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There's Not an App for That - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124166912, 9780124166998

There's Not an App for That

1st Edition

Mobile User Experience Design for Life

Authors: Simon Robinson Gary Marsden Matt Jones
eBook ISBN: 9780124166998
Paperback ISBN: 9780124166912
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 14th September 2014
Page Count: 448
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There’s Not an App for That will make your work stand out from the crowd. It walks you through mobile experiences, and teaches you to evaluate current UX approaches, enabling you to think outside of the screen and beyond the conventional. You’ll review diverse aspects of mobile UX: the screens, the experience, how apps are used, and why they’re used. You’ll find special sections on "challenging your approach", as well as a series of questions you can use to critique and evaluate your own designs. Whether the authors are discussing real-world products in conjunction with suggested improvements, showcasing how existing technologies can be put together in unconventional ways, or even evaluating "far out" mobile experiences of the future, you’ll find plenty of practical pointers and action items to help you in your day-to-day work.

Key Features

  • Provides you with new and innovative ways to think about mobile design
  • Includes future mobile interfaces and interactions, complete with real-world, applied information that teaches you how today’s mobile services can be improved
  • Illustrates themes from existing systems and apps to show clear paths of thought and development, enabling you to better design for the future


UX professionals and designers, app developers, undergraduates/postgraduates, mobile business strategists and mobile enthusiasts

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Preface
  • About the Authors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Photo Credits
  • Chapter 1. Introduction
    • Ecstasy
    • Angst
    • Losing ourselves
    • Rebellion not retreat
    • Life under a lid
    • Future, now
    • Resources
  • Chapter 2. Problem 1
    • Introduction
    • Built as bodies, built for materials
    • Breaking the glass: Visions of what might be possible
    • Rising to the challenge
    • Resources
  • Chapter 3. Opportunity 1.1
    • Introduction
    • Multisensory interaction
    • Material properties impact interaction
    • Going beyond “good for us”
    • Takeaways
    • Resources
  • Chapter 4. Opportunity 1.2
    • Introduction
    • Touching fabric and touching the screen
    • Wearables that respond to wear
    • Intimate interfaces
    • Pret-a-porter
    • Resources
  • Chapter 5. Opportunity 1.3
    • Introduction
    • Designing for how our bodies move
    • Effortful design
    • Are you designing for cyborgs or centaurs?
    • Moving on
    • Resources
  • Chapter 6. Opportunity 1.4
    • Introduction
    • Modalities and multimodality
    • Tangibles: Getting physical
    • Emerging interface materials
    • Resources
  • Chapter 7. Problem 2
    • Introduction
    • What is “heads down”?
    • How did this happen?
    • Face on
    • So what’s to be done?
    • Resources
  • Chapter 8. Opportunity 2.1
    • Introduction
    • Surely heads-up displays are the answer?
    • Is speech the answer?
    • Why do we need to think of alternatives to these exciting technologies?
    • Resources
  • Chapter 9. Opportunity 2.2
    • Introduction
    • Weaning off heads down: Glanceable displays
    • Apps that bite back
    • Beyond the instant
    • Direct manipulation and the power of the wand metaphor
    • When heads down works
    • Facing up to reality
    • Resources
  • Chapter 10. Problem 3
    • Introduction
    • Ordered chaos
    • So what’s to be done?
    • Resources
  • Chapter 11. Opportunity 3.1
    • Introduction
    • Designing for messy organization
    • Designing for messy interaction
    • Designing for mess media
    • Mess and creativity
    • Using clutter in the world
    • Tidying up
    • Resources
  • Chapter 12. Opportunity 3.2
    • The thrill of not being sure
    • Illustrating the value of uncertainty: Navigation without navigating
    • Finding your own way
    • Resources
  • Chapter 13. Problem 4
    • Introduction
    • Together moments
    • Performance at the periphery
    • Leaning in
    • Out of the shadows and onto the stage
    • Resources
  • Chapter 14. Opportunity 4.1
    • Introduction
    • Designing to encourage people to use their mobiles together
    • Designing as if mobiles were public rather than private devices
    • Supporting role to leading actor
    • Resources
  • Chapter 15. Opportunity 4.2
    • Introduction
    • Small screen, large screen
    • Self-expression and embarrassment
    • Writing your own script
    • Resources
  • Chapter 16. Problem 5
    • Introduction
    • Distancing us
    • Becoming mindful
    • Resources
  • Chapter 17. Opportunity 5.1
    • Introduction
    • Modes of interaction
    • Space
    • Identity: Who we are
    • An app for that
    • Solving the problem without apps
    • Resources
  • Chapter 18. Opportunity 5.2
    • Introduction
    • Getting rid of apps 1: Building a just-in-time scheme
    • Getting rid of apps 2: Back to people again
    • Resources
  • Chapter 19. Opportunity 6
    • Introduction
    • Challenges
    • Opportunities
    • Designing for sharing
    • Designing to accommodate literacy levels
    • Designing platforms that empower
    • Designing to make a big difference
    • The road ahead
    • Resources
  • Chapter 20. Bringing Things Together
    • The way forward
    • No time like the present
    • Beyond phones and apps
    • Pathways to the future
    • Resources
  • Index


