Design for Mobile: Symbian^3 User Experience

by September 24, 2010

In his Symbian^3 UI & UX Story presentation at Design for Mobile in Chicago IL Scott Weiss provided an overview of the Symbian^3 smartphone operating system and its theming capabilities. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • Nokia’s N8 is the first of the Symbian^3 phones hitting the market.
  • Today 360 million Symbian phones have shipped. This is more than iPhone & Android together projected in the next few years
  • 2/3 of these phones shipped with Symbian UI. The other 1/3 shipped with DoCoMo’s custom UI –button based and popular in Japan
  • There are 260,000 smartphones sold per day that run Symbian.
  • Symbian^3 has gesture support throughout. Including multi-touch, capacitive display support, homescreen enhancements, and enhanced widget selection.
  • Symbian is a mid-range smartphone system not a high end one. Some devices are below $100 retail.
  • Symbian has ability to be themed. What can be themed: color groups (buttons, etc.), assets (icons, wallpapers), chrome (softkeys, panels, progress indicator) There are 3 thousand icons in the Symbian OS. Fonts are not part of a theme. They are specific to a device.
  • In the redesign of Symbian, the team followed a user experience design process –and had three personas they worked from. One was a designer that needed to theme Symbian as part of their job.
  • The Symbian strategy is to have device manufacturers tune the UI to be their own. They want uniqueness for each phone created.
  • The Symbian UI is competent not cutting edge. That’s the intent.
  • You can access Scott's slides here.