Mobile Monday panel left to right: Wesley Yun (RIM), Jared Benson (Punchcut), Anne Sullivan (Microsoft/Tellme Networks), Chris Nesladek (Google), Sue Booker (Nokia) (taken with my iPhone 3GS)

I just came back from Mobile Monday Silicon Valley: Best Practices for Mobile Design at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. This was a panel discussion with representatives from Google, Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, and Punchcut. There were quite a few little nuggets of wisdom which I tried to write down in bullet form:

Sue Booker, UED (Nokia)

  • 1 trillion revenue worldwide from disabled users. 60m disabled users in the US.
  • assume the user is multitasking
  • apps will be used in totally unexpected ways
  • not just physical disabilities.. also people in different situations or environmental limitations (no voice, no audio, limited bandwidth, etc)
  • introduce new complicated functionality gradually. It’s easy to tell if it’s a new user or a repeat user, so slowly give repeat users more info.
  • final takeaway: think of all types of users

Chris Nesladek, Commerce UI Lead (Google)

    1. keep it simple
    1. content is king
    1. make it fun
    1. make it fast
    1. do one thing as an experiment
  • new UI challenge in the future: flexible screens?
  • discoverability of new features… for an Android feature: link to video demo on vimeo
  • final takeaway: designers, make friends with developers, because that’s how the best products get made

Anne Sullivan, UI Designer (Microsoft/Tellme Networks)

  • her focus: designing for speech on mobile
  • problem: discoverability of speech
  • understand the capabilities and limitations of speech
  • graceful degradation for speech: what happens when a voice command isn’t recognized?
  • be transparent about what happens about processing in the background. For instance, geolocation. Allow the user to change or override this info.
  • paper prototypes are very helpful
  • discoverability of voice command activation is hard.. have to test on device itself (i.e. to find the right button placement, etc.)
  • final takeaway: forget powerpoint! do presentations on the phone itself

Jared Benson, Design (Punchcut)

  • iterate quickly
  • no substitute for device itself
  • final takeaway: involve designers from the beginning

Wesley Yun, UX (RIM)

  • don’t make assumptions about touch interfaces (common gestures). The touchscreen is still pretty new, so not everyone is used to this yet
  • don’t be too clever for your users. Think of users first, and do what makes sense.
  • prototype and fail quickly. If you’re not failing, you’re not innovating
  • make sure unusual new interaction isn’t a core functionality (for instance, four-fingered scroll)
  • if you make something redundant, you’ve failed as a designer
  • final takeaway: make it obvious to users