May 5, 2014

Load Time: Be Kind to Your Users

Designer Developer

A few years ago, I was messaging a friend and offered to email him a file, making the assumption he would simply pull it up on his computer when he got home. His response was more jarring to me than it should have been.

“I don’t have a computer.”

The idea that my friend might only get online through his phone did not even occur to me. It should have, because I had already been developing mobile-friendly websites for a little while, but it didn’t. With the evolution of mobile devices and cloud services, more and more people don’t really need a computer on a daily basis.

Mar 3, 2014

Content Comprehension

Communicator Designer Resource Center

I recently read an article comparing the comprehension scores of the same content read on a desktop and on an iPhone. Not surprisingly, the comprehension scores from readers using an iPhone were 48% of those using a desktop. The article, written by Jakob Nielsen and can be found here, goes on to explain why readers would have a more difficult time understanding content on a mobile device versus a desktop device. The author also gives some good tips on how to improve comprehension of your content on mobile devices.

In conclusion he states, “complicated content should be rewritten to be shorter, with secondary information deferred to subsidiary pages.” While we often get wrapped up in visual design, I think understandability of content can be just as important.

Nov 21, 2013

Why mobile first?

Designer Developer

If you’re new to the concept of mobile first, its simply the practice of designing and developing websites starting with the mobile experience.

Hearing the term mobile-first a couple years ago, I thought how dumb, web surfing is best done on a huge monitor!  We should just give the one or two mobile users out there separate mobile sites.

Two years and several responsive sites later, I get it.

The growth of mobile has been discussed before, so lets cover other benefits.

Using a mobile first approach improves:

  • Mobile experience (duh) – mobile becomes first priority instead of an afterthought
  • Content – the small screen compels us to write concise content that is focused on user needs
  • Accessibility – screen readers and mobile browsers thrive on clean, semantic html
  • Usability – simplifying our interfaces and prioritizing content over navigation leads to sites that are easier to use
  • Speed – the constraints of mobile bring us to remove unnecessary cruft; reducing ornamentation, graphics and fancy javascript makes everything faster
  • Development time – starting small and adding features for larger screens results in leaner code

Where to go from here

We have a few points on how to think mobile first under the Go Mobile strategy page. Then definitely read Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski. Everything here is rehashing ideas from Luke’s book.

Sep 23, 2013

Pew Internet – Cell Internet use 2013

Communicator

Pew Internet has released their 2013 survey on Cell Internet use. In general, it illustrates the continuing and growing trend of using cellular mobile devices to access the internet. Highlights from this year’s survey include the fact that 63% of people go online using their phones (up from 55% in 2012 and 31% in 2009), and that 85% of people aged 18-29 use their phone to go online.

Of the 63% who use their phone to go online, 34% of them mostly use their phone to go online. In the 18-29 age group, 50% of people fall into this category.

Details of the survey can be found at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Cell-Internet/Summary-of-Findings/Cell-Internet-Access.aspx.