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User Experience

Built for BlackBerry apps and games are designed to deliver the signature BlackBerry 10 experience to our customers. BlackBerry 10 provides a seamless experience that gives users full control and flexibility in every moment and with every touch. It's as natural and fluid as our actions are in the real world. The user interface keeps the momentum going, allowing users to achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Review the BlackBerry 10 UI Guidelines and Keep these principles in mind:

  • Organize information in logical and approachable ways so that users can respond quickly
  • Predict what users want to do next in that context
  • Customize menus for the app and introduce them at the right time, in the right place
  • Help people connect
  • Don't interrupt the flow between what users see and what they do next

We've now made building the signature BlackBerry 10 experience straightforward with criteria checklists for steps to create an app or game to achieve the Built for BlackBerry designation. Also, check out the criteria-specific pages for further detail.

Required for apps = Required for apps
Required for games = Required for games

  • Built for Form Factor
    Efficient Ergonomics
    • Design the experience with use in mind: one hand for multi-tasking, two hands for speedy typing, and landscape for watching movies.
    • Design so most common actions can be done with one hand. For example: accessing the application menu and action bar.
    Required for apps
    App Content Occupies Full Screen
    • App must be developed for full screen real estate:
      • 720 x 1280 pixels (all-touch inputs); (16:9 aspect ratio)
      • 768 x 1280 pixels (all-touch inputs); (15:9 aspect ratio)
      • 720 x 720 pixels (physical keyboard input): (1:1 aspect ratio)
    • No black bars appear; Letterboxing permitted to maintain design optimization for screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (16:9) on Z10 (768 x 1280 pixels; 15:9) - multimedia apps only.
    Required for apps
    Game Content Occupies Full Screen
    • Game must be developed for full screen real estate:
      • Games must support all touch input devices with a 16:9 aspect ratio on codeline and/or all physical keyboard input devices with a 1:1 aspect ratio on codeline in order to earn the designation for that respective class of device.
    • No black bars appear; Letterboxing permitted to maintain design optimization for screen resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels (16:9) on Z10 (768 x 1280 pixels; 15:9).
  • Focus on Content

    Because people care about content - pictures, messages, and updates, create an experience where content dominates. The options on the screen should stay out of the way but still give users freedom of control. This is especially important for BlackBerry smartphones with a physical keyboard because the screen is smaller than all-touch BlackBerry smartphones.

    In-app Icons
    • Style integrity: maintain BlackBerry 10 style across menus and tabs, including themes, colors, in-app sizes.
    • Design should be pictorial in nature and convey meaning through a resemblance to a physical object or function, without any explanatory text required.
    Required for apps
    No Empty States
    • In some situations, lists may not contain any initial data because no content is currently available, or the user hasn't created content yet. This state is called an empty state.
    • Instances where list view contains no data or user needs to create content, app uses empty space to promote content creation. For example, pictures app tells user they can take pictures and videos with the camera, and prompts user to launch camera.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Sheets are full-screen views you can use for sub-tasks. Sheets overlay the current context by sliding in from the right of the screen onto a full-screen view. When users complete the task, sheets slide right and disappear, and return users to their location on the screen.
    • Position: Constructive actions (right); Destructive (left).
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Dialog boxes have many different roles in BlackBerry 10. They can be employed as notifications, display progress and activity, show errors, and help with the deletion process. As useful and attention-getting as they are, you should try to avoid implementing them whenever possible. They are modal, and interrupt the user's interaction with the UI flow.
    • No intrusive dialogue: no pop-ups that unnecessarily interrupt user experience.
    • Critical content or time-sensitive information display dialogue is permitted.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Forms ask users to enter or select information. For example, when users edit a contact's details or create a meeting request, they're using a form.
    • Ensure virtual keyboard is active based on form type. For example, if a number field is active, the virtual keyboard should have the number view visible to user. The same is true for letter based forms.
    Required for apps
  • Gestures and Flow

    Instead of "poking" UI components, users interact with content on the screen using gestures. Avoid cluttering the screen with UI components and design your application to use the available gestures. For example, let users zoom into a picture with the spread gesture instead of tapping a button to incrementally zoom in.

