The mobile web is here to stay. However, it’s important to remember that having a mobile website isn’t the key to success – it’s providing the right approach to the mobile user experience that brings success. Taking a user-centred approach to mobile (and other) design can help you keep in mind the outcomes that you intend rather than wasting time on unrewarding designs.
The mobile web is a description intended to distinguish accessing the internet on a tablet or a smartphone as opposed to a regular PC or laptop. As the world has adopted smartphones over the last decae – companies have come to understand the advantages of catering for the mobile web. However, too many businesses start with the end-point in mind; “We need a mobile app or a mobile website!” rather than considering why their users would want it.
There are advantages to delivering a mobile web experience:
- There is the opportunity to cater for the specific users’ needs at the right moment and in the right place.
- The mobile web can be accessed in places where the Internet is not easily accessible from other devices.
- Development for the mobile web can be cost effective and even be cheaper than standard websites.
- There is potential to reach a much larger user base (there are more smartphone owners than desktop and laptop owners).
- There is the opportunity to reach a much wider geographic area (in developing nations smartphones are often the only way for a user to access the internet).
The User-Centred Mobile Design Approach
There are 5 stages of the cycle (all development is assumed to be cyclical with products going through multiple iterations over a lifetime).
You assess the situation as it is at the moment (maybe that’s “we don’t have a mobile website” or maybe it’s “our mobile app is not performing as we’d hoped it would”, etc.).
Then you work out what it is that your users need from you. Once that’s done, you sit down and prioritize features for your mobile platform and then you work on designing those features while ensuring that you’ve put “mobile first” and finally, you review and refine the design.