Key principles

What is BlackBerry 10?

BlackBerry 10 is about communication, connected apps, and fast interactions. You don't need to spend a lot of time and effort with your app's UI. We give you the tools you need to build a great-looking UI so that you can focus on the business logic.

Explore the key principles of BlackBerry 10 and discover how you can bring them into your app.

A fluid environment

A great experience has no compromise

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 UI keeps the momentum going, allowing users to achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Keep these principles in mind:

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

Communication at its core

Connect and get things done

Device showing the BlackBerry Hub.

What it is

It's giving people everywhere the power to connect, collaborate, and do what's most important to them. Your app is a communication tool. It's all about productive action.

Why it matters

Because the essence of the BlackBerry 10 experience is communication. People are social animals and your app can give them a chance to connect with others. When you streamline the experience, your users can stay in your app and spend less time switching between apps to communicate.


Your app could integrate with BlackBerry Messenger, the phone, or text messaging.

Icons representing communication applications.

Best practice

Integrate communication in a way that makes sense for your app. Always keep user goals in mind.

Content is king

Be selective about chrome

Device showing an example of the content is king principle.

What it is

It's shining the spotlight on what people really care about. Let content be front and center, with nothing to obscure or clutter the scene. Open the shutters wide and let people enjoy the view.

Why it matters

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


In the camera, the content is front and center. The most important action is a tap away, which makes it incredibly easy for users to take photos over and over again.

Display pictures on the full screen. Let a tap on the screen display an action bar with the most common actions for the photo. The action bar disappears after a few seconds of inactivity and returns the photo to primary focus.

In the calendar, UI components such as pickers and drop-down lists expand inline. Users stay in the original app context and can control the amount of information on the screen.

Best practices

Be selective when you add UI components to your screens. Use most screens for interacting with the content in your application. If you place frequently used UI components on the screen, do so judiciously. Every time you add a UI component to the screen, you show people less of what they care about.

Use titles only when necessary. For example, in the recent call list, there's no "Today" header since the "Yesterday" header makes the "Today" section obvious.

Cinematic experience

Make your users movie stars

Device showing an example of a cinematic experience.

What it is

It's making people part of the big picture. Put the control in users' hands and keep everything at their fingertips. Infuse your application with fluid, natural gestures that make the screen feel expansive.

Why it matters

Because fluid, sweeping gestures are natural and make the screen feel larger than it is. It's much more effective and satisfying to move through a list by swiping across the screen instead of tapping a scroll bar. And it's more natural to interact with the list directly.


If someone applies a filter to a photo, the visual treatment could change as their finger slides across the screen.

Best practice

Include gestures in your app that are contextual and reversible.

Fluid workflow

Make routines sing

What it is

It's making the experience smooth and effortless from start to finish. Clear away every obstacle and make your application smarter and users' repetitive actions faster. Anticipate each move and efficiently adapt to each response.

Why it matters

Because we're all different. Some people use their BlackBerry smartphone mostly for calls, others never leave BBM, and some are all about games. No matter what people do, make your application smarter and users' repetitive actions faster by adapting to individual usage patterns.


If someone's most frequent workflow is sending photos of their kids to their mother using Facebook, find ways to help them do it faster.

Provide actions in a context menu for things that people do often.

Try a context-sensitive approach in your app. If someone send emails to Leticia and Julie together more often than individually, why not provide an option to select both of them on one tap?

Device showing an example of a fluid workflow.

Best practice

It's okay if users need to execute several steps the first time that they perform an action, but when users do the same thing a few times, their patterns become more obvious. Identify usage patterns and adapt your UI to them.

Efficient ergonomics

Consider the context

Device showing an example of efficient ergonomics.

What it is

It's designing the experience with use in mind: one hand for multi-tasking, two hands for speedy typing, and landscape for watching movies.

Why it matters

Because people usually interact with their smartphones in portrait orientation using one hand. Plus, BlackBerry smartphones with a physical keyboard only support the portrait orientation.


A list of search results grows from the bottom so that users can reach the top hit with their thumbs easily.

On BlackBerry smartphones with a physical keyboard, consider using shortcut keys to give users direct access to common actions for a specific screen. For example, let users press "T" to move to the top, "C" to compose a message, "S" to search, "I" to zoom in, and "O" to zoom out.

Common shortcut keys.

Best practices

Make sure that users can perform the most common actions in your app with one hand without changing their grip.

On all-touch smartphones, be careful with your app layout. Place the most common actions on the bottom two-thirds of the screen because a thumb travels more easily on a long screen.

Moments of charm

Surprise, delight, and show we're human

Device showing a moment of charm.

What it is

It's sprinkling moments of delight and making your app playful.

Why it matters

Because life isn't always serious. Think of ways to lighten up someone's day. By adding charm to your app, you show it was designed by and for people.


Consider the playfulness in how a photo is selected in Time Shift mode in the Camera app. These are ways to give your app personality and make it more engaging.

Best practice

Test your approach with your target users. The experience shouldn't be whimsical or cartoonish. What's charming to some might be confusing or jarring to others.

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