The following is a list of the top 10 items to think about when developing for mobile:
- Keep it simple – This is good advice for almost everything you do, but it is particularly important for your mobile career site. You probably don’t want to load you mobile career sites with a lot of information and graphics that are not necessary. The mobile app is more about getting the job done, than looking pretty!
- Pay attention to font and field size – While the 18 year old software developer with 20/20 eyesight has no problem reading the tiny fonts on his iPhone, those of us who have less than perfect vision need a little more readable font size. And keep in mind that people with fat fingers also use mobile devices….
- Test your app for real! – There are a number of emulators available on the web. While these tools are great for development, they don’t always behave exactly like the actual mobile device. Make sure you do some real world testing with the actual devices that you intend to support.
- Request only what is necessary – The mobile user tends to be someone who wants something right away… they are single minded and in a hurry. Don’t ask them to do things that aren’t necessary. Instead, give them the information they need quickly. Make sure your application is focused, so they can accomplish their task.
- Recognize the users limitations – Mobile users can’t do things that someone sitting at a PC can. One of the most common things we do with our career sites is to ask the applicant to upload a resume. Today, the mobile devices do not have that capability, so you need to have a work-around, like allowing the applicant to return to the site at a later date, or email the resume. Also, unless you are a 13 year old kid, typing on a mobile device is slow and frustrating. Try to minimize typing whenever possible.
- Make it familiar – Users like to use applications that they are comfortable with. Don’t try to make your app to different from the norm. Follow the standards whenever possible.
- Recognize the device limitations – Certain things just don’t work as well on a mobile device as they do on a PC. For example, Apple doesn’t like flash, so if you are supporting iPhone, iPad or iPod, leave all the flash off of your site. Pop-ups generally lead to quirky page transitions and navigation difficulties, so don’t try to open new browsers for the user. Most of the time the mobile user has a slower connection, so loading your pages with data and/graphics creates slow load times and user frustration.
- Scrolling – Try to eliminate the left to right scrolling. While a reasonable amount of up and down scrolling is tolerable to most users, the left to right scrolling creates user frustration.
- Offer a full site mode – Make it easy for the applicant to switch to your “full site” application, and make it easy for them to return to the mobile site.
- Right Handed or Left Handed – Most of your users are not ambidextrous, so make sure you develop for both the right-handed and left-handed user.
Ok, so there you have it… our top 10 tips for mobile career site development. Well really it is our top 9, with one outlandish statement thrown in just to see if you were really paying attention (you get to figure out which one is the outlandish statement). I hope this information has been helpful to you. Feel free to give me a call or send me an email if you have some questions about my research or thoughts about this topic… Oh, and one other thing… they don’t call them mobile devices because you are supposed to use them when you are driving, so if you see the guy I followed into to work today, tell him to put the cell phone in his pocket when he is behind the wheel!