Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel 11 July 2017
Categories Mobile, Technology

Designing For Mobile: Consider It’s Mobility First

The rise in numerous wearable devices such as smart watches, sensors has led to 360° transformations of the entire landscape of designing. All the devices under “Internet Of Things (IoT)” umbrella are bringing a new complexity to our field.

Internet Of Things (IoT)” umbrella are bringing a new complexity to our field. And as a result, one finds it difficult to tell where “mobile” or an “app” really starts and ends. Therefore, the requirement of excellent designers is much seen these days.

Now being a web designer, it is very important to get acquainted with the situation in order to maintain the level of fluidity in different kinds of devices, sensors, and network connections. And mobility rather than mobile defines much better kind of environment.

The following post emphasizes on how designing for mobility is a broader approach to design.

Instead of the device, focus more on the context

The digital transformation has led to technology gaining awareness of what we do, who we relate to, our likes/dislikes, etc. There was a time when it seemed like mobile phones are the only devices which would be carried around as a single point of contact. However, this, of course, is no longer true as the development of smart watches, fitness wristbands, and another wearable's possessed sensors (like heart-rate monitors and pedometers) took place.

And therefore, how much context an app or platform can capture doesn’t depend on a single device but rather a combination of several touchpoints. For example, have you thought how Facebook determines if a user is logging in from an unusual location? This happens only when the application knows about a user’s environment.

Context-awareness also emphasizes on designing for cases especially when the amount of information is pretty less or unavailable. This is absolutely true if we are designing for a single known device; under certain conditions.

Define the term “Responsive”

The term “Responsive” has been badly spoiled. It means no more than being able to adapt to different screen sizes. But in actual, responsive means: being able to respond, thus by establishing a communication with the user. A truly responsive interface is actively listening to an unpredictable environment. And by knowing the context of the reader, it becomes pretty easy to create a better design. In fact, many companies offering responsive web design services tend to gain ideas about the design after interacting with the end user. By doing this they can offer a user-friendly interface like never before.

Overall, embracing mobility has much to do with the end users environment and is meant to serve them better by establishing a richer, smarter communication.

The reduction in the presence of screens

Although, screens are getting smaller and more capable but the notion of a screen itself is being put into question by new technology. At one end, visual interfaces are no longer tied to glowing glass rectangles while from the other side, the availability of auditive and haptic feedback gives us more options to communicate with end users and reinforce a message.

For example, smartwatches aim to reduce the amount of time we stare at screens just to consume the bits of information. Hence, in most of the cases, this is done through notifications.

Design notification-first

There are three key things about notifications:

  • They are simple and brief
  • Their ability to design is quite limited
  • They actively interrupt the user rather than waiting for them to request something

The true value of most apps resides in the content that is provided within the given moment. While most UX designers believe that the UX of what happens inside the full-sized app is inferior to the notification. In fact, in most of the cases, a good user doesn’t even require to access the full app. This is quite true in the case of Android, where notifications turn out to be pretty richer, better designed and actionable.

The app-centric paradigm is the focal point of our current mobile experience. It may quite interest you to know that even tech giants like Google have started putting a strong emphasis on the value delivered to users by service and content providers, rather than how beautifully designed an app is.

Final Thoughts

UX design has gone a lot more complex than anyone could think of. As a result, a designer requires to be broad-minded, collaborative, thorough and careful about what and for whom they are designing. It’s all about deepening the knowledge of available technology just as much as we need to ensure our users aren’t stunned by it.

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