The Mobile User Experience Manifesto for 2008


Every year PMN challenge the mobile telecoms business to respond to the MEX Manifesto, a 10 point blueprint for enhancing the mobile user experience. The Manifesto is a ‘wake up call’ for an industry which continues to prioritise technical specifications over usability. We welcome a public debate on these issues and will put the Manifesto and your feedback at the heart of the agenda for our 4th annual MEX conference, to be held in London in May 2008.

We hope you’ll join us for the conference in May, where 100 of the brightest minds in mobile come together for 2 days to learn, network and debate; MEX is a very different style of event – corporate pitches are outlawed, everyone plays a role in setting the agenda and the uniquely creative environment encourages new ideas.

If you have a view on the Manifesto, we want to hear from you. We’ll be inviting the authors of some of the most inspiring responses to join the elite speaking programme at the event, so please get in touch to share your thoughts. You can email me at marekpawlowksi@pmn.co.uk, call on +44 (0)7767 622957 or post your comment to the blog.

1. Content itself will be the interface of the future

Icons are dead and the content itself is the new interface. By stripping away the confusion and clutter of traditional interface elements like menus and scroll bars we can put photos, music and video at the heart of the user experience. Read more…

2. Handsets are no longer just for the hand

The role of the mobile device is expanding beyond the hand. In fact, handsets are spending less time in our palms and instead finding a role at the centre of the room. This trend represents a major new user experience challenge and will require us to think of new ways to interact with mobile devices. Read more…

3. Fragmentation is the enemy of innovation

The structure of the mobile industry is killing application developers. There is a tidal wave of innovative content and services waiting to be unleashed if we can build a business environment which enables new companies to make money from mobile. Read more…

4. Fashion is a stronger motivator than functionality

Fashion is a stronger motivator than features. Colour, shape, texture and packaging play a bigger role in influencing mobile purchasing decisions than the specification list. The highest margins in the handset business are achieved by devices which lag the technology curve but invest in brand partnerships and a boutique retail experience. Read more…

If you have a view on the Manifesto, we want to hear from you. We’ll be inviting the authors of some of the most inspiring responses to join the elite speaking programme at the event, so please get in touch to share your thoughts. You can email me at marekpawlowksi@pmn.co.uk, call on +44 (0)7767 622957 or post your comment to the blog.

5. The developing world is the new frontier for mobile user experience

The developing world is the new frontier for mobile user experience. It is the industry’s responsibility to deliver voice communication and internet connectivity to the disconnected in ways which are locally relevant, useable and cost-effective. Read more…

6. Search requires a radically different approach in the mobile environment

Search requires a radically different approach in the mobile environment. To find the answers they are looking for in the time they have available, mobile users need access to the widest range of search techniques, yet these must be provided within a highly constrained interface. Read more…

7. Intelligent contact lists are the future centres of the user interface

Presence and IP-based messaging change the dynamics of mobile communication. The natural focal point for next generation user interfaces is an intelligent, presence-enabled contact list. Enhancing the information and services which can be shared through people-centric networks is the best way to encourage usage of voice, messaging and data. Read more…

8. Mobile payments herald the next generational shift

Mobile payment applications will lead the next major leap in wireless communications, when our interactions with machines start to outnumber our interactions with people. Using our mobile phones to pay for goods and services in the physical world requires an interaction model and user interface of breath-taking simplicity. Cash and credit cards represent a singularly impressive benchmark – only when we deliver unique benefit above and beyond these existing solutions will mobile payments explode. Read more…

9. Users as individuals: uniquely complex and contradictory

Customers cannot be defined by numbers or segments or demographics. Every user is uniquely complex and contradictory. If we are to design experiences which recognise customers as individuals, we must develop research tools and analysis techniques which allow us to live and breath the world as users see it. Read more…

10. The potential of smart voice

The industry’s love affair with all things ‘2.0’ is blinding us to the reality that customers are spending more time than ever making basic voice calls. There are a wealth of potentially valuable smart voice features, ranging from conference calling and call waiting to texting to decline calls, which are failing because of poor user experience. Read more…

Remember, if you have a view on the Manifesto, we want to hear from you. We’ll be inviting the authors of some of the most inspiring responses to join the elite speaking programme at the event, so please get in touch to share your thoughts. You can email me at marekpawlowksi@pmn.co.uk, call on +44 (0)7767 622957 or post your comment to the blog.

