Speakers’ Corner: The real user experience

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The term ‘user experience’ is everywhere in the mobile industry these days. 

Prompted by the arrival of the iPhone, both operators and handset manufacturers have been forced to rethink how they deliver advanced features in a simple way. 

The ‘iPhone-effect’ may have been over-reported to the point of cliché, but it has had a major impact on the way everyone in the mobile business markets their products.

However, the true meaning of user experience extends significantly beyond the new interface and stylish look of a device like the iPhone.

When we talk about ‘experience’, what we’re really referring to is the customer’s overall impression of a product and that may be as much influenced by what happens in the retail environment as by the quality of the device.

If we look beyond the hardcore gadget enthusiasts who endure hours of queuing to attend the latest product launches, the substantial majority of customers do not arrive at the retailer armed with strong views on the relative merits of the iPhone versus Symbian Series 60 or Windows Mobile. 

For the average consumer, much of their user experience will be decided by the service they receive from their local mobile shop – software and user interface considerations form just a small part of an overall package.

Full article in Mobile News issue 430 (January 12, 2009).

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Marek Pawlowski set up mobile industry research specialist PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence in 1995, to give networks and manufacturers insight on where they are going right and wrong. Pawlowski leads development of PMN’s conferences and research services.

 

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