Mobile UX: We're Still Human by Chris Scull


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Presentation delivered at the Digital Marketing Show 2013 (

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Chris Scull, UX Consultant
020 7173 2800

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Mobile UX: We're Still Human by Chris Scull

  1. 1. DIGITAL MARKETING SHOW 2013 Mobile UX: We’re still human Chris Scull 1
  2. 2. Between the ages of 13 -17... I worked weekends for my dad’s engineering company My main duties included carrying toolboxes, around buildings, for engineers
  3. 3. This was hard work The toolboxes were always ridiculously heavy And I always had to carry them to the top or bottom of a building
  4. 4. But I noticed something.. The engineer never used ALL the tools in the toolbox So I made a deal...
  5. 5. The game changed, but the players were the same We would decide what tools were needed And if we discovered we needed more, I’d make another trip...
  6. 6. Things got a lot better after that... I’d say 70% of the time, the engineer knew what tools to take So most of the time I wasn’t dragging a massive toolbox about Which is obviously better
  7. 7. That story is true ALLEGORY ALERT
  8. 8. Here’s the presentation menu
  9. 9. The points I’ll be making Allegorical toolbox story With mobile and tablet now accounting for 10 -20% of traffic to most websites its increasingly important that mobile user experience is as good as desktop. Which actually happened (ask my dad) I’ll cover my rules to help you design better mobile user experience, with case studies from the field Be as fearless as Macbeth when creating mobile UX Point 1: Mobile and desktop are different You’ll want to be sitting down for this, it’s a real bombshell Point 2: Design for the context, not the content Because context is more important Point 3: Be bloody, brave and resolute Point 4: Don’t be afraid to be good at one or two things Embrace simplicity and ease of use Point 5: Success isn’t the thing existing It doesn’t end there I’ll conclude And spell out the meaning of the allegory earlier
  10. 10. POINT 1 Mobile and desktop are different
  11. 11. Spot the difference? o Stood up – and on the move o Sat down in a familiar location o Surrounded by other people; lots of sensory distractions o Alone in a quiet room o Concentrating on something else (not missing his train) Concentrating hard; desktop interaction is likely to be sole focus. o Plenty of time to do what she wants o Fitting what he’s doing into an idle moment o Typing with both hands o Holding the device with one hand o o Likely to be using a touchscreen device Has full access to everything in her office and on her computer o Mobile is inherently social o Push notifications remove the need to check multiple sites o Much smaller real estate o
  12. 12. Takeaway Patently, experiences should be different dependent on whether you’re on a mobile or desktop. An IA might change. Functionality might change. Everything might change. Be flexible.
  13. 13. Point 2: Design for the context, not the content
  14. 14. Responsive doesn’t solve your mobile problem Is this content/functionality useful? Is it valuable? Is it worth being on mobile?
  15. 15. Client X: Mobile UX design for user context Designing a mobile site for a public sector agency Mobile and tablet important as they now account for 20% of all traffic. First step was to understand the context and usage – how does web and mobile-web fit? I believe that mobile shouldn’t necessarily directly mimic desktop
  16. 16. Client X: Mobile UX design for user context And the stats reflect that... Popular pages Desktop 1. Home 2. Consumer information page 3. Consumer information page Mobile 1. Contact us (70%) 2. Consumer landing page 3. About If mobile users consider ‘Contact Us’ the most important journey on a mobile site, then treat it as such
  17. 17. First understand how the business operates Business insights People buy legal services based on reputation and personal relationships They buy into an individual, not just the firm that person works for Sales do not happen online, you do not add legal services to a shopping basket and go to the checkout Digital needed to support the offline business, not replace it
  18. 18. Lewis Silkin: Mobile UX design for user context Mapping out the customer journey helped us to understand where mobile web could make a difference Telephone Email Mobile-web Face-to-face “We’re interested in legal services for marketing. Yes, sure I’d love to meet Simon.” “I’ll send you an email to confirm and a link to Simon’s profile.” 2 days later Diary reminder: your meeting with Lewis Silkin is in 30 minutes. “Hi Simon.. I was just reading your journal post – really interesting stuff.” “Who is this guy I’m meeting – what’s he like?
  19. 19. Automotive Client: Mobile UX Some awful mistakes App for a car model Don’t presume positive outcomes
  20. 20. Takeaway The success of mobile UX is dependent on the human holding it and the situation they are in. Solve the problem; don’t answer a question that’s not being asked.
  21. 21. POINT 3 Be bloody, brave and resolute (Fearless like Macbeth)
  22. 22. Be bloody, brave and resolute! Don’t cram everything in Make every piece of content fight for its life on mobile Wield the axe Less is more Nobody wants a mobile app or site to be like an overstuffed suitcase that you can’t close (Let alone fit into an overhead bin)
  23. 23. This is why wins awards... Client Y: “What are we going to do with all our great content when we go to!” Research/Analytics: NO ONE IS LOOKING AT YOUR ‘GREAT CONTENT’ Be bloody, bold and resolute with content and functionality!
  24. 24. Embrace simplicity Fast, stylish & elegant!
  25. 25. Not overstuffed.. Busy, complex, difficult to navigate and use
  26. 26. Takeaway All the best mobile experiences are fast, stylish and elegant. Your mission is to remove the friction which prevents that.
  27. 27. POINT 4 Be really awesome at one or two things
  28. 28. Being awesome at a few things The Guardian app is awesome at summarising The Guardian Vine is great and creating and sharing looping videos
  29. 29. Being awesome at a few things Vanity Fair have a really elegant pared down experience The Sweet Setup focus on mobile use by streamlining their offering for mobile
  30. 30. Instagram sold for approx $1bn It is awesome at one thing.
  31. 31. Instagram sold for approx $1bn “We knew that if we specialised in photos and did photos really well, that’s in some way more powerful than this bundle of everything else” - Kevin Systrom
  32. 32. Takeaway Make it simple. Be awesome at one or two things. Don’t be a toolbox.
  33. 33. POINT 5 Success isn’t “the thing existing”
  34. 34. Automotive Client: Mobile UX “Yeah but we’ll be on the App Store!”
  35. 35. Client X: Mobile UX “Everything needs to be on mobile” Analytics, 3 months later: No one is looking at it.
  36. 36. Client X: Mobile UX “We’ve launched our big campaign with a YouTube video!” Analytics: It has 30 views after a month
  37. 37. Takeaway What is working? What isn’t working? Test on real people. Learn and iterate.
  38. 38. Let’s ‘wrap’ this up
  39. 39. To conclude Pick the right tools for the job Don’t give users the entire toolbox, when a few tools will suffice Users want a fast, stylish and elegant mobile experience.
  40. 40. “ By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people -------------------------------------Cisco 2013 ”
  41. 41. Questions? Chris Scull– UX Consultant Get in touch: Email: Twitter @cjscull Blog: Interests: • Digital strategy, user experience, information architecture, usability, accessibility, mobile, social media • Outside work: West Ham, live music Reading Room 65-66 Frith Street Soho London W1D 3JR