{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

One of the first lessons in usability is that people vary and that designing for ‘average’ doesn’t work.  Nowhere is this more true than in the highly competitive world of mobile phone design.

Actually I don’t want a new mobile because I have an iPhone and I love it.  Of course, it’s not perfect but once again Apple has demonstrated that it understands the importance of the ‘user experience’.  Even its cardboard box is beautiful.

However, many people will want a new phone, even if they have a perfectly good one already.  The idea that anyone would keep using the same mobile phone till it wore out seems rather quaint.

One reason for the frequent upgrades is that as we do more and more on our phones, the more frustrated we become with fiddly buttons, obscure menu items and tortuous navigation. 

We are seduced by the promise of the next upgrade solving all our problems.  And indeed, it might solve a few, but, of course, it will also bring in some new ones.  Some manufacturers seem to make the same mistakes again and again, but the more creative ones manage to surprise us with completely new usability bloopers.

As usual, the answer is to follow an ergonomics/human-centred design approach:

  1. Know who is going to use the product to do what, where.
     
  2. Build the best you can with existing knowledge and then.
     
  3. Test it with real users till you (and they) can live with the results.

The vital first step in human-centred design is to be absolutely clear about the target user, and this brings me back to the point, new mobile phones.  When System Concepts recently worked on the Cocoon music phone for O2, I acted as one of our pilot users to ensure our test facilities were properly configured (they were).

One of the issues we tested concerned what happens when you are listening to your music and the phone rings.  I thought the answer was obvious.  The music stops immediately and you answer the call – it might be a client. 

I don’t remember what was decided in the end, but I do know that some of the target users (young music lovers) did not want the music to stop.  Their friends would text so a call was probably from their parents!

One of the first lessons in usability is that people vary and that designing for ‘average’ doesn’t work.  Nowhere is this more true than in the highly competitive world of mobile phone design.

Have a great Christmas, and if you do get a new phone – enjoy!

Tom Stewart is MD of System Concepts

Tom Stewart

Published 11 December, 2008 by Tom Stewart

Tom Stewart is Executive Chairman at System Concepts, and a guest blogger at Econsultancy. System Concepts can be followed on Twitter here, and Tom is also on Google+.

35 more posts from this author

Comments (0)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.