Guidelines are recommended as a tool for informing user interface design. Despite a proliferation of guidelines in the research literature, there is little evidence of their use in industry, nor their influence in academic literature. In this paper, we explore the research literature related to mobile phone design guidelines to find out why this should be so. We commenced by carrying out a scoping literature review of the mobile phone design guideline literature to gain insight into the maturity of the field. The question we wanted to explore was: “Are researchers building on each others’ guidelines, or is the research field still in the foundational stage?” We discovered a poorly structured field, with many researchers proposing new guidelines, but little incremental refinement of extant guidelines. It also became clear that the current reporting of guidelines did not explicitly communicate their multi-dimensionality or deployment context. This leaves designers without a clear way of discriminating between guidelines, and could contribute to the lack of deployment we observed. We conducted a thematic analysis of papers identified by means of a systematic literature review to identify a set of dimensions of mobile phone interface design guidelines. The final dimensions provide a mechanism for differentiating guidelines and expediting choice.