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Old 11-07-2009, 07:39 AM
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Default Tips For Designing Better Nokia Themes

It's piece of art - so get creative!

* A good Theme should be useful, usable, unique, and, above all, desirable. At their best, Themes are a clever combination of art, vital information, and good usability. For users, Themes are a way to express their individuality. Your Theme will be successful if it has something unique and personal. Itís like good clothing: it's nice to wear, nice to have, keeps you warm, and tells something about the person who wears it.
* A proper Theme is much more than one new background. Be open-minded with all the possibilities provided by the Series 60 technology, such as nine-piece highlights or the possibility to create your own icons and sounds from scratch.
* Design and revise. Even the best sketches need revising and require hard disciplined work to make them really good. As Hemmingway put it, "I write 99 pages of crap for every one page of masterpiece."
* Follow your intuition and remember copyright issues - use only material of which you possess all copyrights.

Even though it's art, keep it usable

* Keep it simple: text must be easily readable and, most importantly, icons (for example, battery) should remain informative. A user should find basic information such as clock, battery charge, and signal strength at first glance (See Figure 1).
* Don't use the "idle" screen as your only reference screen. While it's easy to make it look good, it doesnít tell anything about the actual usage of the Theme. Instead, use screens like "Applications" or "Calendar" with different views to judge how good your Theme is in day-to-day usage.
* Indication is important: concentrate on highlighting. Wherever possible, there should be clear states for the "active" and "passive" modes.
* Devices are small and text is even smaller - keep contrast high enough. A user should be able to easily read messages, even in low lighting conditions. Dark text on a light background is better than vice versa in most cases. (See Figure 2).
* Reflections and drop shadows are a good way to provide better contrast for the icons and menu items - wisely used drop shadows provide a professional look. Remember that some devices don't support soft masks.
* Less is usually more - choose a basic color scheme and follow that through the whole Theme. Concentrate on a color scheme that is harmonious and avoid too vibrant colors. It's a good idea to study a little bit of color theory in order to avoid problematic combinations.
* Too many details create a restless Theme - don't squeeze too much into too small an area.

To be usable, it has to be consistent

* Series 60 devices have almost 900 different objects that can be changed ó so, itís easy to get lost while creating a Theme. Take one basic idea for the Theme and focus on that. You will definitely have many great ideas, but don't try to fit them all into one Theme. Use these ideas to create additional Themes.
* While you design your own icons, it's a good idea to study those symbols that surround you and your culture. The best icons are not just intuitive - they are easy to learn and recognize as well. Creating one excellent icon may take days, so don't rush.
* In most cases, it's good to make big icons antialiased, but small ones (like those in View tabs) should be without antialiasing.
* Remember the limitations of the target device. It's totally different to create a Theme for a Series 40 device than for a Series 60 device. Basically, it's better to start with Series 60 devices because they offer the best possibilities available in the market for Theme customization. For Series 40 devices, itís relatively easy to port a Theme from Series 60 devices. You will need some fine-tuning since the screen is smaller and colors won't be same as they are in Series 60 devices.

Test your masterpiece

* A good Theme will be excellent with proper user testing. Use your co-workers, friends, and random passers-by to obtain overall opinions and impressions. Ask two or three friends to use your Theme for a few days and to write down their opinions. It's always better to get feedback prior to release than afterwards.
* Don't rely on what you see on your screen of the Series 40 or Series 60 Theme Studio application - use real devices as much as possible. Screen resolution and colors are different on the device than on the monitor. In particular, you'll notice a difference with the tone of colors and gradients.
* There are four key aspects to testing a Theme: 1) suitability, 2) usability, 3) execution testing, and 4) delivery testing. You can find more information about these from the Forum Nokia document Series 40 And Series 60 Themes White Paper.
* It's advised to have your Series 60 Theme *.sis files verified and signed using Symbian Signed. You can read more about from [Only Registered users can see links . Click Here To Register...].

Figure 1: Good Theme design (Figure A, courtesy of MangoDesign) versus bad Theme design (Figure .

1. Signal strength and battery charge graphics should always be easily located. Make it easy to see what the maximum/minimum level is as well as the current status.
2. Good indication is important. It's advised to have a clear triangle as the Scroll icon in the Control area with a strong contrast to the background.
3. View tabs are another important area to make usable. Highlight the active tab (current page), use a different color or tone for passive tabs, and make it easy to see if there are more tabs on the right (or left) to scroll.
4. Since the Application menu is one of the most viewed areas, it is a good place to test your Theme's usability. The icon text must be readable and highlighting should have enough contrast so that the users always know where they are.
5. There are many different icons that must stand out while using the device, such as "new message", "keypad locked", "bluetooth active", and so on. Remember to test your Theme so that the user can see these signs in every possible situation.
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:13 AM
cristinamartine cristinamartine is offline
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I will give you few tips for designing for better Nokia themes. you should be able to implement these tips for a better blog design. There ists are like Keep the ads separate from the content, Donít use the default WordPress theme, Add your own unique header, Beware of using too many widgets and plugins, etc. Otherwise you can search in Google for better designing of nokia themes.
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