Full day training course offered at Usability Week San Francisco

Mobile User Experience

Essential UX design principles for small-screen websites and apps

Course Date: October 06, 2014

It’s time to (re)design your mobile site or app, because your existing version is probably far below users’ growing expectations. Get the core principles for designing effective mobile user interfaces on touchphones and tablets. Learn how to derive your own mobile guidelines.

This course is ideal for people who are new to mobile design, have some limited experience in designing mobile interfaces, or for those with experience who want to brush up on the basics. If your organization is entering the mobile space and you need confirmation on well-defined mobile standards, then this course is for you.

"I went into the course with very little knowledge about mobile app design. This course provided a great amount of practical information on a broad range of elements, all backed up with great examples."

Steve Seguin

Topics Covered

Topics Covered

  • Essential usability principles and design patterns for mobile
  • Recognize good mobile design from bad mobile design
  • What users want from mobile sites and apps
  • Mobile behaviors and activities
    • Session duration
    • Microsessions
    • Search and information-seeking activities 
    • Use of mobile apps vs. mobile and responsive/adaptive websites
    • Android vs. iOS users
  • Mobile content
    • Comprehension on mobile devices
    • Mini-Information Architecture (mini-IA) and layered content
    • Scannability
    • False floors
    • Incorporating ads in content
    • Images and videos
  • Fragmenting the screen
    • Modal dialogs, split views, multipane screens, popovers
  • Navigation and search
    • Web and app patterns
    • Hamburger menus, tab bars, navigation bars, navigation hubs
    • Hidden and overflow navigation
    • Carousels and horizontal navigation: hub-and-spoke vs. deck-of-cards
      • When to use deck-of-cards navigation and horizontal swiping; differences between devices
      • Back as up and Back as undo
      • Scoped search
      • Filters and facets
      • Location listings
  • Touch targets
    • Flat design vs. skeuomorphism
    • Affordances/signifiers for tappability
    • Input-field design
  • Form design
    • Registration and login forms
    • Locator tools
    • Errors in forms
  • Workflow and path to content
    • Button placement
    • Self-sufficient design
    • Guiding users through “steps”
  • Gestures and multitouch
    • Gesture signifiers and familiarity
    • Progressive disclosure and gesture overload
    • Swipe ambiguity
  • The onboarding experience
    • Login walls
    • Initial instructions and tutorials
    • Permissions

Free Material with Course Attendance

Nielsen Norman Group Mobile Website & Applications Usability report.



The basis of the course is a lecture format with a few group exercises to reinforce the learned principles and guidelines.
The course also includes:

  • Findings from our own usability studies
  • Videos from usability testing of people's behavior in response to a mobile design
  • Screenshots of mobile designs that work and don’t work, and why
  • Opportunities to ask questions and get answers

Attendee Feedback

"It really started me thinking about some new aspects of the work I do on a daily basis." Dan Campbell, UX Designer
"A good mix of high level principles and detailed review of elements used for usability." Paul Jurkovic, McLellan Group
"Excellent analysis through discussion and user testing videos throughout the topics. The videos help to highlight the hurdles users experience and the pitfalls the UIs cause." Leah Novaes, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
"Very impressed with level of knowledge and experience conveyed by instructor. Very engaging style."



Raluca Budiu

Raluca Budiu is a Senior Researcher with Nielsen Norman Group. At NN/g she consults for clients from a variety of industries and presents tutorials on mobile and tablet usability, cognitive psychology for designers, and principles of human computer interaction. She coauthored the NN/g reports on tablet usability, mobile usability, iPad usability, and the usability of children's websites, and the book "Mobile Usability". Raluca also served as a judge for GSMA Global Mobile Awards 2012-2014 and Tabby Awards 2013. She holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. Read more about Raluca