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Designing for Device: Orientation & Resolution

March 3, 2016 | Lucy Tozer

Designing for Device: Orientation & Resolution

When designing apps for different devices it is essential that you consider both the orientation and resolution of each device.

It is important to establish whether the device you are designing for orientates in both landscape and portrait. The design needs to suit both orientations and needs to transition smoothly when the angle is changed. It is also necessary to consider the default orientation of the device, for example most smartphones and iPads adopt portrait, whereas most Android and Windows 8 tablets are primarily defaulted to landscape. You should always remember that the primary orientation of your app should always serve the device’s default mode and functionality[1].

Designers should also take into account the various resolutions across the different devices to guarantee that the app looks effective and works properly. Conduct research on the different devices to ensure that you maximise quality and resolution of all app assets. This will help to minimise the amount of pixilation and poor image quality.

PageSuite’s Lead Designer, Emily Jarvis, said “Making effective use of screen real estate is always a design challenge. Consider the task at hand and how this affects the UI layout, as some content lends itself better to a particular orientation. For example, long scrolling lists tend to work better in a portrait orientation or viewing a double page spread of a newspaper or magazine is better suited to just a landscape orientation. Also, in instances where specific functionality is available in only one orientation, it’s important to make it as clear as possible through either quick tutorial screens or pop-up screen hints to help notify the user.”

[1] https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/08/designing-device-orientation-portrait-landscape/