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Top 5 Usability Constraints of Mobile Devices




Mobile devices have changed how we live and go about our daily lives. The advent of mobile technology has made myriads of tasks easy for us to do without breaking a sweat.


We access any form of content on our phones, deposit checks, accept credit cards, order food, pay for groceries, and sign documents on our mobile devices.

However, certain constraints affect the usability of apps on mobile devices. We will look at some of these constraints in this article and suggest workable solutions.

Inaccurate Clicks

Fingers are majorly used for clicks on touch screen devices. That implies that you must consider the size of clickable elements making sure they are large enough to be touched and spacious enough that users won't accidentally click a wrong element.


Less Context

Despite the recent trend toward larger-screen phones, what makes mobile phones convenient to use is that they are portable compared to desktop and laptop screens.


Phone screens can only hold a fraction of the content. As a result, the screen size of mobile devices is a severe limitation. On a modest 4-inch screen, the content displayed above the fold on a 30-inch monitor would take up five screenfuls.

As a result, mobile users would have to rely on their short-term memory to refer to information not displayed on the screen. It's no surprise that creating mobile content is twice as complex.


Usage Situation

Mobile devices have distractions that could disrupt a user's interaction with an app. Interruptions like calls, messages, and pop-up notifications could affect the returnability of a user to the app.

Digital interruptions, such as text messages, phone calls, push alerts, and the two-taps-away-from-Angry-Birds syndrome, is another larger source of diversions.


When designing for mobile devices, the key questions are; is it possible for a user to return to your site after an interruption and take up where they left off, or do they lack critical context? Will their data remain if the page is refreshed despite never submitting the form?


Absence of Hover State

Smartphones have no hover state (not yet anyway). That might be a problem for pages with a lot of material or features because the interface quickly becomes overloaded with links and buttons that are usually only visible on hover. Any information or feature on a mobile device must be accessed in one of two ways:

  1. The content may be nested in sub-sections or child pages, but it can still be accessed using visible navigational elements like buttons or links.

  2. By depending on mobile design principles, you can hide content and only show it when the user performs certain motions, such as swiping or shaking the device, or when the user drags material around, as in pull-to-refresh.

Single Window

It is common to see an attempt by phone manufacturers attempting to fit many window tabs on the screen at the same time. Users can only see one window (and hence one application or webpage) at a time; they cannot split the screen (like on the desktop) and operate with two separate apps simultaneously.

Usability is the soul of design. A design with poor usability will frustrate users and reduce the effectiveness of its functionality. Thus, it is good to give yourself to learning best practices in design. To achieve this, you can click here to join the GoCreate USA Bootcamp waitlist.

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