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BLOG:Building Mobile Experiences That Don’t Suck

Building Mobile Experiences That Don’t Suck

Mobile Experiences Defined

Mobile experiences are user experiences created for customers on the move. This can include experiences that take place on more familiar devices like smartphones and tablets, or, as the mobile landscape is shifting, on wearable devices and other progressive devices we’re confronted with every day.

As marketers, designers, developers, business-owners, decision-makers, etc., these new landscapes give us different opportunities to connect with customers. While mobility indicates being on the move, it’s likewise about being aware. Mobile experiences must be relevant as well as trusted.

Three Principals to Building Mobile Experiences that Don’t Suck

Over 45,000 new apps are submitted to the iTunes store amonth. That’s over 500,000 annually! 79% of users will delete an app if it doesn’t meet their expectations by the first or second time they use it, and eventually 90+% of apps will be deleted.

There are a lot of mobile experiences out there. And a lot of those experiences suck. It may help to consider the following three principals to building mobile experiences that don’t suck.

  1. Identify the user - People make assumptions about their customers but the reality is, some businesses just don’t understand their users and don’t allocate the budget and resources necessary to user research. User research isn’t just about collecting analytics on your users to see what they’re doing; it’s about understanding _why _they’re doing it. Who are they, what motivates them, what’s the challenge they’re facing and how can we help find a resolution? When we identify the user, we identify _with _the user.
  2. Keep it simple – Technology affords us to do a lot of things but that doesn’t mean we should do everything. In considering the mobile landscape, we know users are on the go, meaning tasks need to be accomplished quickly. This means we need to adhere to the following goal-oriented design principals:
    1. Thoughtful reduction. Too many features can mean the experience becomes complicated. If we can understand who the user is and the goals they need to accomplish, we can be thoughtful about how we reduce the amount of complexities.
    2. Design for interruptions. We also need to plan for what happens when our users are in the middle of an experience and the phone rings, they bump into a friend, they’re interrupted – what happens? Did their progress disappear? If we consider their context and plan for interruptions, we can design accordingly and their experience will adapt with them.
    3. Don’t make them think. Users are moving. If the experience isn’t intuitive and they have to try to figure something out - How do I go back to the main menu? How do I purchase this? - we’ve lost them.
  3. Embrace the Art and the Science – What does it look like to embrace both the art and the science? In many organizations, design and development function separately. They need to work harmoniously together to complete the experience. Design and development, when they do come together, can contribute to an emotional connection with consumer. If you agree that emotion leads to action and reason leads to conclusions, then it’s fair to say that by creating an emotional connection with our end-users, then they will respond with action. That could look like a number of things, including brand loyalty – making a purchase, sharing your story, offering feedback, etc.

Identifying the user, keeping it simple and embracing the art and science – when considered holistically, can help build mobile experiences that don’t suck.

How can you take what you’ve learned from these principals to redefine what you’re doing in your organization? How are you identifying the needs of the user, and using those findings to simplify the creative process in such a way that the end product is easy to use? How are you using these three principals to create mobile experiences that don’t suck?