Last month I was delighted to present my thoughts on Mobile User Experience (UX) and how it is the key to user adoption, retention and growth at Mobile Scotland 2016.

Esther Talk

Yet again it was a fantastic conference put on by the formidable Scot-Tech Engagement with a great programme and a room full of fascinating conversations. We had a truly great day and thank you to everyone who came to hear my views on Mobile UX and my personal addiction to my mobile phone.

The key to mobile success

The true key to success in mobile is delivering a great user experience. It’s about going beyond the functional and engaging on an emotional level. It is about purposefully designing each element and point that people are influenced on both a conscious and sub-conscious level. You have to focus on making sure that people can complete the simplest, most common tasks as quickly as possible by taking away all the noise.

Woman With Headphones Listening To Music While Commuting To Work Using Public Transportation. Latin American Woman Sitting In A Bus And Using Mobile Phone.

Over the last 10 years we have been privileged to be able to explore and exploit the opportunities that Mobile technology has to offer to improve the customer experience for our Clients. I’ve worked on a wide range of projects from travel apps to healthcare apps to mobile web experiences and being personally addicted to mobile technology means that I have a keen interest in not just how well things work on the move but how they make me feel.

Too many apps

I have 137 apps on my phone, 24 of which I use daily, 18 every week and 37 that I realised I have never used or will never use again! I use between 10-15GB of data per month, and that is only because I track it and desperately try to cap it.

I check my phone before I get out of bed: First my alarm, then check my sleep pattern app, switch on my iPlayer radio, then my email, then Facebook, Twitter and any other social media that has an alert, and then start to read The Guardian. That is 6 – 13 app interactions before my feet hit the floor all of which are to either to:

And I am not alone in this behaviour. In fact, 10% of all Smartphone users will reach for their device within 5 minutes of waking and not just to turn off an alarm. That goes up to 50% of 18-24 year olds. On average we spend 2 hours a day on our phones and not always at appropriate moments.

So how do you get, keep and grow the attention of a nutter like me?  Well I have three golden rules about Mobile.

The Three Golden Rules of Mobile UX

Golden rules of mobile

#1 Keep it simple

When I am half asleep or on the move, I don’t have time to absorb all the adverts and links and additional information that is littered throughout desktop websites. All I want is simple, straight forward information that allows me to feel an emotion or complete a task. No more, no less.

#2 Be personal – not creepy

I want a personal relationship with my 137 apps. For example, when I shop on my mobile, I want the app to know who I am, remember what I like, what I’ve ordered before, my details. I don’t want to have to input the same information over and over. I also want to get alerts that there is a discount on delivery per say through a notification. I like that LinkedIn suggests that I connect with people whose names are in my calendar. I want things to interact and make my life easier.

#3 Know when to stop.

It’s essentially the same rule as “#1: Keep it simple”. But it is so important it is worth mentioning twice. Delivering a great experience that allows people to functionally do what they want but emotionally feel good means not distracting their focus from key tasks.

Why this so important? Why do you need to ensure to strip it back?

Context of Use

We use mobile when we need to have a quick fix of information, gaming or communication. When we’re not in a position, in time or space, to use a laptop or desktop. When we’re in bed, at a bar, on the bus, a train or even now on the tube. Mobile technology allows us to connect in places that we have never been able to before. We can use down time for entertainment, catching up on emails and enriching our lives. Mobile technology is changing human behaviour, allowing us to do more as and when we want and fast. Mobile is not just about the devices. It has changed our mindset.

They’ve become remote controls for our lives. My phone tells me where I need to be and when, how to get there. It lets me know about things happening around me, it can help me meet up with old friends or make new ones. My mobile can even control my TV better than my remote!

It is the simplest way that I can control and conduct my life wherever I am in the world. When it works well it gives me the simple data that I need to make decisions and feel good about them.


Delivering a great mobile UX

Innovation Disruption Improvement
So how do you cut through the clutter on my phone? How can you truly deliver a great mobile experience that keeps delivering over time?


You need to provide something new or a new way of doing something old to make it useful to me. To innovate you need to solve a problem I have by either providing something new or a new way of doing things. This is the only way to quickly grab my attention and keep it – give me something new or in a better way than the old way.


You need to disrupt either another business or one of your own delivery channels to keep my attention. Try to think differently about how you can service me and disrupt your competitors, or  your own customer journey. Disruptors look to the tech available and how to exploit it. If you don’t disrupt the current way of doing things someone else will.


You need to continuously improve what you provide and how you provide it in order to retain me. The only way to ensure continuous success and engagement is to evolve with the technology and customer needs. You need to measure how people interact with you on mobile devices and then discover why they do what they do, where they do it and when. Then, you can identify what matters most to them. By learning what people like me want, and how I want it, and being able to nimbly adapt to their needs you will engender true brand loyalty and trust and be able to retain attention over time.

Want to know more about Mobile UX?

Take a look at the full slides from the day on SlideShare:

Mobile UX- Mobile Scotland 2016 from BorderCrossingMedia

Need to discuss your brand’s Mobile UX, call 0131 467 9227 or drop me an email.

Esther Stringer

Esther is our Managing Director and Research lead at Border Crossing UX.