Multiplatform user experience challenges
Multiplatform user experience is of increasing significance to brands across the globe. With smartphone usage rising every year and tablet sales growth overtaking the PC, brands will have to get used to the idea that they are not in control of the user experience of their web presence. Users are interacting with the internet via an ever wider range of devices from a previously unimaginable array of situations and their expectations are higher than ever.
If you haven’t been thinking about multiplatform user experience here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your website is likely to be completely unusable on a smartphone if you haven’t chosen a responsive web design or a mobile optimised website
- Your customers are visiting your website using a smartphone and that is going to increase
- For an increasing number of your users their first experience of your website will be through a tablet PC or smartphone
Multiplatform and smartphones
Mobile devices like smartphones present particular issues for user experience because their screen size is so small. That may sound obvious but users don’t seem to care, particularly the generation that were “born digital” and use the device as a PC would have been used 20 years ago. Their expectations about the experience they expect when going online are high and they get very frustrated, and socially vocal, if they can’t do what they want to.
Currently there are four options with regard to smartphone:
- Create an app
- Develop a website using responsive web design
- Develop a mobile optimised website
- Do nothing
In each case, except perhaps for the last, it is important to understand how well it meets its mission from a user experience perspective. Apps often struggle to gain traction and find themselves deleted quite quickly if they don’t serve a daily purpose. Mobile optimised websites can be a good solution but require additional management and a fair bit of duplication.
Our preference is toward responsive web design but even here the experience is not guaranteed and user testing is really important. Whilst RWD means the website will adapt to the different screen sizes it doesn’t mean that the experience will be great. Here are three questions that relate to issues observed in testing that should be asked at an absolute minimum:
- How big is the header?
- What is the key content and what order should it be presented in?
- How much scrolling is there?
If you are not sure what to do about multiplatform usability testing and user experience get in touch and we can show you the pros and cons of the different approaches and how your current digital offer performs.