Talk about how sometimes it is a good thing to make things harder. Especially in mobile. The age old UX answer. It depends.Came to this recently thinking about an analogy with doors – more on that later.
Question at the bottom of this really is should we make it work REALLY WELL on mobile?So am I seriously asking this? There’s only one answer, right.
HELL YES! If your site ends up looking like this on a mobile device then you are out of a job and in serious trouble. So no, I’m not asking if it should work on mobile. Of course it should. I’m asking should we always aim for the most optimal experience on mobile, or are the cases where reducing usability can have the effect of improving the whole user experience
So what do we mean by ‘mobile optimised’. A LOT of opinions out there of course. A quick google search turns up endless sites, blogs and articles on 10 thing syou must! ^ rules for mobile, golden rules for mobile design!Generally boil down to Simplifying contentPutting everything in one long pagehiding the navRemoving barriers for entry
Principles for ‘Mobile First’ aim to address many of the cross-platform usability conundrums by focusing on the core needs and only adding in that which is necessary for a desktop, by designing for ‘mobile first’.But I wonder if there is still a case for mobile second or even not very much at all…
So what might we choose not to optimise?CMS interfaces – reducing functionality and display options (e.g preview, in page editing) does not improve the user experience. Better to discourage use on mobile and encourage use on full screen mouse/keyboard tech.User journeys that need support – some services can’t be appreciated or accessed by just creating a user name and password, or by picking a colour from a colour wheel, or by reading someones profile. For those journeys that benefit from some offline consideration then a fast-track access all areas mobile experience may not be the best approach.Critical tasks – contentious as there is no more guarantee that a user is on a static connection with a desktop/laptop than with a mobile device. Tax return!
Form sign up for complex service.Landing pages and content are optimised for mobile – great. Sales managers and the like who want the service can browse out and about.Form optimised too – high up page / few fields / big button == almost hard NOT to fill it in.Also, direct access to platform (no need to authenticate)Within a few seconds of engagement with your potential customer you have got them to sign up for a free trial.
So now the user has a bad experience. They liked you there for a bit. Were pleased you had a shiny site! Easy to use! Dutifully filled out the form before they even thought twice and BAM.Now you dumped them ithe middle of a highly complex system that they’ve not be prepared for, weren’t expecting and odn’t understand.== BAD experienceAlso no good for you. Lots of bad first impressions that could have been managed if you had slowed down the relationship with your customer and lots of poor leads from site visitors who didn’t know or understand what they were signing up for or need it.
Is optimised always optimal?When to break the rules for good.
What do we mean?1. Reduce the amount of content2. Single column layouts work best3. Present that navigation differently4. Minimise text entry5. Decide whether you need more than 1 mobile site6. Design for touchscreen and non-touchscreen users7. Take advantage of inbuilt functionalityCommunicate via colours!
Don’t optimise … ?• CMS– unlikely to have content on device• User journeys that *need* additional support– Sales funnels that benefit from offline interaction• Complex products or services• Bespoke luxury goods• Highly personal services (e.g. childminding)• Critical tasks that need uninterruptedconnections
Oh dear…• User is now lost in acomplex CMS• No longer in your easy tounderstand sales site• Unsupported and confused= BAD EXPERIENCE
Not optimal, but betterForm is more complex but containsinformation about the product andtrialUser is given a ‘thank you’ message,not direct access to the product.Verification email includes moredetails, support contacts and accessto platform.Log in is not prevented after formsubmission, also teaches userabout route to log in for future.
Breaking the rules• Minimise form fields• Minimse content• Straight to platform