In 2010 there were more computers manufactured than mobile devices—but just barely. Starting in 2011, the number of smartphones and tablets began outpacing the number laptops and desktops being sold. While these devices are being purchased primarily by consumers rather than corporate IT departments, there’s a growing trend to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work. Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous—both at home and at work.
Search has long been the de facto method for interacting with information, and mobile devices are no different. Yet the temptation to replicate desktop-oriented user interface conventions on mobile devices is far from ideal. That’s why designing mobile search is an important topic.
(Data from Beyond the PC by The Economist, Oct 8th 2011.)
This week I’ve been in New York City talking about just that. On Tuesday afternoon I spoke at the Enterprise Search Summit, and then again at the NY Enterprise Search User Group meetup in the evening, kindly hosted by the friendly people at Shutterstock. The four areas I focused on were:
- Mobile searchers and what differentiates them from desktop users. In particular, the information needs of mobile users—a topic originally written as a blog post, but was recently included as a paper at the Search4Fun workshop collocated with the European Conference for Information Retrieval.
- Design principles for mobile search: content trumps controls, answers over results, contextual sensitivity, and cross-channel continuity (these have also appeared as a blog post).
- Practical design solutions for constructing mobile search user interfaces. From inputting the query, to displaying results, to refining the query.
- And lastly, the pros and cons for three different implementation strategies: native applications, web-based applications, and responsive websites.
The slide deck is available on Slideshare, and I’ll be giving the talk again at Enterprise Search Europe in London later this month.