This will actually be like the third time I’ve gone over mobile user experience like this, and pointed out mistakes to avoid. The problem is that right now, with this science being so young, it’s hard to make suggestions on how to solve them, but only to cite mistakes and ask that they be solved.
Because I actually needed to approach this mobile user experience concept from a couple different angles despite the topic being the same each time. Different professions tied into UX needed to be related to a little differently, and now we come to the true designer one.
What I’m going to do here is give five very brief trends in mobile design that are really annoying, and need to be both avoided and replaced with better solutions. But, I will not presume to say what those solutions may be, for now. New science, again.
#1 – Resolution
I’ve said this all three times now, it’s that annoying. When you scale up resolution on a PC, controls are capable of more definition, but they naturally shrink in ratio. On a PC, to some level, this is acceptable. But, PCs aren’t small screens with awkward touch interfaces … mobile and tablet devices are.
These devices only fairly recently became capable of high resolutions, but when it happened, controls went and shrunk. With this came difficulty pressing and scrolling through things because hands are big, and controls are tiny.
#2 – Ad Abuse
It’s ok to be ad-supported. It makes for a lot of legitimately free software, and without that expansive library of software, mobile would be very dead compared to how it really is.
Stop forcing permanent ads on the screen during run time. I know why you do it, but on such a limited piece of real estate (even with higher resolutions), it wastes the hell out of space and confuses the user. Stick to one ad on launch and one on closing.
#3 – Heavy Handed Forms
It’s not fun to type on touch keyboards. It’s less fun to select text or move the type cursor about. Forms on so many mobile web frontends and mobile apps have PC-scale forms with repetitive confirmation, no entry memory and no auto clear.
Stop that, you.
#4 – Lack of Multitasking
Systems across the board for mobile allow multi tasking, even if it is a bit awkward and linear. It’s enough to make it work. Use it. Keep your program active and message-capable, and visible in the notification area. This is one carry over from PCs that works here, and is being ignored terminally.
#5 – Flick Scrolling Doesn’t Really Work
There are exceptions to this, such as sideways scrolling for 3D carousel galleries or the like, and for video control. But, flick scrolling item lists or web pages or anything with lots of tap sensors within … becomes an irritation as shallow or misread flicks open things. It sure gives Android and iOS’ back buttons a lot of use.
So, those are the biggest irritations in general mobile user experience. There are some more specific irritations in specific operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Blackberry OS and Windows Phone/Windows 8. But, maybe we’ll go over each of those systems on their own down the line, and look at those too.