The mobile industry offers enormous opportunity right now for entrepreneurs who can create excellent user experiences.
And doing that doesn’t require a degree in rocket science or access to high-end technology. Startups like Jaiku and Twitter have created huge communities of excited, engaged followers based on little more than SMS, an antiquated text-messaging system that limits users to 140 character per message and for which carriers charge usurious rates. The key? They focused on creating fun, easy-to-use tools that satisfy some human need.
That was the takeaway from a panel I moderated last week at GigaOm’s Mobilize, a one-day conference devoted to the mobile industry. The topic of the panel: "Thinking experientially: What creates good mobile user experience?" You can view the 35-minute panel via GigaOm’s online video archive. (The preceding link is supposed to point directly to my panel’s video, but you might need to click on the panel’s name in the "Archive" menu on the right anyway.) GigaOm’s Liz Gannes has also published a rough transcript of the panel.
I was especially happy to be moderating this panel because mobile user experience is a topic I’m passionate about. And that’s because, for most mobile devices and applications, the user experience is frankly terrible. Phones are hard to use, carriers are huge and impersonal behemoths that charge too much and limit what you can do, applications are too often disappointingly hard to use and buggy. And the mobile web? Don’t even get me started.