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Deconstructing the Newsreaders – Usability examination of 4 iphone news applications

  • Dec 1st, 2009

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Mobile Media

mainMedia companies are now focusing heavily on mobile content distribution and looking for new revenue models on mobile devices. Understanding the unique opportunities and constraints of this medium isn’t exactly intuitive. The device landscape and trends seem to change bimonthly  and there isn’t a ‘no-brainer’ template for companies to adopt and invest in. Everyone just has to jump in the water and start swimming or be left behind. New business models, design patterns and user interactions are all still being sorted out in this evolutionary process.

What makes mobile application usability different from the traditional website equivalent? In short: small screen, limited input devices, and infinite variability of social and environmental contexts encountered by mobile users. You can’t regurgitate your website onto a small screen and call it a day, you have to give some thought to the wants and needs of a user are as they pull their mobile device out of their pocket and open your app to interact with your brand. You have to evaluate what makes your brand special in the mobile context and play to those strengths with a polished and easy-to-use application. “Usability” has lately catapulted into a long-deserved limelight role in product creation. The promotion of usability has created a new vocabulary for customers to differentiate “good” software and it can no longer be a secondary consideration.

So what attributes make a news media company’s application truly excellent and usable?

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Usability considerations for mobile devices

  • Nov 2nd, 2009

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IMG_0482This was a paper for Randolph Bias’ usability class at University of Texas School of information.
It’s a very light look at mobile usability considerations in mobile contexts.

Recently, revolutionary devices such as Apple’s iPhone and the Palm Pre have illustrated how important usability is in creating distinction in an otherwise commoditized marketplace of mobile devices. Studies have shown that in terms of barriers to users’ acceptance of mobile computing applications, usability is second only to security (Casper & Gonsalves, 2005). The emerging consideration of mobile usability is a topic deserving focused attention.

Mobile usability diverges from other usability interaction research in a couple of important areas. In this whitepaper I will address the interactive limitations of small-form factor devices as well as the challenges posed in creating viable research methods for devices used in many different environmental and social contexts. Read the rest of this entry »

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