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Breakpoint 2023: Designing a Great User Experience for Mobile

Expert insights on creating compelling mobile user experiences in the modern digital landscape.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


In an insightful presentation, Vanessa Ho, Head of Product & Design at Drift Protocol, shares her expertise on the importance of mobile user experience and offers actionable design considerations for mobile developers. With a background predominantly in design, Vanessa explains why mobile design is critical to user engagement, drawing on her experience with Drift Protocol, a leading derivatives platform on the Solana blockchain. She dives deep into data-driven strategies and provides practical advice for enhancing mobile app usability.

Key Points:

The Significance of Mobile User Experience

Vanessa Ho emphasizes the growing significance of mobile user experience in driving engagement for digital platforms. For Drift Protocol, transitioning from a desktop-first application to a mobile-centric one was a response to user demand for native mobile experiences. The statistics she provides underscore this point: mobile sessions at Drift are substantial both in the number and duration, revealing a user base highly active on mobile devices.

Five Key Considerations for Mobile UX Design

Ho presents five essential considerations for mobile app development, emphasizing the need to balance innovation with proven UX patterns. She advises against trying to reinvent the wheel for speed and efficiency's sake. It's crucial to focus on where specialization is truly impactful for your industry and user base. She also addresses the challenges of designing for various screen sizes and the importance of preventing 'thumb fatigue,' urging designers to prioritize high-value experiences that align with mobile users' needs.

Facts + Figures

  • Drift Protocol is a leading derivatives platform on the Solana blockchain, with its V2 version reaching 15 million in daily volume and 600 daily active users.
  • Mobile accounts for 35% of all sessions on Drift Protocol, with up to 45% in some months.
  • About 25% of mobile sessions last longer than five minutes, and some extend beyond an hour.
  • 35% of positions opened and closed on Drift are via mobile, with certain days seeing over 50% of such activities.
  • During high-volatility days, mobile trading becomes especially vital for users on the go.

Top quotes

  • "Originally for V1, we didn't have high mobile usage, but in the early days of V2, we actually saw a huge uptake in people requesting a more mobile-native experience."
  • "35% of all sessions happen on mobile...with 25% of these sessions actually longer than five minutes."
  • "We want to be able to ship something faster and get feedback on it faster."
  • "Don't try to reinvent the wheel."
  • "Assume everything is important and can be fat-fingered, so give things enough space to interact with."
  • "Focus on high-value actions and experiences when you are designing for mobile."

Questions Answered

Why is mobile UX design important for contemporary apps?

Mobile UX design is essential because an increasing number of users prefer accessing apps on the go. For platforms like Drift Protocol, a significant percentage of daily active users conduct lengthy sessions via mobile, signifying a shift in user behavior towards mobile-first experiences.

What are the key considerations for mobile UX design according to Vanessa Ho?

When designing for mobile, Vanessa Ho suggests not reinventing the wheel but using tried-and-true UX patterns, specializing where it counts, accounting for 'fat fingers,' preventing thumb fatigue by keeping key actions accessible, and focusing on high-value experiences tailored for mobile users.

How significant is mobile usage for Drift Protocol?

Mobile usage is significant for Drift Protocol with 35% of all activity happening on mobile devices, highlighting the shift in trading behavior towards convenient, on-the-go interactions facilitated by mobile apps.

What does Vanessa Ho mean by 'fat fingers' in the context of mobile UX?

The term 'fat fingers' refers to the design consideration that mobile interfaces must accommodate the variability of finger sizes and tap precision. Key elements should be designed with ample space to ensure users can easily interact without mistakes.

What approach should designers take when building features for mobile?

Designers should prioritize high-value experiences that meet the mobile users' needs. This often means paring down features, functionality, and the number of pages from the desktop version to create an optimized, efficient mobile experience.