Uservision Breakfast Briefing

Orde Saunders' avatarUpdated: Published: by Orde Saunders

Notes from Uservision'sBreakfast briefing on Mobile UX.

[Note: These aren't verbatim - I've put my spin on some of this!]

Apps are currently very popular but do you really need an app - good mobile websites can work better. Mobile site development has not been as fast as apps.

Predictions of number of phones overtaking the number of PCs shift out all the time - the growth in mobile is very real but take these kind of predictions with a grain of salt.

How long do apps stay installed on a device?

  • 38% removed after 1 day
  • 50% removed after 1 week
  • 90% removed after 6 months

Communication is still the main mobile app use case. (Facebook, Twitter, SMS, voice, video...)

Mobile UX cycle:

1. Asses

  • why are we doing mobile?
  • what are the benefits of doing mobile?
  • what content should be available on mobile?
  • are we adding value?
  • how do we keep it short and sweet.
  • what is our strategy: app or web (within web: stand alone or responsive)

2. App vs. mobile web

Problems with apps:

  • download/discovery
  • app store acceptance
  • download of app over 3g
  • app load time can be slow
  • limit to number of apps that can be installed on a phone
  • apps get forgotten

Advantage of web:

  • reach - any web browser
  • discover-ability - Google search, links, brand awareness
  • increasing access to advanced web features and device hardware

3. Understand users

  • Two main types: browsers and task driven
  • Man way they interact with your site: search/ nav/ presentation
  • Derive insight from web stats
  • Carry out internal content workshops
  • Ask your users - focus groups and questionnaires

4. Mobile considerations

  • What are the opportunity costs
  • Only include the relevant content
  • Keep it short and simple
  • Integrate with phone features (GPS, camera, phone...)
  • Make the design interruptible - i.e. throughout any process give people the ability to save and return at a different time and/or on a different device (Amazon is a great example of this)
  • Make it self sufficient, don't make some parts only available on the 'full site'
  • Don't make users think
  • Remember that text input on mobile is still problematic
  • Meet users needs quickly
  • Clearly distinguish the states of UI items - particularly with forms
  • Make input simple as possible
  • Only show essential info
  • Include basic site navigation controls on every page
  • Don't repeat a full navigation menu at the top of every page (conciser recessing to meet the above point)

5. IA

  • limit navigational items to 5
  • limit navigation depth to 5
  • update link order based on traffic
  • three main navigational strategies: grid, list or combo

6. Test and refine

Responsive design

There are opportunities for separate sites but this should be the exception to solve a specific problems rather than the starting point.

It is a bad idea to send all desktop assets to mobile It is wrong to assume "all mobile users want X" - do your research to see what they really want, it is likely to be more varied and nuanced than you think. If there really are different task requirements then go for seperate mobile.


  • less customisation
  • less maintenance
  • SEO benefits (Google prefers RWD)
  • consistent UX is much easier
  • conversion optimisation can be easier - benefits affect all users
  • there is only one set of analytics


  • site can be smaller
  • site and journeys can be tightly targeted
  • mobile specific UI can be used

Warning: Don't assume that, just because the screen size is similar, on a tablet that you can just bring back the full desktop. People interact differently with tablets.

What is the future?

[Here we hand over to Stephanie Rieger]

Long term:

  • apps are spreading into other things.
  • more device APIs are becoming available and more sensors (GPS, camera, network type, accelerometer...).
  • more interaction with other objects - like scanning a QR code but more (RFID?).
  • easier to move your content around and between devices (cloud).
  • device sharing - view your phone on your TV when you are at home, view your TV on your phone when you are out.

Short term:

  • more people using the web.
  • more using 'mobile' web. (mobile is something can be moved - phone, tablet, laptop).
  • increasingly people are 'always on'.
  • don't assume context.
  • using 'mobile' in front of the TV is already massive and growing.
  • 'mobile' is mostly used in a static context.

[Back to Uservision]

We are increasingly going to see the following:

  • monetisation
  • security
  • targeting and personalisation
  • html5
  • in-app analytics (may get round cookie directive)

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