Mobile Has Unbottled the UX Genie

I think it was the editor of Wired magazine who said something like “Designing for the iPad is liberating, because users have no pre-conceived expectations for the user experience”.  He hit the nail on the head, because right now many of the most exciting user experience innovations are occurring on mobile.  I wanted to share a few:

1) Do@ is an iPhone app which does search better by replacing text search results with apps* pre-filled with result sets, and a WebOS-style flick left or right between the apps.  By “outsourcing” the results display to 3rd-party apps, Do@ leaves plenty of room for innovation, without losing value as an aggregator of all apps appropriate for each category (e.g. @movies,  @news, @music).

2) Siri has the theory & user experience right for voice search.  In my testing, the app isn’t ready for prime time because it makes too many mistakes.  But with Apple’s purchase, we’ll likely see pieces of the technology built right into future releases of iOS.

3) Windows Phone 7 Mango has added Google-Goggles-style “Bing Vision” search built right into the OS.  Also, they’re building closer integration between Bing search results and results within apps like IMDB.

4) WebOS Just Type extends search with Quick Actions, once again proving that innovation can still help reduce the number of steps required to perform common tasks

You’ll notice a trend here: I’m showing examples of innovations for search.  As you may have noticed in my blog, I’m passionate about the synergy offered by combining mobile innovations and search innovations.  Since our focus at Avalon Consulting, LLC. is content, specifically leveraging your content to improve your users’ experiences, our mobile focus is naturally around delivering your content to more people more often using the most effective mobile user experiences.  I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of how the combination of mobile devices and search technologies will make valuable content more accessible.

* term used loosely here since they’re HTML5 and not independently installed on the device

Sam Mefford About Sam Mefford

Sam contends that the next information revolution will be built on Search--not web search, Enterprise Search. His current role as Enterprise Search Architect and Practice Lead for the Enterprise Search team at Avalon Consulting, LLC not only puts Sam in contact with the engineers, product managers, and CEOs driving innovation at leading Enterprise Search vendors, but at the other end of the spectrum also allows Sam to meet and spend time face-to-face with end users of Enterprise Search to understand their requirements and educate them on what is possible with modern Search technology. His background as a hard-core developer and his passion for great user experiences put him in a unique position to cut through the hype and promote the technologies really making a difference for end users, such as Guided Navigation, Entity Extraction, Spotlighting, Virtual Documents, etc.

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