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2014
14th September 2014
Morgan Kaufmann
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Simon Robinson

Simon Robinson

Simon Robinson is a researcher in the Future Interaction Technology Lab at Swansea University. His work so far has focused on mobile technologies that allow people to immerse themselves in the places, people and events around them, rather than just in their mobile devices. His research - much of which has been part of the thinking behind this book - has been featured in New Scientist magazine, on CBC Radio, and in other international media venues; and, has also been published in many international academic conferences and journals. In the past few years his emphasis has turned toward developing similarly face-on user experiences for resource-constrained communities in regions such as South Africa and India. Simon is an avid rock climber, and loves the fact that climbing doesn’t need a touchscreen to be thoroughly enjoyable.

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Affiliations and Expertise

Swansea University, UK

Gary Marsden

Gary Marsden

Gary Marsden was a professor of computer science at the University of Cape Town, pioneer and passionate advocate of HCI for development, and community builder. He became internationally known for his work in mobile interface design, design, and ICT for development (ICT4D) – for which he was a recipient of the ACM SIGCHI’s Social Impact Award in 2007. He went to great lengths to show how mobile technologies were revolutionizing how developing countries were advancing apace. In doing so, he raised the profile of what developing world actually meant. Gary died suddenly of a heart attack on December 27, 2013, and is survived by his wife Gil and his two children, Holly and Jake.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Matt Jones

Matt Jones

Matt Jones is a professor and Head of Department of Computer Science, Swansea University. His research work focuses on human-centered computing with particular emphasis on mobile and ubiquitous computing and resource-constrained communities in regions such as India and South Africa. His work in these contexts has been recognized by an IBM Faculty Award and, from 2014, by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. Matt has had many active collaborations and interactions with industry, NGO and Governmental stakeholders including Microsoft Research, Nokia Research and IBM Research. In his spare time he tries to live life face-on with his energetic family, and enjoys nothing more than an exhilarating early morning cycle ride to the glorious beaches of the Gower.

Affiliations and Expertise

Swansea University, UK


"...a book for practitioners, researchers, and students who want a glimpse at possible futures for mobile app design, or who agree with the authors’ assertion that 'headsdown thinking' is not the optimal approach for mobile user experience." --Technical Communication

"...focuses on mobile users and tries to determine a good user experience design…The interface should provide a user experience that is more people-oriented rather than interesting book and the concept is explained clearly." --Computing Reviews

"The authors give great examples of inspiration from food, fashion, fitness, and even from mess and uncertainty. They discuss how a design can enhance mindfulness…" --User Experience

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