Mobile UX Research
As we have already discussed, the design process must be informed by user research data. So, in order for your site to cater for mobile, there’s no point in extracting insight from screen recordings of desktop users. You must see how your audience interacts with the mobile version of your site.
As Bill Loller, Vice President of IBM Smarter Commerce, puts it:
“To truly cater to their mobile customers and provide a flawless user experience, businesses must understand the context in which their customers are using mobile and use this to better the services they already offer. For example, are they using their mobile devices to buy products, or research products for later purchase online or in store? If they do use mobile predominantly to research products and buy in store, are they doing their research while in-store, or from elsewhere?”
Mobile UX research is what will allow you to answer such questions. Mobile users have different needs and expectations than their desktop counterparts. For instance, they tend to prefer simpler interactions, something that your mobile design will have to cater for through e.g. unintrusive navigation menus and minimal distractions.
Mobile Visual Design
It is much harder to find visual balance on a smaller screen, especially because horizontal whitespace (margins) is often not an option on mobile. To create an effective, minimalist design, you have to rely on other important design decisions.
We recommend prioritising getting rid of any UI elements that are not necessary. A simple rule of thumb that many UI/UX designers stick to is to ensure that there is only one primary action per screen. It’s good to keep this in mind when deciding what makes the cut (important CTA buttons) and what does not (animations whose purpose is solely aesthetic).
Remember, your copy must also be readable without zooming in, so make sure you have chosen a font that translates well across many different sizes (i.e. many different devices).
A particularly important part of your mobile design is your CTAs. As previously touched upon with the “thumb test”, the fact that buttons become “tappable” rather than “clickable” on mobile adds another dimension to CTAs.
Tap target problems occur when mobile CTAs are too small or too close to another UI interactive element.
- Too close: you may end up clicking on the wrong thing.
- Too small: the button may not respond to the user.
Apple, for instance, recommends a target size of at least 44×44 pixels in their iPhone Human Interface Guidelines to ensure that there are no issues when it comes to tapping buttons/links on its devices.