If you’re in the process of developing a mobile app (or testing one), then chances are you have spent a great deal of time thinking about the optimal design. You’ve put yourself in the shoes of your “target audience” and made your decisions on what you think they would find useful.
As design firm Fjord explains, this is not always the best approach. Rather than design an app that requires the users’ full attention, you should instead design for the glance.
Last year Fjord created a new mobile app for the Swedish mobile phone operator 3, which displays all the information about a customer’s bill and usage using simple data visualizations. “If I want to know my own data usage, my carrier says ‘You have used 320 MB out of 1,024 MB and it’s now Feb 25′. What do I do with that information? I immediately have to go into system 2 to figure it out.” 3 itself offered over 200 different subscription models. My3 displays a visual snapshot of usage and trends over the past six months as well as showing how the bill compares to that of a typical customer. Hundreds of thousands of customers now rely on the service.
Banks and payment companies are also starting to think simple. “Paypal and Square have been brilliant at simplifying, although largely for merchants rather than customers.” Fjord itself produced a new set of mobile applications for the Spanish bank BBVA that now have 1.2 million users. Recent usage statistics show that customers log in 21 times a month on the mobile apps versus three times a month on the web site.
The next frontier in service design is what Fjord calls living services, where the same service is delivered via a whole plethora of interfaces and becomes ever more atomized. “We are already seeing financial services clients saying how can we break up what they do into little chunks which other people can use in discrete ways. Spotify, for example, will deliver the service in my car, through my phone, through my PC, through my Sonos system at home mediated by Ford or Apple or Android or Sonos.”