    Gesture Support
    • Support content gestures applicable to app.
    • Zoom in/out - for images and text.
    • Infuse app or game with sweeping interactions/gestures.
    • Contextual and reversible.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Exiting Application
    • Always use swipe up gesture to exit an app; no buttons to close.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Minimization Behavior
    • It's important for users to see the state of the app or relevant content when the app is minimized. Use Active Frames or a have scaled-down version of the current app screen display as the frame.
    • Minimization screen shows relevant content.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Notifications tell users about app events, such as a new email message or a meeting reminder. You can trigger a notification when a new event or new information is available that users might care about. The more important and time-critical the notification, the more intrusive it should be.
    • If using notifications, must enable toggle for ability to turn off and on.
    • Position: in Settings menu (in Application Menu).
    Required for apps Required for games
    Highlight Behavior
    • Highlighting helps users identify the item that they're acting on. The highlight on a component behaves differently depending on the component and the context.
    • For binary interactions, highlight the component when users touch it. Remove the highlight once the user moves their finger off the control. The highlight should return when the control is touched again, unless the control scrolls with the view.
    • If users scroll through a list or view (for example, a grid view), don't highlight individual items.
    • If an item requires continuous interaction (for example, a slider), highlight the item until users release their finger. In this case, you might need to lock other items that allow scrolling, such as lists.
    • Don't let users highlight items they can't act on; disable (or dim) components or remove them from the screen.
    Required for apps
  • Application Navigation

    Choose a navigation structure based on the most important features in your app and the type of content that the application provides. Give users quick access to the most frequent tasks and don't overwhelm them with content or tasks that are less important. Determine which of the following approaches work the best for your app.

    Action Bar/Action Menu
    • An action bar is an area along the bottom of the screen that gives you a compact way to include actions and tabs that apply to the screen. The location of the action bar lets users access actions and tabs easily and effectively.
    • Position: Bottom of Screen.
    • Contents: one action other than 'back'.
    • Size: Action Bar - 81 x 81 pixels.
    • Action menus contain specific actions that are used less often than actions in the action bar and are not prominent or frequent enough to place inline on the screen.
    • Size: Action Menu - Large 81 x 81 pixels; Small 71 x 71 pixels.
    • All actions must sit in Action Bar or Action Menu.
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Application Menu
    • Application menus hold important actions that are common across the application and aren't context-specific. For example, "Settings", "Log Out", and "Help". Users open application menus by swiping down from the top of the screen. Users dismiss them by swiping up toward the top of the screen or by tapping outside the menu.
    • Position: Top of Screen; Swipe Down.
    • Contents: Settings (right), Info, Help (left).
    • Size: 81 x 81 pixels.
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Context Menus (if used)
    • Context menus give users a quick way to use the most common actions for an item. Context menus are similar to right-click context menus in desktop applications, but are designed for touch interfaces. If you use a context menu in your app, users don't have to open an item to act on it.
    • Include an unique icon and label for each item.
    • Long press always invokes a context menu.
    • Size: 81 x 81 pixels.
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Additional Menu & Button Specifications
    • Component and small buttons: Large 71 x 71 pixels; Small 61 x 61 pixels.
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Tabs allow you to structure content so that users can move easily between content of relatively equal importance.
    • Use when you have distinct sections of content of relatively equal importance. Tabs are always fixed along the bottom of the screen in an action bar.
    • Use up to 4 tabs in an Action Bar (Z10, Q10).
    • Required for games using BlackBerry 10 UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    • Users delete information daily. Before you support deleting in your app, think about the type of information users might delete and how important it is. If users delete something by mistake, they might want to retrieve it, but prompting users to confirm every deletion can slow them down.
    • If deleting within an app, must be verification toast.
    • Exempt if this is provided as an option in the Settings menu.
    • Delete should never be in the Action Bar.
    • Delete is the bottom item in the Action Menu.
    Required for apps
    Progress Feedback
    • Users should feel confident that actions that they've asked the device to perform, such as rescaling an image or opening a new screen, are progressing as expected.
    • Progress and Activity Indicators to be used if longer than 3 seconds to load.
    • Activity Indicator: used if functioning but cannot indicate a specific time frame for action.
    • Progress Indicator: used if functioning and can indicate the specific time frame for action.
    • Global Indicator: used if functioning and can continue with other actions (modal).
    Required for apps
    Integrity of View
    • When user returns to a view, show content from last filtered state. For example, when using a sports-score oriented app and user has indicated MLB as a preferred sports league, maintain the MLB view upon opening the app.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Virtual Keyboard
    • Where main task is typing, put focus on correct field for virtual keyboard and have it appear when screen opens.
    • When using static keyboard layout, ensure users can still reach important parts of UI.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Physical Keyboard
    • If using shortcut keys to promote one-handed use, include mapping of shortcut keys in Help menu.
    Required for apps Required for games
    Active Frames
    • An Active Frame (application cover) appears on the running apps panel on the home screen. Users tap a frame to re-open the app.
    • When using an active frame, follow the Header, Grid, or List view.
    Required for apps Required for games

For additional information about creating successful overall user experience, review BlackBerry UI guidelines on our developer site.