Designing for mobility: directions for mobile UX

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. What is “designing for mobility?”
  3. Mobile UX fundamentals
  4. Demands, not trends
  5. Key takeaways
  6. About Paul Pangaro

1. Summary

Interaction design is core to the success of any kind of software. Smartphones, tablets, watches, and other types of mobile devices create additional design challenges due to their unique form factors and, more important, user scenarios involving time constraints and limited attention.

While responsive design and other mobile-design principles have received a lot of attention, they are not sufficient to address the fundamentally different context and needs of users who are every bit as mobile as their devices. This report will help designers understand the new vision and new frameworks needed for the realities of mobile computing.

Key findings from this report include:

  • Design has shifted from a form-giving paradigm to a meaning-making one, in which design is essential to and indistinct from the entire user experience.
  • Mobile context is fundamentally different from tethered context. Adapting the appearance of an application to a smaller touchscreen is important but insufficient.
  • Trend spotting is a trap where designers focus on popular reactions to user demands rather than the demands themselves.
  • To address current user demands while building for the future, businesses should design for “bio-cost”, privacy, and platforms.

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