Suggestions to Heed if you Want to Make Sure Your Mobile App or Content is Easy to Use
This post is geared primarily towards ed tech developers and technologists, as opposed to our typical articles (which are written with educators across K-12+, and many of those who support, them in mind). Of course, as the number of tools that can be used to create digital apps and interfaces without extensive programming knowledge continues to proliferate, these suggestions will be relevant to an ever-expanding audience. – KW
One of the biggest trends in modern online education is mobile learning. More people than ever before are taking advantage of educational opportunities presented to them through their mobile devices, as mobile technologies continue to play a bigger role in our daily lives. Creating a successful mobile design for an educational application is not always easy, as there are many critical factors that go into the success or failure of such a design. Below are four great tips to keep in mind when creating responsive designs for mobile education.
1. Poor, Confusing Navigation (Hint: Keep it Simple)
One of the most common things that confuses mobile users and causes them to close an application is poor navigation, which is why creating a highly intuitive and easy to use navigation for your mobile platform should be a major focus as you delve into the development process. The navigation you create should flow well, from the first page that users view to the last. Anything that your users may want to locate within your mobile platform should be easy to find within only one or two simple actions. Generally, the more simple your mobile design is, the better.
2. Hefty, Slow-to-Load Content
The time that it takes for your mobile design to load is something you should be paying close attention to. If you look at good mobile examples and gamification examples, you’ll quickly see that this is true. Your design should load quickly for users, regardless of the quality of their mobile data service or Internet network. Slow loading times are another leading cause of users leaving a mobile application and opting for another. Compressing the size of your content is the best way to keep your mobile resources loading as quickly as possible. Take some time to look into compression options that will achieve the optimum results when paired with your particular types of content and your chosen mobile platform.
3. Too Many Images (Hint: More Text, Fewer Images)
While it can be tempting to add lots of logos and images to the navigational properties of your mobile design, it is often not a good idea to do so. Images used on mobile platforms have been shown to reduce the ease with which users can navigate them, not a great way to connect with your user. By having a clean, mostly text-centered design, you will ensure that users on all mobile platforms will have a fast and stress-free experience while using your materials. This does not mean that you can't customize your design with your logo and brand; it simply means that you should do it in a way that does not impact the ease-of-use of your design.
4. Test, What Test? (TEST Your Design Thoroughly!)
Once a mockup of your mobile learning design is completed, the design should be thoroughly tested across a variety of different mobile devices. Your design should work well on all cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and more. This is where placing a lot of importance on the responsiveness of your design will come into play, as a responsive design will adjust automatically to the operating software and screen size of the device it is being viewed on.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can improve the effectiveness of your mobile education designs. As long as your mobile platform is highly responsive, easy to navigate, fast-loading and fully optimized for use across all major devices, you will see great results with your mobile education efforts. By focusing on these simple design principles, you will give your mobile platform the ability to stand out in the crowded mobile learning space and attract many more users as time goes on.