MAX Sessions: XD: Designing Engaging Mobile Experiences (Josh Ulm)

by admin on 03/10/2007

This is the first XD guy not starting with an explanation of the XD team and their principles. Good, by now everyone at least a bit interested in them knows anyway… ;-)

Mobile devices have evolved from merely functional tools to our constant companions. But the web experiences that we can get with our mobiles are boring, especially Facebook and MySpace, the most common social networks, look awful on the small screen. Josh shows some examples how the sides could look better, richer, more accessible. He shows the outcome of a survey that mentions iPhone owners with 77% being the most satisfied users of mobile phones and sees a real opportunity for designers and developers in this changing industry. But how to get up the experience to this level? First of all it needs to be an experience that puts the user first, they must be expressive and desirable. For this it’s important to know the user and his behavior.

Design principles for creating engaging mobile experiences:
– The Mobile Context is Relevant (they should not only be smaller, but smarter than desktops => focus on the user’s mobility, fitting, get the hardware to test immediately. As an example he shows google maps on a mobile, which was just text in the beginning and was changed to a great application for mobile devices after the problem was realized.)
– Capture and Guide Users (=> establish clear focus, direction and emphasis, Maintain context, Preview and deliver. As an example he show Yahoo go, which is today easy to use)
– Differentiations is a Feature (=> stylize, demonstrate brand, deep customization, thrill, fresh and dynamic. As an example he shows “Living World”, an application that gives an identity to the device)
Sum up: there is a hunger for mobile experience and providers who realize this potential we have an amazing opportunity.

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