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7 Behaviors to Inform Design for Mobile

Jackie Micucci
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

When it comes to mobile, designing with both the user and device in mind is critical to constructing an ideal experience. Many times you have only one shot at maintaining engagement with your customers, so design should be top of mind in the planning stages of a 2D implementation. Below we offer some tips for an optimum mobile design.


mobile experience image

  1. Create a mobile website. A mobile site needs to be a mobile site. Users should not just be taken to the same site they would see if they were on their PC or laptop. They are looking at the page on a device with a much smaller screen, so make sure what they see complements what they are viewing the site on. 

  2. Limit the amount of information. The information on the site needs to be slimmed down. You cannot provide the same amount of info that goes onto your PC site because users will have to do much more scrolling, which can lead to frustration. Think about how much information you need to provide to optimize the experience with a small screen top of mind. A good example of making something simple that could have been nightmarishly complicated is the Mobile Hoopla app. Using Tag technology, Nellymoser created a mobile experience where users could build their NCAA basketball brackets into their smartphone by scanning Tags that appeared in USA Today.

  3. mobile hoopla image

  4. Have touch points. Remember that instead of a mouse, people are scrolling and clicking with their fingers… and fingers come in all shapes and sizes. One of the biggest issues for users is touching the wrong link because it is too small. Use big touch points and not tiny text links. The Tag app was designed with touch points in mind as you can see by the home screen below.

  5. Tag app home page image

  6. Don’t ask users to do something complicated. Users tend to hate typing on a phone, so if they need to fill out a form make it as simple as possible. Try to make the task easier by including drop down menu items to minimize typing. If you need to ask users to do a more complicated task, give them the opportunity to save their information and come back to their PC later to complete the form. To learn more about streamlining mobile forms, check out this advice from mobile designer LukeW.

  7. Figure out what you want the user to do. Some designers tend to throw everything into the mix. You can do that on a website for a PC or a tablet, but when it comes to smartphone users, you want them to be able to do the desired task quickly and easily. Make the experience about something specific.

  8. Create multiple experiences. People use their PC, smartphone and tablet in tandem; this is the direction technology is heading. You can’t create one experience for all three devices. Plus, make sure the design and experience all complement one another.

  9. Don’t be afraid to design something badass. Many times you see a website design and it’s awesome on the PC—there are great graphics and you can tell a lot of time and money went into the development and design. Then you look at the mobile site and it’s just plain ugly.  Don’t be afraid of being graphic heavy. Smartphone connection rates are much better now and are not as much of a worry as people think. But stay away from Flash; iPhone users can’t view it and while Android can render Flash on some devices, it tends to be buggy. For a little inspiration, check out design firm Sevnthsin’s mobile page on your smartphone to see how an innovative drag and drop can work. So bust out those awesome graphics and build a user mobile experience that is just as good, if not better, than your Internet website.  

  10. seventh sin home page image

What other design tips would you offer to help create an awesome experience for mobile users? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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