The other day I read that Starbucks is going through another site design (why do always make position site designs as this big one time project vs. just making it an evolutionary process, where we are constantly learning and tweaking).
Starbucks is optimizing its site for mobile platforms vs. the Web. Nice, eh? Makes a lot of sense (although you could just design different pages based on how are people are accessing their site). They might be the first major website/company to do this – to design first for Mobile. (Thus, I have to be one of the many to use Starbucks as a great example of leading the way).
Makes perfect sense for them since many of their coffee drinker users are younger folks accessing info on their Android or iPhone.
Some tips for designing for Mobile:
- More people browse so don’t rely on ‘search’ as much
- Think about the various screen sizes that will be used
- Use larger font – even if iPads, etc. will eventual catch on
- Add some fat to your scroll bars so they can be found and used easier
- Consistency of icons (and if you have a website – make sure they UI, Information architecture, etc. are consistent across all platforms)
- Consider how ‘location’ can be used (for Starbucks this is a no-brainer)
- Highlight your multiple stories (OK, this might be like number #5)
- Don’t give up on browser/device discrimination – design for the different platforms/browsers people are using – yes, this will require some design/dev resources
- Think about how individuals can collaborate – (it’s surprising how many mobile apps don’t think about integrating some sort of sharing, collaboration tools, especially cause these are so important for Gen Y)
- Add some sort feedback mechanism so you can improve/enhance your product over time – again think of design and development as an evolutionary process
And as always, keep pulsing your users to see how you can improve your application or website.
Everyone is talking about Gen Y and their impact on the web, on mobile, etc. But I have to tell you that when you think about design, collaboration, etc., you might want to think about the ‘even” younger generation too. My 14-month old son can now take an iPhone app and slide images across the screen. (The problem is that he thinks everything works that way so he is trying to drag his fingers across cereal boxes, refrigerator doors, etc… , thinking that a new image will pop up.). And I just read today that 92% of 2 year olds have some sort of online ID.
So designing websites for mobile needs to become top of mind. If not for my son, then for me, an old guy, who has to squint to (try and) read what’s on his iPhone.
Scott K. Wilder is a Social Media Architect at WilderVoices, LLC. He recently worked at Edelman Digital, leading their technology practice in the Bay Area. Before that, he was the GM for Intuit`s Small Business Online Communities. Before joining Intuit, Scott was the VP of Marketing and Product Development at KBToys and eToys, the director of Internet services at Borders.com and Apple Computer, and has held senior management positions at American Express and Silicon Graphics. Scott worked on the following online communities: eWorld at Apple, Borders Cafe at Borders.com, KBToys Community at KBToys.com. Scott also is a board member of the Word of Mouth Association (WOMMA) and the Society of New Communications. He received graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University, New York University and Georgetown University. Scott also co-authored the book, Millennial Leaders.