This post was written by Tim Courtney, Director, Marketing & Brand Strategy at KeyLimeTie. Tim is on the UX4Good Social Media team, and KeyLimeTie is the UX4Good livestream sponsor. KeyLimeTie is a full-service design, development & digital strategy agency, helping clients communicate more effectively and intimately with their customers through interactive marketing channels.
The interactive design and web industries are focusing more and more on the possibilities of reaching customers via mobile phones. Businesses and brands are demanding mobile apps and mobile websites, and consumers are using the web and apps on their phones more and more. The iPhone vs. Android battle carries headlines, but the real story is the increase in mobile use across the board.
People always have their keys, wallet, and mobile phone with them. We’re perpetually connected via SMS, alerts, voice, apps and the web. Mobile web users are “hunters” vs. “browsers” in that they’re seeking specific information relevant to them in their moment.
Current Mobile Use Stats
Mobile use and adoption is growing at an alarming pace, so stats even a couple months old are deemed obsolete. Watch this video for a telling view of the growth of mobile when comparing 2010 figures with 2009.
Mobile Usage Patterns
Mobile users use their devices many times each day for short periods of time. They could be anywhere, have varying levels of connectivity to the Internet, and sessions are often interrupted. SMS is a universal communications medium, where mobile web and mobile apps are becoming more and more prevalent as smartphones penetrate the market.
Using Mobile for Social Good
At UX4Good, we’ve come together to accept the big challenge of solving social problems using our transformative discipline of user experience design. While this might be counter-intuitive to many, including governments and nonprofit institutions who have labored upon these social challenges for decades, we have seen throughout our careers countless examples of how UX drives behavior among consumers and the public. Focusing this discipline on social benefit will no doubt create solutions never before conceived.
As we’re here tackling the real-world social problems of Unemployment, Urban Violence, Public Education, Community Mental Health, and Cross-Cultural Understanding, what are some ways you see that UX designers can create mobile experiences that solve social problems?
The “Mission 4636” project allowed victims of the earthquake in Haiti to SMS relief workers so they could be found and so workers can coordiante rescue work. The project used Ushahidi, a free and open source software platform for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Also, SocialBrite has collected a list of 10 Mobile Apps for Social Good that UX4Good participants can use as inspiration.
- MIT Media Lab: The Context-Aware Cell Phone Project
- NTEN: Mobile Innovations for Social Good
- 3 Predictions for Social Good in 2011
- “Cell Phones Solve Social Problems,” a realization made at the 2010 World Economic Forum in Davos.
- May 2010 AdMob Mobile Metrics Report