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Developing Finger-Touch Enabled Mobile Application

, 27 Feb 2009
Advanced features of contemporary mobile devices provide vast opportunities for their utilization in various situations. These opportunities can cause serious snags that programme developers have not met in desktop environment before. Mobile environment is specific, yet very challenging and prospect

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Introduction

Advanced features of contemporary mobile devices provide vast opportunities for their utilization in various situations. These opportunities can cause serious snags that programme developers have not met in desktop environment before. Mobile environment is specific, yet very challenging and prospective.

One of the biggest obstacles mobile developers have to overcome is designing a high quality UI and the ease of control. The most of the current applications are controlled by both hands. One hand holds the device itself; the latter operates the application with stylus.

The most significant change of mobile device control was the one from Apple’s iPhone. iPhone initiated a new phenomenon — Touch handling that enables application control just by a single thumb. This way, the second hand can perform different actions. This concept is especially favorable in business applications such as SFA, FSA and CRM.

We will design a fully finger-touch controlled CRM app with use of MobileForms Toolkit 2009. It will consist of 2 forms: Customers List and Customer Card. Both of them deal with customers and the latter consists of several tabs.

Following animation presents the application functionality and the ease of app use by a single hand.

Touch Control

Customer List Form

Customer List Form is a list of customers with implemented filtering feature. It is fully developed by Resco AdvancedList control. Basic customer information is assorted in organized rows. A single click on a row expands actual row to selected row. Selected row displays detailed information about particular customer. Moreover, it contains action buttons that enable better interaction with selected customer. After a click to button “More”, the screen is switched to Customer Card Form. The whole form fully supports finger-touch control. Thus makes the app control very simple and improves user's control comfort.

Customer Card Form

Customer Card Form

Customer Card Form displays detail information about customer, orders, communication history. Basis of this form is Resco TabControl that displays common information in multiple tabs. Scrolling and switching between tabs can be done easily by a finger because of native finger-touch control. Let's present four most important tabs of this form: Customer Contact Info, Contact Persons, Orders, and Activity History.

Customer Contact Info Tab

The Customer Contact Info Tab is developed by Resco AdvancedList control. It contains general information about the customer such as address, phone, e-mail, and web address. Optimal details composition offers a very quick action (making a call, sending e-mail, etc.). Actually, the whole screen is designed to be fully finger-touch controlled just by one hand without the need of stylus. The screen is proportionally balanced, there through increasing screen’s visual transparency. The finger-touch control and optimal visual screen transparency are basic elements of optimal and native UI.

Customer tab

Contact Persons Tab

The Contact Persons Tab contains information about customer's contacts. After switching to “selected row”, the action buttons appear. Thus making a call, sending an e-mail, or call to a mobile phone is just a question of couple of clicks. Finger-touch control and by action buttons enhanced functionality form the basis of intuitive and comfortable app control.

Contact Info tab

Orders Tab

The Orders Tab displays current and past orders of particular customer in a transparent list. Action buttons in selected row enable making change in orders: you can edit entire order, header, or details. Resco AdvancedList technology allows displaying more info in a single row that simplifies overall control.

Orders tab

Activity History Tab

The Activity History Tab displays all past communication with particular customer. All customer visits are shown in date descending order. Full Touch Scroll functionality and optimal information composition contribute to the overall ease of use and navigation.

Activity History tab

You can download this demo application with source code here.

Conclusion

Finger-touch control is becoming primary means of mobile device control. Its pros are clear: unlike stylus control, only one hand is occupied; device control is more comfortable and intuitive, and the general ease of use is improved.

This article presents how easy it is to develop graphically attractive and fully functional app for CRM solutions. The key element of the app development was utilizing Resco MobileForms Toolkit 2009 that enables easy work in designer. Application development that usually needs couple of months of hard work can be now done in only few days with Resco MobileForms Toolkit 2009.

Resco MobileForms Toolkit is one of the richest and most comprehensive sets of Microsoft Visual Studio controls and libraries designed for developers of software solutions for mobile devices. In its portfolio there are controls and libraries that tackle most problems developers encounter in the mobile environment. Flexible keyboard, professional list control, powerful grid control, charting control, and scheduling control — to mention only the most frequently used ones.

For more information about Resco MobileForms Toolkit, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/mobileformstoolkit/default.aspx.

About Resco

Resco is a developer of wide range of mobile software products for Windows Mobile. Besides the best selling end-user mobile applications, Resco offers also powerful developer controls and tools as well as mobile business solutions.
For more information, visit http://www.resco.net/developer/default.aspx.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Resco Developer Tools
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