Tuesday, June 03, 2008

mobile browsing is not the same as browsing on the mobile

An interesting distinction for mobile browsing ...

"In recent posts I have talked about the importance of understanding the user experience. The difference between understanding the experience versus a more conventional use-case-like view is deceptively subtle. For those, including myself, trained in thinking about use cases and functional requirements, then it can be very difficult indeed to figure out what user experience is all about. The fact that so few people understand it is underlined by the inescapable fact that the whole mobile-data enterprise has suffered interminably from pursuing so many dead ends, beginning with the WAP fiasco.

When I first talked about this problem many years ago, it was under the rubric of ‘whole product design,’ a topic brought to our attention by Moore in his influential book ‘Crossing the Chasm.’ By his standards, and pretty much everyone else’s, mobile data was clearly NOT a product at all. As discussed in the first edition of my book (’Next Generation Wireless Applications’ - page 50), the differences between a ‘mobile WAP experience’ and a ‘desktop PC browsing experience’ comprised a giant chasm that is still not to be crossed.

We insist on thinking in terms of ‘browsing,’ but is there such a thing in the mobile context? I don’t think so. A basic observation of the vast number of eye-scanning, skim-reading, link-hovering, link-clicking, page-jumping, coffee-sipping, chair-reclining, mouse-shuffling, Google-jumping activities that go on in an average desktop ‘web browsing’ session would demonstrate how nearly all of these activities are insufferably difficult on a mobile device in a mobile context - e.g. standing in the suffocatingly hot linkway between two carriages on the train leaving Paddington station."    (Continued via Small Surfaces, More Blah 2.0, Paul Golding)    [Usability Resources]


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