Mobile Experience is About Revelation

by Kevin Makice

Rachel Hinman, a research scientist at Nokia, recently explained the distinctions between user experiences on PC and mobile platforms:

The natural user interfaces (aka NUIs) found on most modern mobile devices are built on the psychological function of intuition. Instead of recognizing an action from a list, users must be able to sense from the presentation of the interface what is possible. Instead of “what you see is what you get” NUIs are about “what you do is what you get.” Users see their way through GUI experiences, and sense their way through NUI ones. Unlike GUI interfaces with minimal differentiation between interface elements, NUI interfaces typically have fewer options and there is more visual differentiation and hierarchy between the interface elements.

She says one big mistake that designers and developers make when making the switch to mobile is to treat the mobile intergace like a “shrinky dink” version of the PC interface. Hinman offers a few of the common design patterns for mobile:

  • The Nested Doll Pattern—funneling users to detailed content
  • Hub and Spoke Pattern—a strong central anchor point from which users can navigate.
  • Bento Box Pattern—carves up the surface area of a mobile device’s screen into small compartments, each portion contributing to the overall experience.
  • The Filtered View Pattern—allows users navigate the same data set using different views.

I don’t know if Kuali Student has anticipated mobile interactions, particularly from the student stakeholder group, but this article is helpful to keep in mind when designing that experience.

Rosefeld Media (July 27, 2011 by Rachel Hinman)

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