Titling and Internal Naming Structure

We always use title case for the actual pattern names. If you run across a name that is capitalized for no apparent reason while reading a sentence (e.g. "Input Method Indicator") that means it is in reference to another pattern in the book, which you can go see to compare. Whenever possible this is also made clear in the text, such as "see the Input Method Indicator pattern for an alternative method."

Within the wiki, these are generally cross linked. Some are not because we forgot. Or linked them wrong, or changed the name later and forgot to update it. To avoid too many links, the first use in a paragraph or section (we're a bit loose on this) tends to be linked, but others often are not.

A few other items will be linked, because the wiki software is trying too hard. If it doesn't seem like a pattern, and doesn't resolve, it's one of these.

Other Terminology

Need to fix this list. Like, review the book and pull all the phrases, etc. Asked Laura if she has time, else we need to try to. Or, just leave it as an index-like task for the O'Reilly guys and leave it broken/open when we deliver it, and ask their advice. Or both.

The following terminology will be used with absolute consistency throughout this document. Aside from easing understanding by referring to this legend for any confusing terms, this should allow you to search for any specific terms if needed. If inconsistencies are detected or other terms are found that are not clear, please fix or make someone aware of it.

Specialized terminology used in other areas, such as references to specific features of cognition and psysiology, will generally be defined inline, so will not be defined here.


Original Equipment Manufacturer. In this case, the handset vendor.


A small application or access method for a full application whose UI is a small component on the home or idle screen. Widgets can display information and responds to user input, unlike simple icons.


A program, generally running in full-screen mode when in focus, that may be installed by the OEM, or installed by the end user.


The operating system on the handset, or the name of the branded operating system when referred to in the UI, as installed by the OEM.


The mobile subscriber terminal, regardless of form factor or capabilities.


Conventional numeric keypads, geared towards dialing, with keys 0 through 9, * and #.


Will only be used to refer to the actual Dual-Tone Multi-Freqency sounds used to activate IVRs and other activities within an active voice call.


Any complete, conventionally-laid-out alphanumeric keyboard.

Idle Screen

The default, non-power-save screen from which the user starts.


Used for any (usually modal) dialog, options or entry box which takes up less than the whole screen. These have the same function (appearing "on top" of the screen) as alert boxes and other pop-up windows on desktop computers.


The dedicated hardware key or on-screen key to initiate a call, which also carry out other related functions. This is no longer likely to be labeled "Talk" on any particular handset, instead having an icon, but this is the standard term.


The dedicated hardware keu or on-screen key to end a call. As a hardware key, usually carries out other cancelling or exiting functions. This is no longer likely to be labeled "End" on any particular handset, instead having an icon, but this is the standard term.


The dedicated hardware key on Sprint handsets that causes character or word backspace/delete, steps back a screen, or performs other related functions. (Touch screen devices may not have a hardware key for this function).


Other dedicated hardware keys, including numbers and letters on the keypad, will be labeled in ALL CAPS and surrounded by square brackets. E.g. a dedicated Picture key will be discussed as [PICTURE] within this document.

5-Way Pad

Refers to the directional control on scroll-and-select (vs. touch-screen) devices. Directional input by the user will always be referred to as independent key actions: [UP], [DOWN], [LEFT] and [RIGHT]. Pressing the center button is always referred to as [OK] regardless of the key label.


Most interactions, at the level discussed here, do not care if the screen is capacitive or resistive, touch or pen. So unless something specific is being discussed (such as finger sizes) they will be used as a single though.


The dedicated volume rocker or key pair. When specific actions must be referred to the labels [UP] and [DOWN] will be appended (e.g. [Side Volume Control]-[UP]).

Left-Softkey or Right-Softkey

In text, softkey locations will always be referred to by their full names. Some tables or notes may used the abbreviations LSK and RSK.

Slider, Clamshell, Candybar

These are the terms used for these common handset form factors. No others will be used in this document. For example "Flip" will not be used in place of "Clamshell."


These "brackets," the less-than and greater-than symbol, will surround variables within other phrases, especially items will be displayed on screen.

"Display Content"

Quotes will be used around content to be displayed or read to the user, such as button labels and in-screen content.

Where Are All the Screenshots?

We have made a deliberate choice to not include a lot of screenshots. In fact, hardly any. This was not arrived at lightly, and the first couple of patterns have them gathered. A little of it was simple practicality. It's very hard to find enough adequate examples, and very often the best one is on a difficult or impossible to capture device. Some of the best examples are on featurephones, or old PDAs, or GPS devices.

Which leads to the key problem we encountered with screenshots: clarity. Patterns are the pure essence of an implementation. And almost every implementation layers it's own style on top. Or buries a pattern alongside others. Screenshots required explanation, and very often caveats about what not to do.

That said, there are a few screenshots, when making an illustration of sufficiently high fidelity to demonstrate a particular aspect would have been pointless.

Reading the Illustrations

To solve the problems with screenshots, illustrations are used almost exclusively throughout the book. These are all of the same basic style, but vary widely in the detail level used, sometimes in adjacent drawings in the same pattern.

In each case, only the required amount of detail is used. Sometimes, that is just boxes and lines, and the words and images are implied. Sometimes, words and so on have to be in there to communicate the point. Sometimes, actual raster icons or websites, drop shadows and other effects are used.

As a general rule, large blank areas on a page do not mean there's nothing there. It just means we're not discussing that component, so removed placeholder information for clarity. The Annunciator Row is almost always assumed, so space is provided, but is not displayed. Again, for clarity and to reduce clutter.

Color, especially when clearly not naturalistic, generally has a meaning:

This is not always adhered to, especially in the higher fidelity drawings, but is a good guideline.

Definitions & Styles of the Patterns (last edited 2011-05-01 22:04:19 by shoobe01)