Mobile devices have many constraints to address.

  • Device variety: Many devices with many specific operating systems and browser varieties make it difficult to survey implementations across a representative population.
  • Small screen sizes: Much more constrained than tablet or desktop, buy without any standard sizes.
  • Hardware limitations: Mobile devices need smaller and less power-hungry components, so CPU, GPU, and RAM are all much less powerful than desktops. Furthermore, there is a large gap between manufacturers and pricing tiers.
  • Networking: Cellular networks are slower and less reliable than LAN, and even wifi isn’t universally great. Cellular coverage is also subject to wealth disparities in and across regions.
  • Interaction fidelity: Elements are physically smaller on mobile and input has less precision (finger versus mouse cursor). Interactions like hover do not exist.
  • Power use: Being battery-powered, the power consumption of software matters a great deal to end users.
  • Modality: Users can only use one application at a time easily. Context switches are absolute and thought processes can get lost in transition.
  • Distraction: Mobile devices constitute a primary vehicle for distraction for users, both on and off of device-bound contexts.