Google May Add Mobile User Experience To Its Ranking Algorithm


Google sees what users see, and if that is a bad mobile experience, it may impact your rankings

At Search Marketing Expo East, Google engineer Gary Illyes talked a lot about user experience and how webmasters really need to focus on that. Over the past week or so, I asked Google about this and tried to understand why Google stressed this point so much at the event. Google told us in a statement:

“We’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle,”

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[Myth] Mobile Devices Are Constrained Desktop Computers


There’s a feeling we get sometimes that designers consider smartphones to be nothing more than small desktop computers, and so constrained that they are not very interesting to design for.

But mobile devices have many capabilities that desktop computers do not have. These capabilities enable new kinds of behaviour, and allow for new variants of users’ tasks to be supported, for example location-specific variants. Some of the capabilities of smartphones include:

  • Location detection
  • Multi-touch sensors
  • Device positioning & motion: accelerometers
  • Orientation: direction from a digital compass
  • Gyroscope: 360 Degrees of motion
  • Audio: input from microphone; output to speaker/headset
  • Video & image: capture/input from a camera
  • Dual cameras: front and back
  • Device connections: through Bluetooth between devices
  • Proximity: device closeness to physical objects
  • Ambient Light: light/dark environment awareness
  • NFC: Near Field Communications (RFID etc)

Mobile devices have unique capabilities and characteristics that enable new user behaviour and allow for innovation and differentiation.

In addition, there are more subtle qualities of mobile devices that change the nature of users’ behaviour. For example, smartphones tend to be shared less with other members of the family than do desktop computers, laptops and tablets. Also, mobile devices allow for privacy of location. In other words, with a mobile device, a user can go to places where they are not likely to be seen or interrupted by co-workers, by family, by friends, or by others.

Source: Neo Insight

[Myth] The Mobile Killer App Is ‘Killing Time’


The first significant mobile devices grew out of portable music and have evolved rapidly ever since, eventually converging with phones and computers in the smartphones we see today.

Just because people can consume media on smartphones does not mean that it is a key task. People expect media consumption to drive new technologies. It has been a key driver of technologies from portable cassette players and the Sony Walkman in 1979, through portable CD players, then MP3 players, then portable video players. After all, that’s where the big media companies make their money. More recently, these media capabilities merged with mobile phones and – even more recently, general-purpose computing capability.

A number of things have led to the myth that the ‘killer app’ for mobile is ‘killing time’. Media consumption is easy to observe. The smartphone application market is still immature, and is still dominated by media consumption applications and functionality. The myths about a single mobile context and about mobile users’ short attention spans have probably also contributed to this myth.

‘Killing time’ is at best a temporary ‘killer app’ for mobile, but is probably already a myth.

At best, the domination of small time-intervals by media consumption behaviour is a temporary phase, while our behaviour and expectations go through changes, supported by changes in technology. Eventually, mobile devices will be integrated into our ecology of devices, at work, at play, and everything in-between. We will discover that desktop applications are big, clunky monoliths, and that what we want to do can quite successfully be spread out over time, over places and over devices.

For example, we might dictate notes on a mobile device, arrange the structure of a presentation on a tablet, and format the final document on a desktop computer. And not sequentially, but intermingled.

As mobile devices become more and more integrated and more and more useful, ‘killing time’ will no longer be the mobile ‘killer app’.

Source: Neo Insight

[Myth] Mobile users are distracted


Myth #33: Mobile users are distracted

When thinking of mobile users, many have a stereotypical image of people on the go, people with the attention span of a goat and suffering from Mobile User Attention Deficit Disorder.

But are mobile users distracted? Of course they are. But we are just as much distracted when sitting in front of our computers, watching TV or driving a car. Distractions are everywhere, it’s not a mobile-only phenomenon. Continue reading

[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