Whilst on the train I observed a number of people with mobile devices but what was quite obvious is that no two person held their devices in the same way. On first thought it seemed rather surprising, but in actual fact there seems to be so many different factors that affect how our hands interact with the mobile interface. My feeling is that with a 'standard' pattern of design for the mobile device interface it forces the user to adapt to the way they place their hands around the device, when in fact it should be the other way around.

Are there any good development frameworks or design patterns that take into consideration the type of application it is, and how the users will place their hands around the device when using it?


1 Answer 1


Interesting question. I make the same observations on the bus & train too, so I would like to add some observations:

  • People change how they hold the device even when in the same app, this is based on a few things like
    • do they have both hands available (holding on to a rail / startbucks coffe / bag)
    • the amount of people around them (some block the views of other people with one hand)
    • if they sit or stand
  • phone / tablet cases can reduce the owners ability to interact with his device. think of hello kitty phone cases (I added a picture below), flip cases or any other "not so small" case (some people remove the case when not in public)
  • same goes for headphones, big to small, light to heavy

  • size of their hand

  • left or right hand

This said, I think that even if there is such a framework (in which I would be very interested too), there are still alot of things we can not really take into account while designing. From what I observed, I came to the following conclusion: The guidelines for each plattform are probably the best frameworks for a universal working application.

just my 5 cents

Hello Kitty Phone Case

  • I haven't actually seen much in the way of these types of information in the guidelines for different platforms, have I missed something? I have seen something similar in the Windows UX guidelines, but I am pretty sure it is vague enough to pose more questions than answers when it comes to implementation :p I certainly haven't seen anything in front-end development frameworks like Bootstrap or Materialize.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 6:12

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