Nearly everyone who talks about the differences between designing for desktop and mobile talks about how you have to keep in mind that your users are “on the go.”
How true is that? How often are people walking fast down the street looking for a crucial piece of information vs. sitting on the bus, at their office, or on their couch using their phones?
Using a combination of the accelerometer and GPS, we could define some metrics as to whether or not the person is stationary or moving. We might be able to tell if they are sitting (little accelerometer movement) but in a vehicle (GPS changes).
That’s information that goes far beyond the traditional page view or user session and into information that is mobile specific and very useful for user experience designers.
I realize there are both privacy and battery life concerns with tracking this information. It isn’t a simple problem to solve.
But if those obstacles could be overcome, understanding whether or not our visions of how people “on the go” use mobile technology matches how people really use their mobile devices, would be very interesting.
Image courtesy Flickr user rustmonster licensed under Creative Commons.
Slashdot today has an article asking the question, “Do Tiny URL Services Weaken Net Architecture?” The argument in the Slashdot article is pretty hilarious (Short version: TinyURL goes down and the Internet crashes). Instead of chicken-little scenarios, let’s talk about the one significant way that the growth in TinyURL-like services is changing marketing.
Shorten url services are all the rage these days. The key factors in their popularity are the increase in mobile devices, especially text messaging services, and emerging technology like Twitter and Pownce. When people use these systems, a premium is placed on short messages. Shortening a url to save characters becomes a necessity.
The impact of use of TinyURL-like services is that it becomes much more difficult to track the conversation surrounding your company or product. Savvy marketers today have multiple searches set up to scour the web looking for urls that point to their web sites. However, when people use TinyURL and other services, links to your web site are impossible to detect because the TinyURL is random.
This makes it more critical than every to watch incoming referring urls to find Twitter references and other places linking to your site. My testing shows that the referring url will show up correctly in web analytics despite the use of TinyURL.