“The world is mobile,” as Lucas Espinosa Menendez (known as Lucas Wxyz on the Web) so aptly states in the opening line of his article on mobile UX. Mobile, indeed. The theme of this special issue of UX magazine explores the ever changing and diverse world of mobility, with a special focus on the use of mobile devices in health and financial domains, specifically, mHealth and mBanking.
Mobile phones continue to proliferate our planet at a rate not comparable to that of any other technology to date, creating new and interesting ways to access information and to communicate, and presenting new opportunities for those who were previously unable to realize the benefits of technology.
People’s “mobile experiences” can be vastly different depending upon where they happen to reside in the world. To someone in a developed country, the mobile experience likely includes a smartphone that’s loaded with myriad apps. Assuming network coverage is available, this experience translates to anytime, anywhere access to unlimited amounts of information and data, coupled with the ability to instantly communicate with friends, family, and colleagues around the globe. All of this is easily achieved at the touch, tap, or pinch of your mobile device.
If you’re in a developing country, your “mobile experience” may be significantly different. Maybe you own your own phone; if you do not, there is a good chance that you have access to one through family or friends. Because of limited literacy, prohibitive cost, and lack of consistent power supply, smartphones are often not accessible. You may use mobile phones to communicate with family and friends, to conduct business, and in some cases to receive targeted messaging or to send and receive payments.
Whatever your experience, we stand to learn if we take a step back from our own experience and observe the many innovators around the world who continue to find new and creative ways to use mobile devices to improve their own lives and experience, and the lives and experiences of others. The innovators may be savvy developers in fancy labs, or at the other end of the spectrum, they may be uneducated villagers in a remote and rural corner of the world trying to find a viable means to a positive end.
The articles in this issue explore a broad range of mobile solutions, used in a variety of contexts, to solve challenging and diverse problems.
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