Mobile Device Search Different From Desktop Search

Search is harder on a handheld device. Key issues are:

  • Keying in data is harder.
  • Pointing and clicking is harder.
  • There is very limited screen space -- it's harder to offer different options and interpretations of the query string.
  • The user is in a different state of mind -- typically, in a hurry and wants to get his/her query resolved quickly.
  • The user is more likely to be interested in identifying geographically local resources.
  • Making accurate bets about what the user is interested in is harder: Most of the data about the user and his/her preferences is connected with desktop searches -- the search engine can't necessarily link up the user profiles for the desktop and the mobile device.

So important considerations for mobile search are:

  • It should take advantage of the device's ability to know where the user is, geographically.
  • It's even more important that the search engine make accurate bets about what the user is interested in when the user is mobile than it is at the desktop.
  • It needs some kind of "stickiness" to link up the user data gathered when at the desktop with that gathered when mobile.
  • It needs well-designed user interfaces for drilling down.

An example of an innovative firm specializing in this kind of search is m-spatial.

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted September 6, 2006 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    Give Wampad a try, at http://wampad.com. A simple site that lets you choose the context of the search your about to make and pushes the term you enter to the vertical search choosen. There are a few optiones that allow you to enter a zip code to get weather but right now there isn’t a mobile browser in general use that will send location information to a mobile website.

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