“Regardless of the technologies used, the ultimate end users are people, who don’t evolve as rapidly as technology.” – states Karen Donoghue in her book, Built For Use. The Wacom Component study released last week reporting “85 per cent of consumers admit to being ‘too dumb’ to access or use mobile services due to increasing device complexity…” quickly spread through the mobile community, and posted at W2F as well. It should come as no surprise. The need to innovate and differentiate has quickly alienated even the most advanced users. Moving forward – successful deployment of mobile data services, applications and entertainment is contingent on meeting the needs of the end user, not the carrier or platform requirements.
But how do we bridge this gap between innovation and simplification?
What tools, techniques and methodologies can we employ in today’s mobile development world that will actually stick? The successful deployment and adoption of new mobile services and applications comes down to ease-of-use and seamless integration into consumer’s lifestyles. Creating an effective mobile experience means innovating towards simplicity and open standards. Nokia’s forum has a lot of information about usability and portability of the user experience. But I would like to know if independent developers and companies actually utilize customer research and usability testing into their development cycles.
Today’s research is uncovering a plethora of information surrounding usability testing combined with ethnography – a notion I’ve been experimenting with for some time. It has always seemed to me that using multiple methods of data collection will only yield in more comprehensive results. It seems especially in the mobile world, when replicating an exact scenario is nearly impossible we need to create a combination of ‘relevance and rigor’ (from a report called “Usability Take a Hike”) by implementing best practices in both contextual interviews and usability testing.