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I'm asking about when the term is used in context of software UI.

I see Wikipedia articles related to hardware when Googling the term, but not sure what people mean when they refer to it in context of software/mobile UI/web UI.

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I have not heard of form factor beyond hardware. Can you show some usage examples in software context? –  Alexey Kolchenko Jul 17 '13 at 6:42
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Using the term 'form factor' is not usual for software UI, as you ask. But why not? As for me, 'form factor' stands for 'size', 'dimension', 'footprint', etc. So if you tell me about your application form factor I think about screen resolution and screen dimensions - i.e. screen form factor. But as we can see this is again about hardware. The problem with software UI that form factor is static from its nature and software UI is flexible in general. So only some characteristics of software UI which depends on corresponding hardware characteristics may have form factor, but not software or application in common.

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I agree with the answer. The term is very relevant in software UI design, in particular for mobile devices because there are often lots of shapes and sizes. For web applications the prevalence of 'responsive' design means that people are trying to cater for more devices rather than specific dimensions (although you still need to decide on the break points). –  Michael Lai Jul 17 '13 at 23:46
    
Thanks for the answer, I think I see now - it's as you said, the form factor of the UI is derived from the hardware it's being displayed on. Much thanks! –  Rohan Jul 18 '13 at 6:48
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Its refers to the physical dimensions of the hardware in the context you have mentioned

This simple link can solve the mystery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_factor

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