IA Summit: The Mobile Question

by Luke Wroblewski April 12, 2010

At the IA Summit in Phoenix, AZ Jeremy Johnson tackled The Mobile Question: Lessons in Design and Strategy for Your Mobile Experience and provided a framework for deciding how to allocate your mobile design and development resources. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • Before 2007 mobile Internet adoption was less than 12%. Before 2007 Pandora had a hard time getting mobile adoption despite working with several carriers. Today 40% of Pandora users are mobile and gorwing faster than desktop users.
  • The iPhone , which came out in 2001, kicked off the mobile Web revolution but we know have a range of very capable devices with significant mobile use. There are 85 million iPhone OS capable devices. You can get 75% of the mobile consuming devices by targeting iPhone and android devices.
  • In mobile, user experience is really tied to specifc devices because of different screen sizes, resolutions, and capabilities. As a result, you need a device strategy to determine what to target.
  • Step 1: know what kind of mobile experience are you creating? Option 1: A mobile first product is not valuable unless it is on a mobile device. Mobile first applications target multiple platforms and require mobile expertise. Option 2: take your content to mobile platforms. To do this find out what kind of devices your readers have and target appropriately. Option 3: move desktop/web applications to mobile. Option 4: create entertainment style applications. Games, music, etc. You need high graphics and native applications.
  • Step 2: get into the design process. The first question is what needs to go mobile. Not everything. Focus on a few key things. List out the top features that are needed for your business or are specific to a mobile context. Mobile users either have a specific goal to meet or are leisure users (time killing)
  • Step 3: know your audiences’ device profile. Example: the BBC has a set of mobile personas they recently published. Analytics can help you find what kind of devices people have used to access your site. What persona are you designing for and what device are they using?
  • Looking at your plan and your users will get you pretty focused. If you have no audience analytics, you can target the general trends.
  • What technologies do we use? In general native is better but it’s sometimes not possible due to development resources and costs.
  • HTML5 is the most useful probable solution for reaching multiple platforms without too much cost.