Notes on 'It's a Write/Read Mobile Web'


My meager, less-awesome-than-Luke attempt to take notes on Luke Wroblewski’s presentation as I assume it would be unreasonable to expect him to produce notes on his presentation as he does for other talks. Here are my notes on his presentation, “It’s a Write/Read Mobile Web” presented at Smashing Conference in 2013. For more notes from the conference, see Luke’s excellent collection.

  • Top five sites in terms of monthly use in the US are all write/read experiences—they don’t work unless people write content to them.
  • Tim Berners-Lee’s original view of the web—”a place where we can all meet and read & write.”
  • In the United States, 78% of Facebook monthly users are mobile. 60% mobile on Twitter, 40% mobile on YouTube.
  • “The Mobile Moment”—when your mobile traffic crosses your desktop traffic and becomes your majority experience.
  • 127% growth of mobile only Facebook users in the last year.
  • 40% of all tweets created on mobile in 2011. 3 hours of vide uploaded per second on Youtube mobile. $13 billion mobile commerce in 2012 on eBay.
  • Fastest growing activies in mobile apps are utilities—shopping, accomplishing, preparation.

One Handed Use

  • Polar specifically designed for one-handed use. Both consumption and creation process were tested by timing how quickly people could complete their tasks.
  • 75% of all interactions on a smartphone screen are with a single thumb/finger.
  • Design for the extremes and the middle works itself out. For example, shears are tested with people who have arthritis. If they can comfortably sheer, anyone can.
  • 68% of consumer smartphone use happens at home.
  • Don’t let the keyboard come up. How can you design your service without forcing people to use the keyboard. Examples: map ui for destinations, tappable date picker, smart defaults, offering popular suggestions, sliders for ranges.

Focused Flows

  • Focus on simplifying the core flow—allow users to complete core tasks as fast and simply as possible.
  • Getting creative is about distilling things down to their essence until you find the simpliest way to do them.
  • Reducing 23 inputs to 11 for Boingo Wireless signup increased conversions by 34% and 53% decrease in sign-up time.
  • Hotel Tonight—3 taps and a swipe to book a hotel. This is a competitive advantage.
  • It takes big changes to go small. You have to reinvision your product for a small screen, focused flow.
  • When you focus and try to be creative to focus core flows, you’re more likely to not go far enough than to be too extreme. The more uncomfortable you’re making people, the more likely you’re thinking along the right lines.

Just in Time Actions

  • Just in time education. We learn better in the moment than with upfront instructions/tests.
  • Bring actions in just as the matter. Example: hiding bottom tab bar while visitor is scrolling through an application.

  • In the US, 52% of laptop owners have smartphones. 13% have smartphones, tablets and phones.

  • 90% of people with multiple devices use them sequentially.

  • 81% of people use their smartphone while watching TV. 66% use laptop while watching TV.

  • The web is experienced by multiple screens—both simultaneously and sequentially.

Cross Device Usage

  • Access: the ability to use and view features across multiple devices and form factors. Example: browsers enabling tab syncing across devices.
  • Flow: not just content should move seamlessly between devices—processes should as well. Example: directions syncing between devices.
  • Control: allow devices to control the experience on other connected devices. Example: Polar lets you control the large screen experience on an XBox One from your phone.
  • Push: allow people to push experiences from one device to another. Example: eBay on large screens lets you/update add photos to your item from your mobile device using their application.
  • Newer speciality devices will force us to simplify and consider what each device does best. Not sustainable to assume all new devices will do all forms of input equally well. Example: Polar on Google Glass would be cumbersome as it requires multiple voice input.