April 20, 2015

Designing For Mobile

Mobile apps and sites need to be professionally evaluated by user experience professionals to make them stand out from the rest. Over the last five years, as mobile devices got cheaper and more mobile networks were established, more and more people went from desktop users to mobile users. At this time to access information on a mobile device, a customer either launches a mobile app or visits a mobile website. Designing a worthwhile user experience on mobile will not only improve the bottom line for your company but it will give visitors a positive impression of your business. If you understand that usability testing on mobile is crucial for your business to survive, you will be head and shoulders above the rest.

Responsive design is the buzz word right now because it adjusts your website based on the device type and screen resolution. Many sites are programmed this way so as a customer you don't have to trying zooming your mobile browser to see content. Instead your browser adjusts to your screen size so you can read the information and you don't have to zoom. Mobile web traffic has been laughed at by many traditional Marketers over the years, but as of April 21st, a responsive website will be a ranking criteria on Google. This means if a website site is not mobile ready, it will appear significantly lower in Google search results. Since Google organic search represents a significant percentage of new sales leads for a majority of businesses - this announcement is extremely important. Thus, if your site is not responsive you need to make sure it is mobile ready. If your site is already responsive, you need to evaluate if visitors can get to the information they need and does it follow best practices for mobile. Are you just showing all your content from your desktop site or are you narrowing down what you show?

On the other hand, as mobile apps begin to proliferate the market, how will you make yours stand out from the rest? How will you know that your app meets the needs and desires of your audience? As a business owner, you want a return on invest (ROI) for your app and usability testing will not only confirm it's working but improve it. Following best practices in regards to mobile design combined with usability testing insures users understand how to navigate to your content and illicit the action you desire. For example is your app's navigation targets easy to press or are they fat fingering them? Do your apps icons stand out or are they lost within the interface? Are your apps gestures, the response to the physical movement of your finger, easily understood or are customers unsure of how navigate through your app? You need to design for people and avoid strange movements by sticking to common conventions. As Jakob Nielsen said, "99% of your users spend time on other sites/apps". Do users love your app? If you want to increase positive app reviews, ensure they are finding what they need and give them the experience they expect - usability test it!

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Marc A. Majers

User experience leader, author, and DJ that is collaborative in each moment to inspire continual learning and positive feelings
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