Thoughts on designing for mobile devices
Mobile devices are largely regarded as being a lean-back medium. One in which you can’t expect users to perform difficult actions or expect they will engage in a high level of interactivity while using a mobile device, particularly if that device is a phone.
When designing for mobile functionality of your application needs to be simple and accessible. Providing interactivity in a simple way you will generate far more user engagement and create a more usable and viable product.
Every step of the journey is important and needs to be thoughtfully considered. Poorly thought UX and user journey creates a design which raises more questions than it solves.
- Start with a business challenge
- Highlight the problems and the approach to solving them
- You are not your user
- Know people context and activities
- Disregard your user base pre-conceptions
- Be receptive to user feedback
- Success is defined by your user base, let their data drive it
- Research and feedback are key investigation methods – if conducted thoroughly it will save time
- Nothing in the design is arbitrary
- Ask the 5 why’s
- Iterate: learn, build, measure
- Low fidelity is easier to problem solve and brainstorm
- Prototype before code
- Discover, define, develop, deliver – The double diamond methodology
- Less but better
- High fidelity takes time
- Keep interactions simple – limited and fun gestures
- Add more detail to less screens
- Testing is really useful
- Minimising effort is they key to a better user experience on mobile devices
- Engagement should be simplistic and rewarding for the user
- Make browsing through content easy and quick
- Keep It Simple! If it isn’t needed for the task at hand, drop it from the design!
- Solve business challenges
The 5 why’s
The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)
The key is to encourage the trouble-shooter to avoid assumptions and logic traps and instead trace the chain of causality in direct increments from the effect through any layers of abstraction to a root cause that still has some connection to the original problem. Note that, in this example, the fifth why suggests a broken process or an alterable behaviour, which is indicative of reaching the root-cause level.
Double Diamond Model
Design Council’s Double Diamond model, to help clarify the process.