Monday, 24 February 2014

Listen to the grapevine – what your clients/consumers don't want!

With the rapid expansion of the mobile device market, your consumer needs have changed. Many people use their mobile devices to do some research about products and services online. Then they might follow up with more targeted research on their computers ... or not.

Decisions on the go characterise today's society, for better or worse. But that's the reality. Although iMedia people recognise that the screen size of smart phones and tablets define different needs of functionality and use, they are not always appreciating that their increasing use may cause a rethink of web use – a back-wash effect. Now if you're not aware of this, your clients may not be either. Are you complacent in your redesigns for them? Do you need to think about the interconnection of types of use between devices? Do they need to be aware and receptive to possible emerging changes?

Often it is good to take a step back and evaluate what is happening. It's easy to become too bound up with the moment by moment push within your projects. A very good way to take stock is to listen to the gripes. They'll make you rethink to avoid listening first-hand to them. So, what's on the grapevine at the moment?

Designing across devices to allow resizing of content for screen size and orientation (Responsive Web Design (RWD)) is current but brings its own problems particularly with testing, as Steve Jenkins in The Three Pillars of Responsive Design (7.2.14), notes.

Are you guilty of secret number two as defined by Rhys Little in Four Secrets to Modern Web Design that Agencies Won’t Tell You (27.1.14). Do you push your own specialism because that gives you work? He notes that an agency needs to be thinking strategically, but where's the awareness we're advocating about use across devices? He makes good points for web design that may well may be valid. How do they stand when the digital mix is involved?

But, the strongest set of don'ts for design we came across are heartfelt and ring true. Owen Radford in, The Top 7 Mobile Sins (5.2.14), makes you think long and hard about the effect of some design features on mobile devices. He lists seven sins; getting the size wrong, irrelevant landing page, unclearable pop-ups, re-direct hell, prompt for your app, going direct to the app store, and 'I forgot how to scroll/I want to constantly reload some small element of the page'.

Criticisms can help design get better if you take them in the spirit they are offered. Do you compile a list of criticisms of your projects in your company to focus the design teams on improving? Maybe that’s a good place to start.