Mobile Mondays: On Mobile, it’s as much about the user as it is the content

For this Mobile Mondays post we’ve invited Netbiscuits to offer you best practices and tips for creating a good mobile experience for your users.  Netbiscuits is a leading cloud platform for the development and delivery of next generation web apps across all mobile devices and connected platforms.

Cultivating a user-focused mobile experience isn’t just about shrinking your existing website to fit a mobile screen. In a single day, a connected consumer interacts with your brand and consumes your content across smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and game consoles. To meet consumer demand for instant, optimized access, marketers must design engaging “connected experiences” that respond differently for each device as they each present unique size, capability, and content consumption challenges.

In solving these challenges, marketers need to focus on a responsive design that takes the multiplatform world into account and allows for a device-optimized “Content Centric” user experience. The layout should morph depending on the size and shape of the device’s screen ensuring the experience adapts as new devices are introduced in the marketplace.

Touch enabled devices have evolved the digital user experience by providing users with a “Parallel Response Experience” to their request as opposed to a “Sequential Response Experience” found in a traditional “Point and Click” mobile user experience.  Designing a “Parallel” mobile experience with many touch enabled features ensures a more natural flow of information which  dramatically increases site effectiveness. For example, instead of re-using a traditional website interface, many mobile commerce clients use a drag and drop interface for placing items in a shopping cart which has greatly increased sales on touch enabled devices.

Along with the design layout, responsive design must adapt a content centric approach to the user experience. Your users must be served content based on the topics for which they have shown interest as well as based on time of day, weather, or geographic location. A system remembering the items in your shopping cart has been an essential element of a cohesive e-commerce experience for some time. But this concept can be expanded upon by associating a broader range of content to the individual that results in the serving of an article that interested the customer earlier in the day or weather information for an upcoming trip. To foster a good user experience, this needs to be done in a streamlined, accurate manner that limits clutter.

One of the more challenging attributes of going mobile is the varying screen sizes of tablets and smartphones. When it comes to tablets, we advise clients to take a layered approach to designing and delivering a “one-page” experience. By embedding or layering a video or photo gallery on top of a page, consumer engagements and actions happen without forcing the user to leave the page.

Being responsive to the user’s device and serving appropriate content is done by using analytics. The insights gleaned from mobile, including device models, screen resolution, device capability, service provider, and preferred user language cannot be matched by traditional marketing activities. Compared against geographic location, savvy marketers use this data to define product offerings and regionalize discounts.

Once you understand these strategic points, you should also keep in mind these simple best practices:

  • Mobile is not a channel. Mobile is an integrated solution where CMS, CRM and commerce updates should occur at the same time and in the same systems as updates to your traditional website.  
  • Research! Engage your team, friends and family to get insights on how they use their mobile devices. Conduct a competitive analysis to learn how your competitors illustrate and deliver their product and services. 
  • Design your site to solve the main problems or situations customers might find themselves in. Consider what features, tasks or existing site elements translate best on mobile and implement them.
  • And finally, don’t simply duplicate your traditional website. Consumers want and expect a different experience on mobile.

Posted by Craig Besnoy, Managing Director, The Americas, Netbiscuits

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