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Aurora: Designing the Mobile Experience

While we were designing Aurora, we thought about how the experience would scale and translate across multiple devices. For the mobile scenarios, we had to design something that would work on a multi-touch enabled mobile device.

As of today, almost all browser experiences are designed without considering the mobile user. Instead they are derived purely from the desktop experience. My colleague Rachel Hinman says: “I still believe most Internet experiences on mobile devices are broken and compromised, overburdened by interaction models and metaphors from the PC that simply don’t work on small devices. Yet so much of how we understand the Internet – and computing – is based on the PC legacy.”

I was given the task to translate Kumi’s design directions for Aurora from a desktop experience to a mobile experience for the video. My key concerns were to maintain functionality, consistency and respect for the constraints faced by a mobile user.

Since we wanted to design as realistically as possible, we had a prototype made in plastic that reflected the exact form-factor of the mobile device.

Prototype made in plastic (front)

Prototype made in plastic (front)

Prototype made in plastic side

Prototype made in plastic (side)

While iterating various designs on how Aurora would translate for the mobile experience, I always explored how it would look on the actual device by attaching a design print out on top of our plastic prototype. This enabled me to study the sizes and placement of the elements to provide an experience that remained consistent with both of the other Aurora scenarios: the desktop as well as the large-scale, gestural interface.


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