Friday, 23 September 2011

Website usability for mobile users

Jakob Nielsen has done a couple of studies in recent years that reveal a lot about user behaviour on websites when using mobile devices. Some companies are very aware of these differences and develop strategies accordingly.

Two Nielsen articles which outline what he studied and how, and summarise his recommendations for website and content management when looking to improve the experience of mobile device users:

Mobile Usability - article by Jakob Nielsen. "In user testing, website use on mobile devices got very low scores, especially when users accessed "full" sites that weren't designed for mobile."

Defer Secondary Content When Writing for Mobile Users - article by Jakob Nielsen. "Mobile devices require a tight focus in content presentation, with the first screen limited to only the most essential information."

In the process of reading up on user behaviour when surfing websites on mobiles, I also came across an interesting article that outlined Google's mobile strategy.  While the strategy focuses on the development of mobile apps, I think the principles equally apply to the development of mobile-optimised websites.

The key points for me:
  • Google breaks down mobile users into three behavior groups: A. "Repetitive now" B. "Bored now" C. "Urgent now"
  • … the limitations of mobile phones … the "density of information" changes on a mobile phone, requiring designers to identify only the most essential parts…
  • In the mobile world developers have to be prepared to optimize for different devices, browsers, languages, carriers, countries and cultures.
Google Lays Out Its Mobile User Experience Strategy - blog post by Stephen Wellman for

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