I’ve been singing the praises of usability for many years and with the rise of the touchweb (mobile Internet on smartphones), usability is going to become even more important. For those that don’t know, usability is exactly what it sounds like; can the majority of users, regardless of their level sophistication, use your website/app to do/find what they need? Usability has evolved as the Internet has gone from a document based model to everything entertainment, communication and information.
One of the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 has been it’s interface design and its focus on ease of use. This site has a great run down of the design elements and it’s safe to say that this design aesthetic has been around for quite some time. With the rise of the touchweb things like oversized buttons seem like a natural fit and yes, scale is important given the limited screen real estate of smart phones, but the touchweb, the preferred method of using the mobile Internet, is not simply a change in screen real estate. It’s a dramatic change in how users interface with a site/app/product. Businesses can learn a lot from iPhone app design and utilizing multi-touch screens but we are just beginning to see the change. The iPad and increasingly complex multi-touch interfaces will continue to change how businesses interact with their customer base. In 2009 mobile Internet usage increased 110% in the US/148% internationally and now more than ever mobilizing your brand is essential to maintaining/growing your business.