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The Mobile Experience: Getting It Right

Dan Baker Digital Experience Director (AsiaPac)

Google’s gross annual revenue from mobile advertising is over US$2.5 billion per year*.

eBay expects mobile customers to buy and sell $8 billion of merchandise in 2012*.

PayPal expects to see $7 billion in mobile payment volume in 2012*.

Mobile is big business. Digital experiences that are locked in to where you are and what you’re doing, that emphasise convenience and cater for people on the move (and sat on the sofa) are making the most of mobile technologies and context-based services. Gesture and voice based interactions have introduced a new way of interacting with the web, driving innovation and influencing customer behaviours and expectations.

So what does mobile mean for your organisation?

Positive online experiences are good for business. As more and more of your customers interact with your products and services via handheld devices – and they are, just check your stats – the mobile experience will increasingly influence how your customers perceive your company. If you haven’t already tried, have a go at browsing your website on a smartphone to get a sense of what your customers see. Warning: it’s not always pretty viewing.

Times have changed and websites that (should) work well on desktop monitors do not tend to translate well to tablets or phones. Quite simply, layouts that work well on big screens do not work well on small screens.

So how do you get it right?

Technology evolves, user behaviours evolve, expectations evolve – but the one constant in ‘getting it right’ is focussing on the needs of your user. Whether you’re looking to optimise your desktop experience on handheld devices, or using mobile designs to influence your desktop offering, the best digital experiences combine the needs of your business with the needs of your customer. There are a number of paths you can take. Responsive designs allow navigation, page layouts and feature sets to change depending on the device your site is viewed on. Dedicated mobile websites optimise designs specifically for mobile devices, and of course mobile apps can integrate closely with inbuilt phone and tablet features.

The name of the game is making it as easy as possible for your customers to do what you want them to do – whether that’s buying more of your stuff, consuming more of your content or interacting with your services. If you can also make that experience enjoyable then there’s a better chance they’ll do it again. Good for your customer, good for your business. Taking the time to really think about your customers, to understand their motivations and their needs is the first step to crafting that great experience. Combining that insight with a deep understanding of how people use mobile devices will help ensure that you can optimise your designs, and if you can do that you’re definitely on the right path.

*Stats for Google, eBay and Paypal sourced via mobiThinking.com