When mobile happens

With the growth of today’s mobile device users that browse the internet, it becomes more and more necessary to think about them when we are developing our websites. We can not be so negligent as to say “No, my site won’t be visited from a mobile”. Let’s think, for example, about the website of a national bank here in Mexico. The bank that currently holds my account, actually. And I explained this during the talk I gave at UdeM three weeks ago:

When you were going to log in to check your account status, the website didn’t let you type your password directly with your computer’s keyboard. This was said to be intended with security purposes. Nonetheless, this was a little annoying, since you had to type in your password from a virtual keyboard that appeared in your screen. But in a computer, it’s something a little annoying you can easily get used to.

On mobile, though, it was a different story. And you can say, hey! I know that bank! They have a mobile app you can download, why not use that? Well, that app is just good for PHONES. I wanted to check my account from my iPod! My iPod isn’t a phone, so I couldn’t use that app. Instead, I had to log in with the normal website, and the virtual keyboard would appear. Only it was REALLY ANNOYING to use from my iPod, since all I could see was the textbox, like how the image bellow shows:

I couldn’t see the virtual keyboard. I had to scroll over to it, click on a number, and then it would scroll back to show me it had appeared on the textbox. And my password had EIGHT DIGITS! So I had to do this eight times and by the time I was done, I didn’t actually remember what I wanted to look for.

They changed this, though, thankfully. I want to think that it had something to do with me telling a friend of mine that works there, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was because of me, I’m just glad they did. But this is a very good example of what happens when you don’t consider mobile users.

Luke Wroblewski has a lot of good tips to give us on the subject, and he was very insightful on this during the Web App Masters Tour this year. I suggest you check out his articles, he has a lot of good information, including a guide on touch gestures for mobile developers.

We’re in the mobile era, so we might as well go with the flow. Having said this, I leave you some resources for your future projects:

Mobile Emulators

MockUps And UI Design Kits
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