Device Usability

Usability and User Experience for devices is not the same as your website. Some companies think they can do usability testing on their site, and as long as it shows up on mobile devices it will be fine. WRONG! There are many problems devices present, such as:

  • Too much content
    Users scan for information, and numerous studies have shown about 10%-15% is actually read. Optimizing your content for mobile devices means getting rid of that 'feel good, baffling buzzword B-S'. The user could be viewing your site on something relatively large-like a tablet-or relatively small-like a smartphone. Don't make them scroll forever through paragraph upon paragraph of stuff your marketing department thought might 'sound good'.
  • Many columns don't work on devices
    Imagine a printed newspaper ported directly to your wireless device. Can you imagine trying to look at the Washington Post-8 columns across-on your iPhone? To keep your users from going insane, keep your mobile content to a single column. Developing multiple columns for larger devices is fine, as long as there's a single column interface for the smaller devices. Lazy developers will just convince your business managers to 'zoom' on the content. You may need multiple mobile sites (see below). Do you want to add steps on your website to get from point A to point B? No! So why make your mobile users have extra steps? Remember, you're trying to improve the user experience, not just 'speed the crap to market'.
  • Navigation simplicity
    Mobile navigation needs to be presented differently. Users have smaller screens and too much overhead content (logo, company name, navigation, contact info, etc) at the top pushes the valuable content off the screen. Site maps as navigation are very handy for navigating since all options are listed there. There shouldn't be multiple gestures (taps) to get through nested navigation (like pull down and fly out menus on websites).
  • Minimize text entry
    Your user is now on a device where they are probably using buttons 1/4 the size of a dime or a touchscreen with no tactile feel. Minimize the text entry on your mobile site/application because the user will be much slower at typing, and will make more mistakes (so you could end up with incorrect data in your system).
  • Have multiple mobile sites
    Be sure to create multiple mobile sites. The majority of your users may be on touchscreen devices with high-bandwidth connections. Others may be on non-touchscreen, slow-bandwidth connections. Designing for mobile is quite similar to the old days of the internet, where your company's web designer was trying to design for the 14.4k modem and something a little more snazzy for the users with the 28.8k modem.
  • Design for touchscreen and non-touchscreen users
    When designing for mobile, go with standard sizing for clickable areas. Remember, not everyone has fingertips small enough to accurately touch the 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch digital keypad on the touchscreen. If your application requires fast entry, consider larger target areas to minimize errors and user frustration. The more important your clickable link is, the larger it should be. Less important items, such as footer links, can be appropriately smaller.
  • Don't reinvent the wheel!
    Use the device's built-in functionality! There's no need to design your own keyboard layout, just use the one that comes with the device. Make the function call to pull the widget and pass your data. How frustrating would it be for the user to download your application or use your mobile site, to find out that your company thinks the QWERTY keyboard standard should now be upside down and backwards on opposite day (the only exception is if you work for a practical joke company).

Need help with digital usability?

*= Required field.
Don't worry, we'll never give or sell your information to anyone.

Privacy Policy

How can UXade help your company?

What do you want us to fix? What are your top priorities? Let us know!