2012 has truly embraced the age of mobile. Any company wishing to compete in the mobile market place faces certain challenges ahead. With the dramatic growth in smartphones placing the www at everyone’s fingertips, companies must understand this dynamic new market place and provide for it in their endeavours to succeed.
In this new era, user experience design must be at the forefront of any mobile strategy to ensure we reach and engage these audiences. To do this we are driven to re-evaluate our understanding of technical considerations and usability constraints when designing for mobile platforms and their audiences.
Mobile = Portable
The mobile market place is a truly portable environment with a steadily growing market of ‘on the move’ devices and platforms enabling communication and connectivity on the go, anywhere, anytime.
With such a substantial rate of growth, these devices evolve quickly, and so do technical and user requirements – both of which affect the mobile user’s experience. Gerard Brady points out some of the technical constraints facing the development of mobile sites in his blog post The year for Mobile Marketing where he leads by highlighting the requirement for an optimised user experience.
Why you should adapt your website to mobile
We all know that the screen size of a smartphone, tablet or notebook is considerably different from that of a desktop screen or laptop. Therefore the users experience on each device will be substantially different. Catering for this ‘experience’ is vital to a websites’ success.
There is a clear opportunity here to differentiate your brand by offering exceptional design, user experience and service to mobile users. Exceeding user expectations can be a challenge with certain manufacturers and designers setting the bar high.
Users have developed
Usability studies (Jacob Neilson) show that users have been quick to develop their behaviours as swiftly as new sites pop up. For example, users have become more aware of horizontal swiping and expect horizontal scrolling – both of which desktop websites avoid.
Last year it may have been acceptable to merely have a mobile site, now users expect it to be good, and designed for multiple devices. It’s time to not only keep up with your competition but overtake it.
Designing mobile environments
Designing a great user experience in the mobile market place requires:
- Knowledge of your mobile audience: who they are and why they use mobile devices
- Understanding of key constraints: screen sizes, input methods, low battery life and costly data transfer plans
- Access to design guidelines for multiple devices
- A targeted online digital strategy that considers everything from raising initial brand awareness via multiple devices to growing a loyal user base of advocates for your brand through increased connectivity.
The need for testing
Building a great mobile ready site is not the end of the process. With an increase in momentum behind device diversification it is important to continually test your site design and optimise for the best possible user experience that you can provide.
It’s obvious that the mobile market is a competitive arena with continually changing technological advances, subsequently, creating a better user experience should be at the forefront of any mobile strategy. At the end of the day, it’s only by giving your users what they want when they want it, that you can hope to improve the user’s experience and optimise your online campaign.