As you probably know, mobile is a big deal. Here at Maestro, we love it. After all, making fantastic mobile apps is one of our passions. But we’re not alone. The world has become mobile dependent, with some studies reporting that people spend an average of 3.3 hours on mobile devices each day (and other studies showing up to five hours a day). Mobile is the new platform for entertainment and learning, with accessible and affordable access to gaming, movies, television, podcasts, ebooks, social media, and so much more.
With such prevalent (and growing) usage, expectations for mobile are extremely high. As a business, you’re not only expected to have a mobile presence, you’re also expected to deliver a top-notch experience. That’s a tall order, and it can be pretty intimidating. Here are four important tips to keep in mind when designing a user-friendly mobile experience.
1. Mobile UX/UI focuses on content essentials
There are a number of constraints to keep in mind when developing a mobile solution. Some are obvious, such as screen size and different input mechanisms. Some are less obvious, like data transfer fees 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 by cutting away features. They still expect access to all the same content. In many cases, it's about prioritization, not elimination.
2. Mobile UX brings opportunities to grow
Mobile is not all about constraints, however. Mobile devices have the potential to offer personal and unique user experiences not available in desktop and standard web apps. Features like the camera, GPS, and device integration 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.
3. Context is vital for mobile UX
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Content is king.” Well, if content is king, then context is the usurper lingering in the shadows. 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. Mobile use is prevalent and growing both in-home and on the go. In fact, people swipe, tap, and touch their phone over 2,600 times a day. Often, they’ll check their phones during conversation, listen to podcasts while driving, or pull out their tablet during a commercial break on their favorite show.
You've probably done it yourself. Sitting on the couch or a comfy chair watching TV, you whip out your mobile device to quickly see what your friends are doing on Facebook or to catch up on the latest Instagram stories.
Try not to assume you know 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.
4. Mobile is everywhere
You can't escape it. 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 for a delightful, engaging experience. It takes a little more effort on your part, but the ROI is worth it.
Does your mobile app need to be a little more mobile-friendly?
Check out the mobile app we made for Lenovo.See Now!