The Mobile User Experience

Nick Martin
Monday, Sep 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM

One of the biggest challenges that many 2D barcode implementations run into is that the user experience isn’t designed in a manner that maintains engagement with the audience. For that reason, we thought the best way to help improve the less-than optimal experiences we occasionally see in the wild is to offer some guidance on the topic. So as you’ve probably guessed by now, this week we will be diving into the topic of mobile user experience.

To give you an idea of just how critical it is to get it right when it comes to mobile optimization consider this:

That means that your hopes for repeat engagement are cut by more than half if you leave a bad taste in the mouth of your mobile audience.

To create a great mobile user experience it’s important to consider two key differences between the mobile web and the Internet we browse on a PC:

  • We use our mobile device in a fundamentally different way than we use our PC
  • We have a small screen and limited text input to work with

The goal of today’s post is to introduce you to what exactly these two differences are and how it informs mobile web design. Throughout the rest of the week we will build on this idea by offering best practices, examples and actionable tips that can ultimately be applied to a compelling 2D barcode implementation.

Mobile User Behavior

In a recent conversation with David Luttenberger of Iconoculture we touched on this very topic. David made a statement that does a good job of capturing the difference between the mobile and PC web. His insight went something like this:

“When we are on the PC we may lean forward, but when we use our mobile we are hunters.”

In general, mobile users are increasingly looking to their smartphone to surface information about the world around them. In fact, 9 out of 10 smartphone searches result in an action that can include a purchase or visiting a business. This trend doesn’t stop at search. In fact, when it comes to commerce the trend becomes even more evident. Here are a few scenarios that illustrate our “hunter-like” behavior when it comes to using our mobile device:

mobile commerce graph

As you can see in the scenarios above, smartphone owners are looking to their mobile device to get contextually relevant information immediately.  That means offering contextually relevant options that the person would expect given where a search or scan takes place. If users have to search for too long to get the information they need, or if the search takes too long to load, it’s likely they will be moving on to another mobile search to get the info they are looking for instead. Remember, half of your audience won’t come back to the page if you disappointed them first time around. Imagine what happens if that continues!   

Optimizing A Limited Screen

mobile optimization image 

Roger Matus did a good job of highlighting some design points in his post from last week. I would encourage you to revisit it if you’re interested in this topic.

The most prominent limitations of a smartphone are the ease in which data is input into the device and the size of the screen. This makes it important to have the right elements incorporated  in the user experience and present them in a way that is easy to interact with. Here are a few tips that lower barriers for input of data and optimize a mobile web experience:

  • Limit the number of options available to a user and prioritize based on their context (e.g. are they in-store or somewhere else? Did they arrive through search or a scan, etc.)
  • Provide a touch-friendly interface
  • Utilize functionality that informs context including (location, if they visited the site before)
  • Consider different methods of data input beyond touch-typing (2D barcodes, NFC, Voice)

Hopefully this post sets the stage for some much more rich and informed posts to come later this week. If you have any questions or input please let us know in our LinkedIn group or on Facebook. If you want an immediate response you can always catch me on Twitter.

Recent Comments
  • Armen Sujuk Djrgystanian

    05/15/2012 , 8:37 PM
    This is pretty cool.


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