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Mobile Mantras: An Experience Design Roundtable

by Melanie St. James on February 8th, 2012

The interactive agency OnetoOne in Charlestown, hosted the February UPA Boston meeting, on the topic of Mobile best practices. (Thanks for hosting. Cool digs!)

Here are some take-aways:

Mobile Strategy:

  • Think of mobile strategy first, before designing main website
  • All content needs to be there (Same as main website)
  • The focus for mobile is Context, Content (Information), and Task-Specific (Services)
  • Tom DeMarco, famed software engineer, talks about simplifying tasks, never more than 3 clicks away or 3 pages deep.
  • Search is most important


  • Order tasks to start with most frequent
  • Group by categories. Maximum 10 items by category
  • Total links per page: 10
  • Main Nav: 3 or 4 links
  • Most used features at the top
  • Have a “go to top” link at the bottom of information pages
  • Provide a back link
  • Top Aligned form fields
  • No horizontal scrolling
  • Use all available width (not columns) for links, list elements, text inputs


  • Consider the color palette in different environments (low light, bright light)
  • No to low multimedia
  • Only essential elements on home page
  • Don’t use graphics for text


  • They use Omnigraffle to create “User Journeys”
  • They like Axure as a tool


  • Test for the 4 main carriers
  • Android has the main share of market, followed by Apple
  • Check on actual devices, as performance can be an issue
  • Simulators are okay for first round of debugging (DeviceAnywhere, PerfectoMobile)

Testing Design:

  • Interface Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Information Design
  • Functional

Performance testing:

  • Performance and Stress
  • “Monkey testing”
  • Low/no network
  • Interruption testing

*For testing, they build a “sled”, a lip-stick camera mounted on a plastic frame that hangs above the mobile device.

Emerging Trends:

  • NFC will drive payment methods (Near Field Communication) “Pay with your phone”
  • Mobile ALM (Application Life-Cycle Management)
  • Private clouds for mobile testing
  • Tablets here to stay

Book recommendation:

  • Paradox of Choice

From → Mobile

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