CHI Nederland

10 april 2001

Robin van Kralingen, Satama Amsterdam
Gijs de Ridder, Satama Amsterdam

Success will depend on creating a good user experience

Less than a year ago, many experts predicted a great future for mobile Internet. Looking at the unexpected success of SMS messaging and a strong increase in mobile phone market penetration, many believed that the wireless revolution would be inevitable. In the spring of last year the hype ended as the first negative reviews started appearing in newspapers pronouncing WAP services useless. A new consensus became evident; most experts suddenly had strong reservations about the future of mobile Internet.

Many companies now look for the emergence of new technologies like GPRS and UMTS to turn the tide. Unfortunately, technological progress will only solve part of the problem. For mobile Internet to be successful, the user experience offered to the end user needs to be improved. Too often existing Internet services are offered through WAP without adjusting them to specific user needs or to the unique characteristics of mobile Internet. To be able to create a good user experience, designers must understand the fundamental differences between the Internet and wireless services.

The presentation started off by presenting a broader view on the mobile developments that are taking place and it was explained how this will affect user experience design. Subsequently, several example WAP services were looked at in detail as a starting point for discussing the various challenges faced by designers. The presentation concluded with discussing the potential added value of mobile services that can be offered to users by focussing on the unique qualities of the medium.

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auteur: Geert de Haan