Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Mobile User Experience Is Miserable ↦

Jakob Nielsen summarizes his company’s latest mobile Internet usability tests (emphasis in the original):

All of our new research findings support a single conclusion: designing for mobile is hard. Technical accessibility is very far from providing an acceptable user experience. It’s not enough that your site will display on a phone. Even touch phones that offer “full-featured” browsers don’t offer PC-level usability in terms of users’ ability to actually get things done on a website.

When designing for mobile, there’s a tension between (a) making content and navigation salient so that people do not work too hard to get there, and (b) designing for a small screen and for slow downloading speeds. That’s why almost every design decision must be made in the context of the site being designed, and what works for a site may not work for another.

Unless websites are redesigned for the special circumstances of mobile use, the mobile Web will remain a mirage. Users won’t realize the benefits promised by mobile vendors, and site owners won’t reap the profits that would follow from gathering hordes of loyal mobile customers.