Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Usability Guidelines For Mobile Publishing: What To Do To Best Serve Your Mobile Phone-Based Readers?

Detailing the 7 WebCredible mobile phone reader usability guidelines ...

"More and more mobile phones users are browsing and searching the Internet on their handsets. But are you doing anything to make your blog or news site usable for these loyal readers when they are on the move?

In some European countries, for example, mobile phones penetration has already come very close to the saturation point, and many browsers running on mobile handset can now easily handle web sites that were originally designed exclusively for computer viewing. As a matter of fact, today over 20% of UK mobile phone users now use the Internet on their mobile devices (source: 3G.co.uk).

That's why if you design, manage or publish web sites you need to start seriously considering how your sites will look and work on mobile phones devices.

Abid Warsi and the usability team at WebCredible has put together a good basic set of seven usability guidelines to be used for anyone wanting to start working on the usability aspects of her mobile web site.

These guidelines are all based on actual user research conducted by WebCredible with an unspecified set of mobile phone users. These were asked to carry out typical information navigation tasks on popular websites while using a mobile phone browser. The issues and problems they encountered were then used to produce the following guidelines.

Here the details:

Mobile and PC users can have different reasons for visiting the same site.

Mobile users are more likely to want information to help them at that location or time, such as finding directions or finding out what's going on at nearby locations. Also, such users might want to find some nearby entertainment where to spend a short period of time, or they might want to read something on the bus or while waiting to meet a friend.

For your own site, try to predict your own users' needs and try fulfill these as quickly as possible. Exceptions to this are items people download to keep on their phones (e.g. buying ringtones).

Yahoo! does this effectively with its new mobile oneSearch service. Searching for 'Cinema' produces a list of cinemas near users' location showing their address and phone numbers. Clicking the 'Call' link next to a number opens a call dialogue box on the phone. A further enhancement would to be enable users to click through to a map of the selected venue."    (Continued via Robin Good)    [Usability Resources]

Yahoo OneSearch - Usability, User Interface Design

Yahoo OneSearch

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