You’ve probably heard, mobile is kind of a big deal. With mobile now ubiquitous, expectations are extremely high. Not only are you expected to have a mobile presence, but the experience you deliver must be top-notch.
That’s a tall order, and it can be intimidating. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind when venturing into the mobile realm.
Consider mobile constraints
There are a number of constraints to keep in mind when developing a mobile solution. Some are obvious, such as screen size or different input mechanisms. Some are less obvious, like data transfer fees and limits and battery life. It’s incredibly important to have a firm understanding of exactly what these constraints mean and how to address them.
For example, smaller screen size doesn’t just mean making things smaller in order to fit. It means you must focus your content and features. Strip away the superfluous, focus on the essential. This is a delicate balancing act, though. You don’t want to punish your users for being mobile. They still expect access to all the same content. In many cases, it’s about prioritization, not elimination.
Make the most of mobile opportunities
Mobile is not all about constraints, however. Mobile devices can also offer some unique opportunities not available in desktop and standard web apps. Features like the camera, GPS, and accelerometer can be used to enhance your mobile solutions. Look for ways to leverage these features.
A word of caution, though. Don’t be gimmicky. A cheesy feature can cause you to lose credibility much quicker than a well-executed feature can build you up.
Context, context, context
Context is all about when and where your app will be used. This can be difficult to determine, but it is vitally important. We can’t just assume that because our users are mobile that they are in a rush and only want quick access to limited information.
On the contrary. 84% of people use their mobile devices at home. You’ve probably done it yourself. Sitting on the couch or your comfy chair watching TV, you whip out your phone or tablet to quickly see what your friends are doing on Facebook or the latest artfully filtered photos on Instagram.
But be careful not to assume where your users will be using your application. Get out of the office (or hire someone) and do some testing. If you make assumptions based on when and where you think your users are going to be using your app, you’re bound to disappoint.
Smartphones and tablets are here to stay
Mobile is everywhere. More Internet-ready mobile devices are being sold today than traditional computers. If you haven’t already, it’s well time you enter the mobile arena. But, it’s important to do so thoughtfully. Users have high expectations. It’s worth the investment to create a delightful, engaging experience. It takes a little more effort, but it’s worth it.
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