Mobile Interface Design Myths You Can Do Without
Mobile Interface Design Myths You Can Do Without
Analytics are your friend when designing your mobile app's user interface. Relying on analytics instead of these common misconceptions will benefit you.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
There’s a lot of hype surrounding mobile-first index. This is no surprise given that the global community is on the fast track toward mobile dependence for practically everything. Now, the responsibility lies in the designers and developers’ capability to tap into this resource and make it as profitable as possible. However, standing in the way are common myths surrounding mobile interface design.
Yes, it is true there are guidelines that need to be followed when designing a mobile interface, but don’t forget that guidelines are there to “guide,” not dictate the rules of engagement of the design approach and development.
A common mistake is to take a design myth and take it to mean that it is the norm. Well, nothing is further from the truth, and designers or developers should take great care not to fall victim to subscribing to these myths.
Here are some common beliefs in mobile interface design that you can do without.
Mobile Users Are Always Short on Time
Although this statement has a bit of truth to it, stereotyping your intended audience is not the way to go. More often than not, we don’t see the whole picture and fall short of categorizing our intended users properly and fail to attract them to use our mobile interface.
TRUTH: Know your site’s real users.
The better approach would be to take the time to get to know them better using tools like statistical data analysis of site traffic. From this approach, you can then identify the type of person who is frequenting your website and optimize accordingly.
Hitting your target audience is a sure-fire way of engaging them productively, and can spell the difference between them giving you all their time and completely ignoring your website. If that isn’t clear enough, that means lost business and lost opportunity to profit just because you didn’t tailor your mobile interface to your unique target audience.
Here are a few things you can apply to better understand your target clientele:
- Know your site’s goals.
- Find out who your target clientele are or which generation they fall into.
- Test! Test your ideas.
Ever heard of beta testing? Before juggernauts like Apple and Google release updates or apps, they release a localized beta test, but this is most often referred to as the last stage of testing. Who says that this cannot be applicable to your site?
Mobile Websites Will Benefit From Fewer Features
This myth makes no sense at all. Contrary to what you know, users usually look for features found on their desktop and expect them to be present on their respective mobile devices as well.
Gone are the old days of the Internet when users had to get on their desktops if they wanted to explore an interesting site in-depth. Designers then had to minimize everything their website had to offer just to enjoy a modicum of viewership.
TRUTH: Prioritise content but do not eliminate its purpose.
To be successful in the game of the shrinking screen, it is important that we realize the need to prioritize the features we offer so that we can begin to maximize the use of the mobile interface. It can be a simple “Go back to top” button to make navigating just a bit easier rather than having the client scroll all the way back to top.
So instead of taking away features, find out which ones belong in front and maximize those while minimizing other “less important” ones.
A Mobile Interface Should Be Simple, Not Complex
A person on a desktop configures his browser to open to Google or Yahoo on startup. What makes you think that if this same person were on a mobile device, he would configure it differently?
TRUTH: Complexity is a good thing. Embrace it.
The truth is that your users’ intent when going online does not change whether they are on a desktop or on a mobile device. Your clients will have a habit that is hard to break whenever they go online.
Surfing patterns and practices will be the same as those on desktops. Therefore, why should you change the complexity of your interface just because you are designing for a mobile device? As long as you keep the interface well-organized, users won’t mind swiping and pressing a number of times to get to what they are looking for.
Complexity is not a bad thing as long as it is used as a necessity in order to provide a complete and satisfying website experience.
To sum up the above sections, dedicate time and other much-needed resources and analyze how your site’s users respond to testing efforts and your site’s overall functionality, including the web design and other features. Analytics won’t lie to you.
Remember Master ODA:
Observe what your users and visitors are doing.
Do anticipate what they need.
Appropriately design with their approval and convenience in mind, not yours.
Then all that’s left is testing, testing, and more testing to come up with the best mobile interface design for your target consumers. Time will tell when you’ll achieve a deeper understanding of your target clientele and how you will put that to profitable use to grow and attract more users.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.