UX Matters: Designing For The Mobile Web
In his Alertbox post on "Mobile Usability," Jakob Nielsen points out a number of constraints affecting Web site use on mobile devices: small screens, awkward input, delayed downloads, and poorly designed mobile Web sites. In comparing the design of mobile Web sites with the design of Web sites for computers, I realized that complex context is another important factor that differentiates the two platforms. For Nielsen's report, controlled usability testing in a lab was one of the primary methods for studying mobile usability, so it's understandable that his report didn't consider context.
In addition to the four problems Nielsen wrote about, I'll cover design for complex contexts of use in my discussion of constraints on mobile Web sites. In practice, being aware of these constraints lets us approach these problems with caution and come up with better design solutions for mobile devices. Based on my analysis of more than 20 mobile Web sites, I'll point out some ways of working within these constraints.
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