Usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s latest article covers his recent findings on mobile usability.  He and his team tested 105 users performing 390 different tasks and found the following success rates:

  • Full site: 58%
  • Mobile site: 64%
  • Mobile app: 76%

Here are some of his key takeaways and guidelines:

  • “The first, and maybe most important, guideline for improving the mobile user experience: design a separate mobile site. Don’t expect users to access the same site from both desktop and mobile browsers.”
  • “A second key guideline is to have clear, explicit links from the full site to the mobile site and from the mobile site to the full site.”
  • “While a mobile site is good, a mobile app is even better. […] Of course, it’s more expensive to build an app than a mobile site, because you have to code different versions for each platform. Thus, we can really recommend building mobile applications only if you’re either rich or offer a service that’s particularly suited to mobile use.”
  • “Users have become more aware of horizontal swiping than they were in our previous research” but Nielsen recommends including a visible cue when people can swipe and keeping the meaning of the swipe gesture consistent.
  • “To have a successful mobile site or app, the obvious guideline is to design for the small screen. Sadly, some don’t, and we still see users struggle to hit tiny areas that are much smaller than their fingers. The fat-finger syndrome will be with us for years to come.”
  • “When you have a smaller screen, you must limit the number of features to those that matter the most for the mobile use case.”

Read the full article here.