Mobile Navigation Guidelines

In a crowdsourcing project with more than 20 customers, Funka led a research on navigation concepts in mobile interfaces. After analysis and tests of existing concepts, Funka developed and user tested new prototypes. Based upon the results, Funka developed the Mobile Navigation Guidelines.

The project on how to improve mobile navigation was conducted in several steps during approximately six months. The project was financed through crowdsourcing where each participating customer shared the cost. The customers were large and small actors from both public and commercial sectors, all sharing their knowledge and specific issues and perspectives.

During the project, Funka reviewed and tested existing navigation concepts to figure out which ones worked well and which ones didn’t. As a second step, we produced and tested prototypes for new concepts. Finally, we set out recommendations for mobile navigation concepts that work for all users, regardless of ability.

The result in short

Based on the review, we were able to confirm that numerous different concepts are available to choose from. There does not seem to be one “perfect” navigation concept, and all have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice of concept can also depend on the type of interface and amount of content. Many concepts work well sometimes, and sometimes less well. It is therefore hard to say whether you can resolve all problems with one single navigation concept.

The guidelines are open access and free to use by everyone.

Funka’s Mobile Navigation Guidelines, pdf (315 kb) opens in new window

Funded by: 20 of Funka’s customers participated in, and shared the cost for, the project.
Period: Oct 2013 – Feb 2014

Background

Mobile surfing is on the rise and web layouts that are responsive to the size of the screen are becoming increasingly popular. Having said that, we know that page overview is poorer in a mobile interface compared with a desktop interface, which means there is no room for many traditional navigation concepts. Nonetheless, users have high expectations that everything is still going to work. As such, the mobile Internet must therefore enable access to the same content and functions as a desktop layout would.

The challenge is to find navigation concepts that also work well on small screens, which has proved to be a big problem as many users find their mobile interface difficult to navigate. The limited screen size means that many navigation concepts are structured in a complex way that ultimately results in users experiencing problems using the interface.

Based on our Guidelines for the Development of Accessible Mobile Interfaces

The project was based on our Guidelines for the Development of Accessible Mobile Interfaces that were developed in a project funded by The Swedish Internet Fund. These guidelines have been widely adopted internationally and translated into several languages.

Funka’s Guidelines for the Development of Accessible Mobile Interfaces, pdf (270 kb) opens in new window