Mandatory main menu?
I'm preparing a J2ME application to be published in Nokia Store, and plan to use the store's signing service.
The application main functionality consists simply of onscreen images changing when user presses (or swipes) up/down/left/right and playing of a sound corresponding to the image when user presses select or taps the screen. I was planning to have two onscreen buttons available, one for exiting the application and one to get the user to another view, which would have the info for about, short usage instructions and a way to turn sound on and off.
Reading the unified testing criteria, there are a lot of mentions of main menu, for example in AL2:
"4. The application should have displayed a main menu or interactive menu such as language selection screen where the use of the application can be started"
and there's also a whole test case for it (FN8):
"The main functionalities of Exit, Help and About are easily available through the main menu"
So I have a couple of questions:
1) Is a separate main menu (before actual application functionality) really required?
2) Would options menu (appearing over the main screen by softkey/button press) count as the main menu?
3) Can I combine the about+help+settings to a same screen as i described, and in this case, would the original plan be ok (no menu, only the about button)?
Re: Mandatory main menu?
I would assume that the main point would be that there are easy-to-find-and-use options offered which user can use to
- Exit the application at any time (of course it would not necessarily mean having the exit one press away, anyway, it should always be available)
- View the 'About' details of the application
- View the 'Help' for the application
1) I would assume that it does not need to be shown before application functionality is started, if the functionality starts immediately, and there is a way to use the required things from the started view
2) as far as I know the answer is Yes, as long as it is either the normal behavioral of the platform, or it has clear indications to user that the button does this
- basically, meaning that it needs to be completely obvious to the tester & user how to get the menu shown, and not just select some random button to start the menu viewing.
3) Not certain what this means, anyway, the rules state that you need to have Help and About easily available, so you would need to see that you satisfy the rule.
Re: Mandatory main menu?
Well, some of this depends on the interpretation of the particular tester who tests your application, and whether they follow the LETTER of the rules, or the spirit. In my opinion:
[QUOTE=TongMuan;914255]1) Is a separate main menu (before actual application functionality) really required?
2) Would options menu (appearing over the main screen by softkey/button press) count as the main menu?[/QUOTE]
A "main menu" IS required, and MUST have options "About", "Help" and "Exit". There are rules about what must appear in the "About" screen.
Whether or not it must be a separate screen that is the first screen you see is a matter of opinion. I would say that, in the spirit of the UTC, it does not. I believe it is quite legitimate to launch directly into the application itself and access the "main menu" from an "options" button. It is still the "main" menu, because you don't have any other menu that is more prominent. Nothing says that the main menu must be the first screen you see.
The one criteria they might fail you on would be AL2, which describes starting the app, and within 25 seconds:
[quote]The application should have displayed a main menu or interactive menu such as language selection screen where the use of the application can be started[/quote]
Strictly, it says "menu". However, I would argue that your application reaches an "interactive [I]screen[/I]" from which the main menu can be accessed. Confusingly, AL2 for retests is phrased slightly differently:
[quote]The application should now display a main menu or similar status where the use of the application can be started[/quote]
"Similar status" is much more vague. In my opinion (and experience) you should not fail this test, but you might just get tested by someone new and enthusiastic who is keen to fail apps, in which case you might have to go back and argue your case. I think you'll succeed.
[QUOTE=TongMuan;914255]3) Can I combine the about+help+settings to a same screen as i described, and in this case, would the original plan be ok (no menu, only the about button)?[/QUOTE]
Hmmm... possibly... you'd have a confusing label on the option, because you have to meet UI2:
[quote]The menu items open the functionality or option which is specified in the menu (for example selecting settings will open settings and not help)[/quote]
Somehow, you'd have to label the option "About, Help and Settings", which in my opinion would be a little bit hideous (my opinion, I'm not saying it would violate UTC). I'd recommend an "options"/"main menu" button (like the Asha UI's options-menu button) that contains something that resembles the UTC's definition of a "main menu".
Re: Mandatory main menu?
Thanks for the replies!
I'll clarify the original UI idea a bit.
The main screen would have had just two buttons: info (probably with an icon i, in the left softkey position) and exit (probably and icon with x or back arrow, right softkey position). Pressing i would take you to the info screen, which would be about, help, and settings (the sound setting) combined.
In this case, about or help wouldn't be separately selectable, but all the info would be combined in the screen where you get by pressing the i button. This doesn't literally follow the rules, but all the required info would still be available, and the UI would be simpler, with fewer distractions and required clicks.
For Symbian apps this kind of thing would be perfectly ok, but for J2ME I guess I'll have to go with options menu button then (and help/about/settings in the menu). Wondering why things have to be more difficult with J2ME, couldn't Nokia use their own certificate for signing, with a bit looser criteria for the applications, instead of going with Java Verified?
Re: Mandatory main menu?
Incidentally, you don't need to have "about" on the main menu... it can be under "help", although the requirements imply that you'd have a "help menu" accessed from the main menu, on which one of the options might be "about". You should pass with help text that has the requisite "about" details at the start.
You [I]might[/I] get away with settings in the help... but I wouldn't pass it.
[QUOTE=TongMuan;914270]Wondering why things have to be more difficult with J2ME, couldn't Nokia use their own certificate for signing, with a bit looser criteria for the applications, instead of going with Java Verified?[/QUOTE]
Things were once MUCH more difficult, if you wanted to distribute to more than one app store. Before JV, every store had its own set of requirements, and making sure you met ALL of them was a nightmare. JV did actually simplify things.
There's a massive advantage to Nokia using the JV certificate, since you can download your own app from the store, and it should install as a trusted app on non-Nokia devices too, without the cost of getting it certified by an approved testing house.
There are also advantages to having to proper testing criteria, as they probably help keep at least some of the crappier apps off the store, increasing the chances of your app getting seen.