Friday, September 16, 2016

Taking an Array Approach to the Design of Mobile Tools

Supporting the multiplicity of goals that a user may want to accomplish with an interactive tool is such a different problem to address than creating a page that whose end goal is to create product or brand awareness - whose point is to support and argument and take a user to a single conclusion (buy this product). I saw this recently as I sat and listened to agency trained UX designers critique the interfaces for mobile tools. 

Something was wrong about their comments. Here's what I figured out.

Gestural interfaces for digital tools require the design of an array. When traditional print designer or agency trained UX designers try to arrange CTAs and text either from the top down or from left to right these tools break.

What has to be understood is that the person using these tools may have both hands on them and, depending on the target of the tool (e.g. a camera's region of interest or a music player), CTAs are best arranged around this target based on eyelines and physical placement of the hands rather than the principals that govern print design or digital marcom layout.

Design for mobile tools is probably more like laying out a cockpit for the SR 71 (below) than laying out a page in a magazine. The elements aren't laid out in lines. They are gathered and then as groups associated with other groups in ways that serve the highest number of scenarios. And they all defer to the physical requirements of the pilot and that pilot's main focus, what is dead ahead.

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