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When designing an Andriod or an iOS app, it is clear that you should follow their respective Human Interface Guidelines (HIGs). But what do you do when designing a Html5 app? What cross platform mobile HIGs are there?

What HIG (official or custom) would you recommend for cross platform html5 apps?

Edit: to clarify, I'm using the term 'html5 apps' to refer to an app that relies on html, css, and javascript.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Developing for mobile devices in HTML5 is no different than developing in HTML 4.01 or XHTML, since User Experience is platform agnostic. Buttons need to look like and act as Buttons whatever platform you're using. I know that you can do much more on HTML5, but that doesn't change the User Experience of mobile devices. You just have to implement standard UX rules on mobile web too.

Screen size differs on different devices, so use relative sizes everywhere. If one need to look at one guideline over the other, I'd prefer Android since it targets many more devices (+600 last time I checked).

More importantly on mobile, is to test your web app in "mobile" scenario since your app will be used "on the go".

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I think it being built with HTML5 is a bit of a red herring. They key is that you want to use a shared UI across platforms.

What I'd look for there is likely to borrow from any number of existing UI pattern libraries...jQuery UI, Sencha, etc. For the most part, they're simply picking and choosing what they see works and sticking to it in terms of making it consistent across the platforms.

Beyond that, it really depends on the particular type of app you're building.

Also remember that there are ways to use native elements even though you may be building with HTML5. For instance, PhoneGAP can give you access to native UI elements on either platform without having to fork your code.

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I suggest that you consider the approach outlined by Luke Wrobleski in many of his articles, for instance: Off Canvas Multi-Device Layouts. Off-canvas approach is nowadays becoming common thanks to the mobile interface of google search (and other products) as well as facebook native apps etc.

I agree that with the other answers that HTML5 should be a mean to the end of creating a consistent experience across devices, rather than your aim.

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