mlearn project

Charles Sturt University's Mobile Learning Project

Mobile Context

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A lot has been said and written about mobile context. What is mobile context and Is it an actual real thing?

Mobile context is simple – it’s everything, everywhere, all the time. 

When you put it like that it was easy! But what does it mean? Well, there is no single mobile context. Mobile devices range from phones and tablets through to eReaders (yes, someone can actually view your work in 256 shades of grey! Take that marketing!). Mobile connections come in a range of forms, from broadband and WiFi through the spectrum of 4G, 3G, 2G, CDMA and even no connection at all. It’s about sensors and device capabilities. It’s about browsers and supported standards. Libraries and gestures. Touch and type.

Mobile context is whatever the user has access to in any given situation.

Designing for mobile requires you to study your users. Watching what, how, where and when they do things. Learning from them and adapting and modifying your design, your product and your systems. You need to learn their tools and their processes.

Assuming information about your users can lead you to make common mistakes. Here’s some things to consider about mobile:

  • The majority of use happens at home – especially during other activities like TV.
  • The number one manufacturer of cameras in the world in 2010 was Nokia.
  • 23% of Kenya’s GDP sent through mobile banking in 2010.

Find more about context – and how we tend to get it wrong:

Jason Grigsby’s  presentation Casting of Our Desktop Shackles and Yiibu’s It’s about people, not devices…


Author: Tim Klapdor

Passionate about good design, motivated by the power of media and enchanted by the opportunities of technology.

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