ux/ui December 6, 2017

Offline design: the next logical step in UX

How many times have you had a bad internet connection or bad service on your phone? And how many of those times have you gotten completely pissed off because you had to start over again?

Well, I’ve dealt with it too. I also think it’s a bummer when you need to check something on your phone but don’t have free wifi. Not all of us can afford to have unlimited traffic on our phones, you know.

So, one of these times, I was on my way back home from work, spending all my traffic, just because I was bored as hell, and I came across this article about designing for offline. Something clicked right there because I could immediately relate.

More than once, I felt frustrated because in order to make simple tasks I needed internet service. Otherwise, the app (or the browser) would present some kind of indication saying that I couldn’t proceed without a connection.
That’s why we need to step up and think ahead into the offline possibilities.

Offline information

In an ideal world, everyone should have access to the internet, either at home or on the street. Public spaces and transportations often claim that they provide free wifi connection but in reality, they don’t. That’s why companies need to be aware of this problem and rethink UI to include offline options.

Of course that no one is expecting full functionality on a web-based service, but, if there’s a way of maintaining the user experience as good as possible, both off and online, then users would be a lot happier with the product/service.

This can be as simple as allowing to input information or placing products onto the shopping cart, without losing data along the way.

To tackle this issue, Hoodie created an online discussion about Offline First back in 2013, where they invited everyone to join and combine ideas about what would be the best approach when designing with offline in mind.

Since then, there has been a great improvement with several companies stepping up to the challenge, but there are still some basic things like seeing Google maps (unless you download it beforehand) and reading or watching content like video ( the same thing here, you have to download or save it first like you do on Pocket).

So, in this blog post, I would like to ask you to think about your personal experience as a user and to let companies know if they can do anything that will make your offline experience better. If you are a developer or work in a company with an online presence, then spending some time thinking about it couldn’t hurt and perhaps, you can come up with a good solution.

In your opinion what can we do as users or makers? Let me know in the comment section below.

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