different user interface design. What works for mouse-driven desktop design is not the same as for gesture-driven touchscreen design. Additionally, apps allows us to streamline functionality in more phone-specific design. In this course, you will learn the UI elements for creating successful apps on devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle.

This course focuses on the user experience, not on development or programing.


  • Behavioral differences between tablets and phones
    • Usage patterns and activities among mobile users
    • Design standards that people expect
  • Device differences: Android vs. iPhone vs. Windows Phone 7
    • Considerations and solutions for various screen sizes
    • Explore implications of different platforms on the design
  • Determining an apps functionality
  • Navigation and search
    • Navigation patterns
    • When to hide navigation
  • Workflow and path to content
    • Button placement
    • Guiding users through "Steps"
  • Input on the touch screen
    • Touch target: Size and affordances
    • Errors: Accidental touches and the back button
  • Gestures and multi-touch
    • Gesture affordances and familiarity
    • Progressive disclosure and gesture overload
  • Orientation: Landscape vs. portrait views
  • Creating a pleasant initial experience
  • Dialogs and notifications
    • Alerts, including toasts (alerts for Android)
    • Modal dialogs, split views, multi-pane screens, and popovers
  • Locations
    • Use of location
    • Locator tools
  • Instructions and help
    • Contextual information
    • Progressive disclosure

Free Material with Course Attendance

Nielsen Norman Group Tablet Website & Application UX report (a $198 value).


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:

  • Findings from our own usability studies
  • Videos from usability testing of people's behavior in response to an app design
  • Screenshots of app designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answer

Starting June 2014, this course will be replaced by a new offering Usability of Mobile Websites and Apps.

Companion Course

Mobile Websites and Apps is a companion course to Mobile Apps for Touchscreens. Each course can be taken independently. Mobile Websites and Apps covers:

  • Best practices for creating user-friendly mobile interfaces
  • Mobile strategy. What is better: Apps, web app, mobile website, or responsive design?
  • How to conduct mobile usability studies


Raluca Budiu

Raluca Budiu is a Senior Researcher with Nielsen Norman Group. At NN/g she consults for clients from a variety of industries and presents tutorials on mobile and tablet usability, cognitive psychology for designers, and principles of human computer interaction. She coauthored the NN/g reports on tablet usability, mobile usability, iPad usability, and the usability of children's websites, and the book "Mobile Usability". Raluca also served as a judge for GSMA Global Mobile Awards 2012-2014 and Tabby Awards 2013. She holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. Read more about Raluca

Amy Schade

Amy Schade works with clients large and small in a variety of industries such as telecommunications, e-commerce, government, travel, automotive, music, publishing, banking, non-profit and education, including extensive work on corporate intranets. She has conducted worldwide user research, including longitudinal studies, remote studies and eyetracking research, running studies in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Read more about Amy