In the sea of apps, users get choosey with which apps can take up space on their phone. With one uninstall click the user can decide to breakup with the app if they have a bad experience. To keep your app from being all alone, the MobileGov Community of Practice put together six Mobile User Experience Guidelines to help keep mobile users in love. DigitalGov University hosted a webinar in which the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) highlighted two of these guidelines.
Mobile UX Guideline 2
Have you worked with an employee with a disability? Are you an employee with a disability? Then, you know the unique challenges of the average workplace that able-bodied colleagues may never experience. Workplace challenges could be overcome with accommodations such as larger computer monitor displays, wheelchair-accessible office furniture or a voice reader. In some cases, a mobile app is a solution to a workplace challenge. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
In our personal lives, most of us barely pay attention to Terms of Service (TOS) agreements. But in our professional lives, as federal employees, mindlessly clicking through a TOS is not an option. The DigitalGov article Getting to Yes: Working with Vendors to Secure Terms of Service and Federal Friendly Pricing explored the legal dilemmas that arise when negotiating TOS agreements for government use of tools, and how federal employees can communicate the benefits of federal-friendly agreements to businesses.
Google has announced a second wave of ‘Mobilegeddon’ search penalties for websites using mobile app install interstitials. Beginning November 1st, mobile app Web pages that use large app install interstitials to hide content from the users will be downgraded in search results for not being mobile-friendly. These are the kind of pop-ups you get when you land on a website for the first time and it immediately prompts you to install their app before you see or experience any content A smarter strategy for this kind of prompt would be to set a tracking cookie and only prompt users that have come back multiple times to the website or base the prompt on a longer period of time or number of pageviews into a visit before you prompt users—not before they even get to see the website.
This August, Aaron Gustafson, Web Standards Advocate at Microsoft, industry thought leader and speaker, and an author who wrote a leading book on adaptive web design, spoke to the government tech community at the U.S. General Services Administration and provided many magnificent insights into mobile strategy, design and tech development for reaching the widest audience possible across devices. Gustafson’s insights are especially important and impactful for government agencies because he focuses on the full-gamut of technologies audiences use—not just the latest mobile phones, OSes and apps—so his work and perspective can help inform government agencies on how to grapple with the technology needs of very diverse constituencies.
Government agencies need to make sure their mobile websites and native apps don’t become one of the estimated billions of applications that end up in the app graveyard. The need for digital products to work better is not new in the federal government. Resources like the Digital Playbook and Public Participation Playbook have had impact helping agencies become user-friendly and both of these resources note the importance of developing usable products for mobile users.
Mobile. It’s here, and it’s here to stay! Agencies in all areas of government meet real world needs through mobile products. Creating effective mobile products requires planning, however. Agencies who have created native apps outlined three areas they considered in the mobile development process: strategy, business requirements and measuring value. Strategy Before creating a mobile product, you must analyze how it will fit into your agency’s strategy. Not only is this information essential in justifying the need for mobile, it also will help quantify the application’s value when you examine mobile metrics.
Technology has opened new pathways for delivering health care, including mental health services. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), part of the Department of Defense, offers multiple apps that address health care for service members in a variety of ways. At a talk with the MobileGov Community of Practice earlier this year, Dr. David Cooper, a psychologist for T2, said the apps are a way to provide services and make appointments more effective and efficient for patients.
Federal agencies do not get a free pass on accessibility for mobile—as we stated earlier this month, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to ALL information and communication technology (ICT). Luckily, there are a number of organizations working on guidelines and practices to help the private and public sectors create accessible mobile websites and applications. The M-Enabling Conference, an annual event dedicated to making mobile technology accessible, brought experts from around the world to talk about guidelines and practices for these efforts.
Silicon Valley analyst Mary Meeker’s annual 2015 Internet Trends report has been released and is an exhaustive analysis of the world’s digital evolution (often mobile first driven) and how it is affecting business, culture and information. Previous years’ reports have tracked emerging tech from mobile to 3D printing, and this year is no different. Here are some of the key highlights from the report for government agencies and mobile-focused people:
Park websites on NPS.gov from A (Acadia) to Z (Zion) are now mobile-friendly. Visitors using phones and tablets to visit national park websites now have a user-friendly experience to enhance their virtual visits. Previously, visitors using mobile devices saw a smaller version of the website scaled to fit the size of their screen. Now, the content will adjust to fit small screens while providing the same functionality available to those visiting the site using a desktop or laptop.
Apps that are downloaded, used a few times and then never used again, are considered part of the “app graveyard.” In fact, 95% of apps are discarded within a month of download by users, according to Smashing Magazine. By focusing on creating a great user experience, you can make sure your agency apps are used consistently and don’t end up in the app graveyard. Smashing Magazine lists some “Lessons Learned From the App Graveyard” that government agencies should heed.
Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: 28% of Chief Information Officer (CIO)s in the private sector admitted in a survey they don’t have a plan for mobile technology. They cited compliance issues as a factor preventing their organizations from taking the necessary first step. Now, you may be wondering, “Does my agency fit in that category?” Two years ago, the Digital Government Strategy required agencies to start planning and implementing anytime, anywhere strategies.