Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Can you *really* do that on mobile? (whatever "that" may be)

I'm writing this following a thread I saw a while ago in the Designers for Learning LinkedIn group re the mobile design sprint and the viability of mobile-based activities on the web (that I can't seem to find now on my phone 😀).

Questions were raised regarding how practical it *really* is to use mobile for developing, delivering and consuming online content. There's no question that mobile-based computing has its limitations. There's also no question that it's amazing what can be done if constraints dictate that mobile access is your only option.

Advancements in device and web technologies mean that mobile-based computing is more viable now than ever. Developers are becoming increasingly conscious of the needs of their mobile users. Devices themselves (Android OS in particular) are becoming more powerful, with larger screens. More processing capacity and more screen real estate to work with, give designers and developers more options when considering how best to reach their mobile audiences.

It also bears noting that, for many, there are no options. Limitations, be they circumstantial, financial or technical, mean mobile is the only way to connect. If inclusion is part of what you see as your mandate as a designer, then you owe it to yourself, and your audience to account for mobile users in design and development content.

There's nothing like finding oneself in a situation with no option for connecting, other than mobile,  to give a very clear sense of the importance of accounting for the mobile user when designing and building content for online delivery. This is particularly true in emergency preparedness and outreach situations. Your audience may have no other way to access and engage with you and your content.

All stakeholders stand to gain from a design and development philosophy that accounts for mobile. From design, through development to the consumption of content and contributions to the community, spreading the access and inclusion net as wide as possible is a good thing. Notwithstanding the fact that it's the right thing to do, it will help sharpen the design and development process. It also has the added benefit of pretty much ensuing access and inclusion for all.

If you can make it work on a phone or tablet, it's pretty much a given that it'll work on a computer. Of course there will always be things that can't be done on mobile (until you figure out how 😎). At the same time, as designers, developers, and users push the envelope on what's possible/practical via mobile, the better the experience will be for all.