Lessons from Early Stages Design of Mobile Applications

Discussion

Background

This publication discusses the difficulties of interface and product design, and provides several methods through which designers collect data regarding ease of use.

The Good

This paper was incredibly thorough. It outlined several methods of testing both digital interface design, along with physical design. I appreciated their clever use of wooden phone prototypes with interchangeable "cards" depicting interface scenarios. This method offers a much more economical method of testing stage one interfaces, without having to pay a programmer to design an interface that may or may not pass initial testing.

Their experiments highlight common problems encountered by companies attempting to develop mobile devices and software, and I find it to be a very useful source of guidance when developing applications. Though not all applications require such scrutiny, the more something is user-tested, [often times] the more success it will have.

The Bad

The downside to user-testing is that, obviously, it's very dependent on the user. It's unfair to treat two users who are both in their 20s as "collective" data. One user may be very technologically savvy, while the other has little to no interest. This can lead to inaccurate data, and thus inefficient interface design. They should have performed some further experimentation with outside, uninvolved participants to widen their dataset.

Rating

This was a fantastic article outlining the necessary steps required for application design. Too often it's overlooked and then developers wonder why their device or piece of software failed. An interface can never cater to every single demographic, but with proper research, the boundaries can be lessened.