What to Include in a Mobility Software Style Guide

Several weeks ago, I wrote on this blog that mobile software development should be guided by the use of a style guide for consistency. Since then, I’ve received numerous inquiries asking for more details about the type of style elements that might be included in a guide document.

Here is a snapshot from my Table of Contents page:

ImageI am happy to provide my views; however, adding a complete style guide example here is impracticable due to space considerations. So, I’ve done the next best thing by posting a sample mobility software style guide document on my Linkedin Profile page, which can be downloaded for free for review:  www.linkedin.com/in/jerryhorne/

My example style guide document provides the basic elements that many companies might find to be practicable for setting standards for their mobile software development; however, your mobility software style guide might be completely different. And, that’s okay with me.

The important consideration is that one applies a consistent look and feel. As I noted on an earlier blog, companies with large, or, perhaps global, mobile development organizations face distance and communication challenges to provide custom software consistency.

A style guide is a simple tool to help bridge one’s gaps.

Mobile Apps Need Mobile Style Guides

Mobile app development should first start with a mobile style guide in place.

For better or worse, your mobile app presents an image of your company’s brand excellence.

And, the effort your company puts into protecting and fostering your company’s brand image should be no less when developing your mobile apps. Programmers may find they need to work closely with graphic designers, marketers, and, maybe even lawyers to provide a polished and completed product.

There are four key considerations that all mobile style guides should contain to help provide consistency: (1) a consensus user interface for navigation techniques like swipes, pinches, etc.; (2) visual placement guidelines for images, graphics, colors, menus, icons, and text boxes; (3) allowances for font usage for readability – and perhaps support for multiple localized languages, too; and (4) guidelines for the use of legal descriptions, notices, and version releases to protect your product.

And, if your app is to be supported by multiple mobile operating systems and screen sizes, then specific considerations for each system option may need to be included within your style guide.

Style guides for mobile apps may be similar in concept to other corporate style guides used for company logos and other graphical presentations. However, mobile style guides may quickly become multiple page documents to cover the various elements found in mobile apps.

If your company employs remote-based programmers, or if your company hires third-party consultants / programmers to provide custom mobile application software, then a corporate mobile style guide should be mandatory and required if your company wants to have a consistent look and feel for all of your mobile apps regardless of the original point of coding.

Continuity, consistency and creative design can all merge hand-in-hand with a bit of pre-planning. Mobile style guides are a simple and efficient way to help your company manage your mobile development efforts.