Reading through a series of blogs which I have not ‘got to’ in a number of months, there at last seems to be an acknowledgement that a mobile or tablet experience has a great emotional attachment for a user, than a PC/browser experience.
People (over 80% in most developed countries) now use a mobile device first to access content, services and utilities, and it is these devices that they have an emotive relationship to due to it’s tactility and also the amount of personal information they ‘surrender’ to it. Where they live, who they talk to most, access to their ‘social’ online persona and information stream etc.
The experience of products therefore need to reflect this emotive tie and also ensure that the user feels that the business they are allowing into this domain will treat them (and their data) with respect and also allow them to have control. The user stories behind DropBox back up for mobile, MobileMe (as was, now iCloud) and also the services offered by mobile operators to smooth the ‘new phone transfer’ experience all highlight this need.
I know that this is not new thinking (we were working on this at The Economist in 2000) but good to see that it is become a rule for product experiences, not a nice to have or after thought. Long may that continue and truly mobile first.
How attached are you to the tech in your pocket?
UPDATE: The same can be said in relation to the tablet vs book discussion. A book has emotional attachment due to it’s tactility, convenience, weight, size (creating a “pinch” force as Dan puts it, I like that) and physicality, which it seems for users is still not there with a tablet. A great discussion article on this by @ddt (Dan Turner) outlines that, yes, when we change the nature of something that you have performed in a certain way for years (reading a book), then our behaviour and interaction changes when the medium changes (you have ‘switch’ between reading and, well, lots of things on an iPad and Kindle), which takes the user away from their primary task/goal.
The emotional attachment to a book is very strong (I sit here looking at a pile of about 35 ‘to be read’ books compiled by my wife), and as Dan states; “Some of us will continue to find unique user experience value in our dead-tree friends until you pry them from our cold, dead hands.”, which just goes to show how strong that emotional attachment is.