Mobile Usabilty – a view from Jakob Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen has just released a new take on mobile usability based on testing he’s conducted and the results are interesting.

The good news, for me, is that what he recommends is very much in line with what we do on the BBC Mobile site – publish different versions appropriate for different devices.  It’s not great, of course, that he feels mobile usability isn’t moving fast enough – but it’s always good to have a challenge, right?

I think the most interesting point he makes is his final one:

“…not all sites need mobile versions.”

This is a point I’ve made when talking to people who create desktop (or ‘full fat’ as I like to call them) sites.  Trying to offer the full functionality and content of every site simply doesn’t work – even if you have an iPhone.  He sites that users only use their phones for a narrow range of activities and therefore these are the sites/activities for which mobile sites are most needed.  I’d love to know what activities he found people were using them for in the testing.  I’d hazard a guess they’re around: communication (social networking and web mail), news/sport/weather information and some basic transactional stuff.  If anyone knows, let me know.

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