In The Seven Deadly Myths of Mobile, Josh Clark (@globalmoxie) debunks popular mobile misconceptions with the tenacity of a bulldog.
- Mobile designers are anthropologists. We need to learn about our users to uncover the best mobile solutions
- We tend to oversimplify mobile use cases. This results in dumbed-down, patronizing mobile apps.
Mobile Myth #1: users are on the go and rushed
- Users are rushed and on the go. You have to anticipate those use cases, but there’s a lot more to it that that.
- Knee-jerk reaction is to build a “light version”.
- Users expect to be able to do anything they can do on the desktop. Don’t arbitrarily gut content for mobile sites.
- eBay sells over 2500 cars per week via mobile apps
- 28% of mobile web users rarely or never use the desktop web. For many people, mobile IS the primary browser.
Myth #2: Mobile = Less
- Jacob Nielsen is ass backwards on mobile. He advocates for cutting content and features for mobile, and only offering
- This mentality is wrong and damaging.
- The myth that “mobile = less”mentality is wrong and damaging. Don’t confuse context with intent.
- Removing content for mobile is like removing chapters from a book simply because it’s in paperback format
- If you cut to much, the result can be a condescending user experience
Myth #3: Complexity is a dirty word
- People don’t want dumbed-down apps, they want uncomplicated apps. There’s a difference
- Understand user goals. Remove the cruft that isn’t relevant to solving those user goals.
- It’s challenging to make complexity effortless.
- Facebook’s initial mobile app was stripped down, which angered many users.
- Don’t disclose too much at once. Balance complexity with legibility.
- Clarity should trump density.
Myth #4: Extra taps and clicks are evil
- Each tap should add value to the user experience
- Extra taps should get users to their goals
- Progressive Disclosure. Every screen should have a primary task, and push secondary content onto separate screens
- Make sure users know secondary content exists. It’s important to show that secondary content exists, but revealing a hint every single time can be annoying.
- A user experience should be consumed one bite at a time. But don’t just stop at one bite. Deliver a full meal.
- Mobile = More
- Mobile = More. Mobile can do things other contexts can’t. Think about the capabilities and how to exploit them.
- Progressively enhance a core experience.
Myth #5: You Gotta have a mobile website
- Dont think “mobile web site”, think “mobile web experience”.
- Dont reroute to different URLs. Content should live under 1 roof.
- Responsive design isn’t the only answer, but it can be part of the equation.
- It’s hard to elegantly fit the kitchen sink into mobile.
- It’s hard to elegantly fit the kitchen sink. Edit content first so only relevant information remains across the board.
- Focus is a key principle of the mobile first philosophy
- Don’t get caught up on each channel. Instead, focus on content strategy across all channels.
- Content and API first.
Myth #6: Mobile is about apps
- It’s exhausting to build and maintain
- An app is not a strategy, it’s just an app.
- It’s about the content and services, an app is just one container.
- Don’t get caught up in presentation across platforms. Our content is going more places and we have less time to control every pixel across all channels.
- Think of our content like water, that’s able to take the form of whatever container it gets poured into a multitude of containers.
- Users expect the experience to flow seamlessly across channels. Get content. Anytime. Anywhere.
- We’re all cloud developers now. It’s all about HTTP requests.
- We need to be future-friendly.
Myth #7: CMS & API are for database nerds.
- We all have to care about content design and workflow. It takes everyone working together to bring cross-channel experiences to fruition.
- “Metadata is the new art direction.”
- Metadata creates opportunities to enhance the content across contexts.
- it’s not the design you want to repurpose, it’s the content you want to recreate across the board.
- Don’t shoe-horn design conventions from old contexts into new contexts. The content should be uniform, but the design should be unique.
- Our jobs are getting harder. We’re confronted by many screens. We have to embrace uncertainty and step up to the plate to make truly amazing things.