Customization is Key to Better Mobile User Experience

Jul 30, 2014
National Park Service logo of an arrowhead with mountain, tree and buffalo

Resources like Theresa Neil’s Mobile Design Product Gallery book and describe, and provide examples of, common features mobile developers can implement and tailored further to satisfy their users. As mentioned in this week’s Trends on Tuesday, customizing apps to meet users’ needs is a crucial part in maximizing user experience. Today, we wanted to highlight how some agencies are implementing search, maps & geolocation and custom navigation to better their mobile product’s user experience.

  • Search
    • Healthy Swimming: Not only can users search among the content provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can search through highlighted text or any notes they took. This provides ease of access to key information in a pinch, when the user needs it most.
    • Collections Search Center from the Smithsonian: Search provides users with the ability to easily access over 5.4 million records that include 460,000 images, video, sound files, electronic journals, compiled resources from the Smithsonian’s libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Maps & Geolocation
    • National Park Service Apps: National Park Service implements maps and geolocation to provide users with self-guided tours in the NPS National Mall App, NPS Boston App, and NPS Chesapeake Explorer App. Geolocation in the National Mall App fuels the “Park Lens” feature, which allows a user to hold up their device and look through the camera as labels appear to observe nearby sites.
    • HIV Testing Sites and Care Services Locator: This tool, developed by, allows users to search for testing services, housing providers, health centers and other services near their current location.
  • Custom Navigation
    • NAEP Results: The Department of Education developed an application to view the National Assessment of Educational Progress Statistics. Since this app showcases custom navigation so well, access to an abundance of nationwide results, sample test questions, and brochures, seems effortless.
    • U.S. Constitution: Analysis and Interpretation: When an application has as much information as this one provided by the Library of Congress, custom navigation is vital for user experience. The menu style provides logical, concise, and clear access to all of the resources provided. These resources include the entire text of the U.S. Constitution, a clause-by-clause discussion of the entire text, a complete list and explanation of all U.S. Supreme Court Cases, and much more.

These are great examples of implementations of government user experience. How can your mobile applications implement features like these to heighten user experience? There are more than 40 mobile user experience guidelines agencies can follow.

In fact, the MobileGov Community of Practice and the Federal User Experience Community want your input at our Mobile Gov Workshop: Help Expand the Mobile User Experience Guidelines on Monday, August 4th. Help us move our guidelines forward so we can help you further user experience in your own mobile apps!