"2008 was truly a milestone year for mobile. In an industry that has long felt downtrodden by a multitude of technical and business constraints, wild and exciting inflection points burst like fireworks across the mobile landscape, bringing visibility to our industry and renewing our hopes.
One of the most notable shifts in 2008 was a new found enthusiasm around the topic of mobile user experience. What are the trends to watch in 2009? Here are three edges I think are worth tracking:
Sexy User Interfaces for All!
Most of us will agree that mobile user interfaces of the past were featured-laden, complex and off-putting for most users. They were lifeless, dull and failed to capture the hearts and imagination of users because they possessed no intuitive qualities. Design decisions were largely based on product design; user interface was an afterthought.
In 2008, we were introduced to glimpses of inspired mobile user interfaces on high-end devices that stood in stark contrast to their predecessors. Whether the cleverness of parallax sliding on of the Android G1 UI, the whimsical transitions of the HTC Diamond, or the “gosh that’s cool” response to applications like Koi Pond and Urban Spoon, these interfaces introduced UI design that was clever, creative and intuitive.
2009 will be the year inspired mobile UI design goes mainstream. Customers at every price point will refuse to suffer the foolishness of the rational, lifeless mobile UIs from the past. They’ll see user interface design as important as the product design. Customers will demand to see live demos of phones in stores so they can interact with the devices. Creativity and invention in UI design will triumph over the logic and consistency of the past.
As a result, we will continue to see innovation in mobile UI design. We’ll be wowed by designers who push boundaries, question assumptions, and take creative risks. They will create evocative information visualizations, push the capabilities of touch screens and gestural UI in exciting and creative ways. 2009 will be remembered as the year mobile UI became intuitive, creative… and inspired.
The emergence of interfaces that anticipate intent
As much as folks in the mobile user experience field proselytize mobile devices are fundamentally different than PCs, we admittedly borrow metaphors, organizational models and design principles from the PC to create mobile experiences. Applications as an organizing principle, task-based design, search, browsers, web pages, GUI and WYSIWYG… all models, principles and metaphors borrowed from the PC legacy and applied to the mobile user experience with limited success. These pillars of design in the PC realm become brittle and broken in the mobile context because screens are too small, the mobile context too variable, and the cognitive load too great for people to fuss about with their phones. We inherently know mobile devices are different than PCs, but figuring out how to design for those differences proves a challenge. Too often we borrow from the PC instead of invent for mobile." (Continued via Usability News, adaptive path, Rachel Hinman) [Usability Resources]