Considerations When Designing UXUI For Foldable Mobile Devices
As mobile devices are constantly evolving so to must the UXUI that runs on them. This article explains the considerations when designing for foldable devices.
Foldable mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are a relatively new technology that has garnered significant attention in recent years (Google Design, 2019). These devices offer the convenience and portability of a traditional mobile device, while also offering the larger screen size and enhanced functionality of a tablet. However, designing the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) for these devices presents unique challenges and opportunities for designers (UX Planet, 2019). In this article, we will explore the key considerations for UX/UI design for foldable mobile devices and discuss best practices for creating an effective and intuitive user experience.
One of the key considerations for UX/UI design for foldable mobile devices is the concept of “screen continuity,” or the seamless transition between the different screen sizes and configurations of the device (Google Design, 2019). When designing for foldable devices, designers must consider how the user will navigate between the different screen sizes and configurations, and how the user experience will be affected by these transitions (Smashing Magazine, 2019). This can be particularly challenging when designing for apps that are intended to be used in both the small and large screen configurations. The foldability also introduces new complexities, such as how to design for the hinge and how to transition between the folded and unfolded states (Xiao et al., 2020). On some devices there could be as many as three hinges.
To address this challenge, designers can use a variety of strategies, such as creating a “fold-aware” design, in which the user interface adjusts automatically to the different screen sizes and configurations, including any hinges of the device (Google Design, 2019). For example, when the device is folded in half, the UI might display only the most essential information, such as the time, date, and notifications. When the device is unfolded, the UI might display more detailed information and provide access to additional features and functions. This approach can help to create a seamless experience across folded and non folded viewports.
From an experience perspective you can consider incorporating foldable interactions and gestures Foldable devices introduce new possibilities for interactions and gestures beyond those available on traditional devices. For example, users can fold or unfold the device to initiate certain actions or access different features (Kim et al., 2020). Designers should consider how these foldable interactions and gestures can enhance the user experience and make the device more intuitive and efficient to use.
Another possible point to consider is accessibility. Usability and accessibility are always critical considerations in UX/UI design, and this is especially true for foldable devices. The unique form factor and interactions of foldable devices can present challenges for users with disabilities or impairments (Lee et al., 2020). Designers should ensure that the interface is easy to use and navigate for all users, including those with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. This may involve incorporating features such as large buttons, high contrast modes, and screen reader support (Choi et al., 2019). Don’t hide buttons behind hinges and place the most important information on the primary, non folded screen.
In conclusion, designing UX/UI for foldable mobile devices presents unique challenges and opportunities for designers. Some key considerations include screen continuity, foldable interactions and gestures, and usability and accessibility. By taking a user-centered approach and considering these factors, designers can create a seamless and intuitive user experience for foldable devices. It is also important to conduct user testing to gather real feedback and ensure that the UX/UI meets the needs and expectations of the target audience. As the technology continues to evolve, designers will need to stay up to date on the latest best practices and trends in order to create innovative and effective UX/UI designs for foldable devices.
Choi, J., Kim, D., & Lee, J. (2019). UX design guidelines for foldable devices. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1–12). ACM.
Google Design. (2019). Designing for foldable devices. Retrieved from https://design.google/resources/designing-for-foldable-devices/
Kim, D., Lee, J., & Choi, J. (2020). Personalizing the user experience of foldable devices based on user preferences and context. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1–12). ACM.
Lee, J., Kim, D., & Choi, J. (2020). A user-centered design approach for foldable devices. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (pp. 1–12). ACM.
Smashing Magazine. (2019). Designing for foldable devices: Challenges and best practices. Retrieved from https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2019/05/designing-foldable-devices-challenges-best-practices/
UX Planet. (2019). UX/UI design challenges and opportunities for foldable devices. Retrieved from https://uxplanet.org/ux-ui-design-challenges-and-opportunities-for-foldable-devices-45a7d35a5c5e
Xiao, L., Li, X., & Zhang, J. (2020). Hinge design in foldable devices: A review. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (pp. 1–12). ACM.
Iam a UXUI designer currently working at Derivco, a software development company. We design the App for Betway. I write about UXUI topics in my blog, medium and tealfeed. https://www.tomdoesuxui.com/ https://medium.com/@tacree-ux https://twitter.com/tomdoesuxui