If you work in digital I think it’s a safe bet that you will attend a meeting or have a conversation about ‘Mobilegeddon’ in the next couple of weeks. So while everyone is enthusiastically arguing their point of view, we thought we’d give you some UX insights to help you direct the conversation towards a more user-centred focus.
Like a lot of companies right now we’re guilty of having a website that might fall foul of Google’s new algorithm. The irony isn’t wasted on us as UX experts that our mobile experience isn’t great. Whilst we’re busy working on a new, mobile-friendly site we have been doing a lot of reading into the options for how to deliver a better mobile experience.
Are you so focused on technology that you’re forgetting users?
One thing that struck me was how almost all of the articles were focused on the technical aspects of native app versus a web app (a reading list is provided below). We see this a lot with anything new in digital. The debate seems dominated by technology and users are often an afterthought. We often refer to a simple diagram when talking with our clients to help them ensure they approach any new project with a balanced view.
Before charging ahead with a new mobile site or app, make sure you don’t forget users as part of your process. We’ve put together 4 questions for you to answer before making a final call on which approach to take:
1. What is the current mobile experience like?
Have you evaluated your current mobile experience with users? Do you know where the pain points are? Ideally, you should not be making assumptions here, you need to see first hand, with real users. As with any solution, you must fully understand what the problem is.
2. What is the mobile experience like with your competitors?
Before you can address the issue, it’s critical to establish the context. Knowing how good or bad your competitor’s user experience is will help put your problem in context. Seeing users interacting with your competitors will also give you invaluable insight into what to include or avoid in your new mobile experience.
3. What context are users in when they turn to mobile?
From our UX research, we find that most users turn to their mobiles for short bursts, typically in situations where they are multi-tasking or likely to be interrupted. Interactions take place in a queue, waiting for a friend to turn up, on the train, in an advert break. Anything difficult or complex is saved for another time. Understanding the situations users are in when they need help from your digital service is critical to ensure you design for the right tasks.
4. What goals do users have when they use your site on a mobile?
The mobile experience is very different to the desktop experience. In our UX research, we find that users often turn to mobiles to complete simple, specific goals. Understanding what tasks your users turn to mobile for should be a priority for your mobile project. Once discovered, the user journey for each task should be planned out carefully to allow each touch, swipe, or button click to move them closer to their goal.
The best method is a user requirements capture
The best method for answering these tasks is to perform a user requirements capture. This is a combination of depth interview and usability test. Typically you would recruit 10 members of your target audience and use an hour-long session to investigate the answers to these four questions. Then you can turn your notes into a list of prioritised user requirements with examples from competitors. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you generate a list of user requirements for your mobile user experience, please get in touch.
Here’s a list of reading material which will bring you up to speed with which mobile strategy to adopt:
- UX Mag: Let Users Drive Cross-Platform Design
- Aptimize: 6 UX Mistakes to avoid when designing a native mobile app
- UX Mag: Native or web-based selecting the right approach for your mobile app
- GDS: Mobile User Experience Guidelines and recommendations
- Smashing Magazine: Mobile Considerations in User Experience
- Design Modo: Responsive Design vs Mobile Website vs App
- Koozai: Mobile Retail Applications – Native vs web apps
- NNG: Mobile Native Apps