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Series 40 UI game design tips webinar – companion article

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This article is companion for the Series 40 UI game design tips webinars held in September 2012. It covers both sessions (13 September 2012 and 19 September 2012).

Article Metadata
Series 40
Created: Krebbix (10 Sep 2012)
Last edited: hamishwillee (14 Jan 2013)



Designing games for entry level Series 40 devices requires more care than for devices with bigger screens and greater power. The Series 40 UI game design tips webinar (and this, its companion wiki article) cover some of the main design issues and solutions you need to consider when creating Series 40 games.

It includes:

Note.pngNote: The information in the webinar/companion article is taken from real-world examples and game reviews. Many of the issues were found in multiple games.

Solutions to webinar problems

This section contains problems raised in the webinar exercises, along with recommended solutions.

Minimum size of a standard touch area and its margin

What is the minimum size of a standard touch area and its margin? (The answer should relate to size in cm and amount of pixels in Series 40 full touch devices.)


Webinar Series40 UI Design games 02.png

On Nokia touch phones we recommend:

  • 7 mm x 7 mm minimum touch area for finger.
  • 8 mm x 8 mm minimum touch area for thumb.
  • 1 mm as minimum margin.

For Asha full touch phones with a pixel size of approximately 0,163 x 0,163 mm this means:

  • 43 x 43 px minimum touch area for finger.
  • 49 x 49 px minimum touch area for thumb.
  • 6 px margin

Compensating for a touch area that is too small

How would you compensate for a touch area that is too small (for example, if the touch area is only 4 mm x 4 mm, with only 0.3 mm margin, what would you do to support people playing with your game?)


Webinar Series40 UI Design games 06.png Webinar Series40 UI Design games 04.png

You may want to use

  • offset to the touch point,
  • fish eye which shows the content from under your finger.

Hanlding the red end key

What does your application do if people press the red end key?


  • If your game level takes more that a minute or two
    • Save the current state
    • Allow the gamer to continue the game where she has left the game or close to it, e.g. at a milestone
    • You may want to add a pop-up list
      • Continue game
      • Save status and exit
      • Do not save and exit
  • If your game takes only seconds
    • Close the game immediately
    • It is unlikely that the gamer has pressed the red end key by accident, since this is still a single hardware key
    • Closing fast means also being able to change tasks fast, e.g. store the phone away and take the subway
    • Fast closing might be the reason why people prefer to play your game over a similar game in this situation

Playing sound after loading a game when the phone is muted

The phone is muted, but the user sets ”sound on” during the last game session. How does your game behave when it is opened?

Always choose the option which would result in the least harm - usually this means muting the sound unless it is explicitly requested.

  • If the phone is muted, mute the game sound when opening the game
  • If the last setting was "mute the game sound", always mute the game sound when opening the game

In our example, it is recommended to mute the game sound when opening the game.

How would you change this UI component?

How would you change this UI component?

Ui webinar games 01.png


Webinar Series40 UI Design games 05.png

This is an improvement because it avoids additional navigation and shows all options "up front":

  • Avoid any additional navigation where possible
  • Use a group of buttons instead
  • Use a list instead

Best place for in-app purchase access

Where would you place your in-app purchase access?


  • Start view
  • All menus
  • Game level selection
  • Views before and after the actual game view


Question: Does Remote Device Access (RDA) support multi-touch gestures for Series 40 phones?
Answer: Multi-touch gestures with Series 40 phones are expected to work in RDA beginning of week 39. Symbian phones are already supported.

Question: Is there an example application which demonstrates the use of an external controller via Bluetooth?
Answer: No, and it is not planned so far.

Question: How many frames per second (FPS) are possible with Asha (full) touch phones
Answer: (Thanks Satyam!)

Device Video Recording Frame Rate Video Playback Frame Rate
Asha 305 10 fps 10 fps
Asha 311 25 fps 30 fps
- - -

Note that all device specifications are linked from the device names in the table above.

Future webinars

The next (planned) UX related webinar is:

User-centric Design of Series 40 Apps: design aspects when porting from Android to Series 40. 
  • 04.10.2012, 18:00 Helsinki time
  • 10.10.2012, 10:00 Helsinki time
This page was last modified on 14 January 2013, at 00:35.
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