Would you like to receive a copy of our funky Manifesto brochure?

We work with a leading design studio each year to produce a funky brochure illustrating our MEX Manifesto. In 2005 we had ‘Furry Chairs’ and in 2006 we created ‘The Paint Swatch’. 2007 saw a complete departure with our ‘Manifesto Poster’. If you’d like to see what our designers are planning for 2008, please click here to fill out a request form and we’ll mail you one anywhere in the world!


9 Comments

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  1. 2
    Miyon Im

    “4. Fashion is a stronger motivator than functionality”

    I think this statement can be dangerously misinterpreted. It should be made clear that funtionality is not the same as usability. Perhaps stripping down features makes for a simpler, easy to use experience? I agree that aesthetics are playing a larger part than ever, but this is because people are becoming desensitized by feature overload and looking toward physical attributes as the differentiator. However, this does not deter from the importance of usable features. User experience research shows that although usability does not contribute significantly to a positive user experience, it most certainly is a factor (if not The Factor) in a negative one.

  2. 3
    Marek Pawlowski

    Thanks for your reply Miyon. I very much agree with you on the importance of usability. Ease-of-use is something that must be at the core of every product. The intention of the Manifesto statement is to emphasise that most users will choose style over technical specifications. For instance, a user is more likely to choose a device on the basis of its colour than its processor speed or whether it runs Linux, Windows Mobile or Symbian.

  3. 4
    Roberto Mateu

    Wow, what a beautifully coherent manifesto. As I look to go back to Latin America and hopefully start a business related mobile webapps I’m struck by #5. “The developing world is the new frontier for mobile user experience.”

    The great thing about apps targeted for developing countries is that the constraint of not having a ‘regular sized screen’ website to fall upon pushes you to break new ground in UI.

    Web3.0, or whatever you wanna call it, is going to be about mobile internet. Where graphics and design play a major role because of the diversity of languages. And where a huge influx of users that have never experienced the internet on a PC are going to challenge us to rethink current accepted truths. It’s gonna be great.

    Good luck with the conference!

  4. 7
    Matt Radford

    Marek

    I’m a bit late in the day to this manifesto, but I have to add my Eur 0.02.

    7. Intelligent contact lists are the future centres of the user interface

    Yes – I’ve been banging on about this for ages to my friends, and it’s one of my main quibbles with the iPhone, which relegates contacts to the second level of the menu hierarchy. What do I use my device for? It’s great having a browser that can capably display the web, it’s lovely to be able to browse photos and play music with ease, but the central function is *keeping in touch with people* and that should be front and center.

    Of course I want easily accessible options from their contact card, to contact them in the manner of my choosing, but that’s straightforward. I want to know when someone’s available so I won’t disturb them, I want to get their status updates from Facebook or Twitter, I want to see a notification when they’ve updated their Flickr set or someone else has tagged a photo of them. I want to be able to jump to all conversations I’ve had with them – text, voice & voicemails, email, IM, calendar appointments. Essentially, make contacts a call log for my life. God knows I need it with my poor memory…

    And something else that follows on from that: realisation that the phone is still a messaging device at heart.So two words: Unified Messaging. Anyone who sends me a text or email, or who calls/leaves a voicemail, or with whom I have an IM conversation – it’s all just the same, someone trying to contact me. Why are all these things broken up into separate compartments? I just want an inbox that shows me the messages I’ve received and sent, and then its up to me how to respond.

    That’s quite enough for a Friday afternoon!

    Cheers
    Matt

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