TrustArc Blog

Design considerations for your mobile application and website

July 28, 2010

Part 3 in an ongoing series on the mobile platform & privacy

By Janet Jaiswal
Director of Enterprise BU


Screenshot of Facebook’s iPhone app

There is very little doubt in anyone’s mind that the iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has forced the hands of everyone – from handset manufacturers and carriers to application developers – to be more creative and innovative in order to stay in the game. Another advantage Apple has is that it requires its developers to follow its human interface guidelines. These guidelines help mobile apps conform to good design principles. These design principles are so popular that more and more mobile apps and mobile web developers are following these guidelines regardless of whether they are on the Apple store, which contributes to the continuing appeal of the mobile device.

Tasks performed on mobile devices tend to be tactical in nature. Your users have a very specific need and they want to accomplish their goal in the easiest and fastest way possible. Best user interface design principles include:

  • Compact screen size requires a minimal feature set optimized for common use cases
  • Fonts and font sizes are used to show hierarchy and importance
  • The ability to only see one screen at a time means features must be progressively displayed
  • Large buttons are used to make interactions actionable
  • The commonality of the mobile form factor means users expect adherence to mobile design conventions – interactions should be conventional and consistent
  • Limited content real estate means help text creates unnecessary clutter – the interface should be simple and intuitive so that the user needs little instruction

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Mobile Web Initiative has created mobile web best practices to help companies follow best practices for delivering web content to mobile devices. These guidelines are just a start. You need to do more if you want your mobile app and/or website to continue to attract engaged users.

What can a company do when a user is presented with dozens, if not hundreds of similar, competing mobile applications? How can a company help a mobile app user feel comfortable sharing their location information with the app? How can you help users trust mobile forms that require them to share information such as their name, password, email or physical address? How can you help users trust mobile platforms linked to their financial accounts?

A study by TNS Global Market Research of more than 1,000 users in December 2009 revealed that more than 75% of users look for the presence of a privacy policy when giving personal information on a website. By following good mobile privacy policy design principles, you help your users feel more comfortable sharing their information on your mobile website or application. Read more “Design considerations for your mobile application and website”