UI themes

A UI theme is a customized graphical user interface (GUI) that replaces the phone's default look, and it is used to change the appearance of the user interface for the phone's applications. A phone with the Symbian user interface may provide several UI themes of which the user can activate one theme at a time. By activating a UI theme, the visual appearance of the user interface is changed. Note that this setting only affects visual elements, e.g. functions, the interaction style or language settings are not affected.

Figure: Simplified illustration of the UI theme concept

UI themes give the UI theme designer a freedom to design a unique GUI, and by designing backgrounds and icons, the result can be very different from the default settings.

A good GUI has consistent metaphor. When designing UI themes, the UI theme designer should make sure that the user interface supports the user's aim and does not mislead the user. It is also good to remember that even though the new look and feel offered by a UI theme would be fancy and exciting, the general positive user experience will fade if the performance of the terminal suffers because of a too large UI theme package file size.

To ensure a consistent look and feel in all applications, it is recommended for the application UI designer to use the UI components that support UI themes. In case application uses UI components that the UI theme does not support, the factory default of the missing items is used.

A UI theme designer can decide which elements belong to a UI theme package. It is possible to design a UI theme that uses the default UI components of the phone together with components belonging to the UI theme.

Using UI themes in applications

The API to use for UI themes is the Skins API. For implementation information, see Using the Skins API.

The UI controls that support themes using the Skins API include: