Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lessons From Google Mobile

Learning UX from Google ...

"Google’s NYC office hosted a sold out last month’s meeting of the New York Usability Professionals Association (NY UPA), featuring a presentation by Leland Rechis, a UX designer in their mobile team. Exactly the sort of hyper-intelligent bespectacled geek one hopes to meet there, Rechis surveyed the key insights the UX group learned while building Google’s mobile search product.

Taken aback by the scale of the development effort, I began to wonder how many of the lessons learned were even relevant if you aren’t Google, or at least Google-sized. The basic problems of translating existing services and brands over to the mobile space concern many smaller organizations, but Rechis demonstrated that becoming a global mobile presence presents extraordinary challenges.

Basic problem solving still completely swamps any other creative concern when working on mobile sites. A refreshing blast of Spartan usability problems, mobile site design is uncluttered with your typical mamby-pamby web problems. Can a user get the information, and fast? Answer this question and you’re far ahead of everyone else.

The design process described was quite effective at powering through a lot of basic usability problems, but struck me as potentially ill suited to a younger project that might still be finding itself.

Here are four key points I took home:

1. Designing a good mobile web user experience requires seemingly endless device, location, and use-specific hacks.

2. A shallow learning curve is essential.

3. Localization for the mobile experience is more complex than ever.

4. The UX techniques you know and love are compatible with AGILE development."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]

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