[Myth] Mobile User Attention Deficit Disorder


A side-effect of characterising ‘the mobile context’ is the assumption that someone using a mobile device is in a hurry, not paying full attention, and prone to distraction. There’s an assumption that the mobile device user suffers from a kind of Attention Deficit Disorder.

While that is true in some contexts, it is not true in all contexts. It will also become increasingly less true as we are able to do more useful things in small gaps of time, as more useful applications are developed for mobile devices, and as mobile devices become integrated into our ecology of devices and data.

If you produce a mobile application that requires attention, then users will take their mobile devices to a context that enables attention. We use mobile devices on the couch, in bed, in a park, and in the office, too; these can all be contexts that enable attention.

Mobile users will find contexts where they can pay attention, if it matters to them.

One clue about attention Josh Clark notes is if interaction requires two hands. Once people are using two hands, you’ve certainly got a lot of their attention.

To assume that users always suffer from ‘Mobile User ADD’ would be to miss out on key mobile design opportunities.

Source: Neo Insight