Startup Grind
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Startup Grind

Mobile First? Not So Fast.

Flow and Context are more important than screen size

What is Flow?

  • Where is a user coming from when starting to perform a task?
  • Where will a user end up after completing a task?
  • What happens if a user is interrupted?
  • Are tasks likely to be sequential, or will they be performed in random order at various times throughout the day?
  • Do the tasks involve producing content (emails, documents, designs, photos), consuming content (reading blogs, looking at pictures), or interacting in a lightweight way (liking, commenting)? If the answer is “all of the above,” which one do you want to emphasize at which points in the experience?
  • How will a user want to get to your product? Will she click a link in an email? Respond to a notification? Type in a URL? Put your app on her phone or tablet home screen? By the way, if you expect the latter, you’d better have a damn good reason why your user will want to do that.
Amazon’s header during checkout is designed to stop you from wandering off.

What is Context?

  • Where will a user be when she uses this product? On a train? On her couch? In a car? On a factory floor?
  • What device will she be using? Will the device change at various points throughout the day or week? Is the device private (a phone), semi-private (a shared tablet), or public (a school lab or a terminal in a doctor’s exam room)?
  • Is she likely to be interrupted?
  • Is she likely to be moving?
  • Is she reliably connected to the internet? Are you sure about that? What if she isn’t?
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Laura Klein

Principal at Users Know & Author of UX for Lean Startups. I blog about UX, Research, Product Management, and Lean Startup.