So with the market already beginning to look mature, what 6 things to people need to know about managing their mobile strategies?
Not The Finished Product
When starting a strategy on mobile, the expectation needs to be that it will be a strategy that needs to be worked on consistently. This is because mobile is not at the final stage. With computer based web browsers, the chances of wholesale changes are slim, with trends in design being the biggest impetus to change. In terms of mobile, the screen sizes are constantly changing, with people looking at different sizes depending on personal preference.
The capability of mobile browsing is also not at the level that it will be in 5 years time, there will be significant developments that will require rethinking of initial strategies and may change the face of every company’s strategy moving forward.
This is why it is important to see mobile as a constantly changing landscape that will require goals but will also necessitate total flexibility in the way they are achieved.
UX Needs A Total Rethink
The way that people interact with their mobile device is totally different to the way they do so with a desktop computer. Even between tablets and phones, the difference in how they are used is huge. Both may use the same interface, in terms of touch and swipe, but simply the context in which they are worn is individual.
UX needs to be perfect for each device if they are going to be accepted by your customers. It doesn’t matter if you have the best content in the world, if people find it awkward to use then they simply will not use it.
Data Limits and Speeds
Having the most amazing app or website with multiple auto-playing videos looks fantastic and is likely to catch the eye of many consumers. What it also does is requires a significant amount of data.
Most people who use their mobile devices whilst moving around have a limit of the amount of data they can use before being charged extra. This means that if any one app or site excessively eats away at this data, then people will be unlikely to use it.
Equally, data speeds change depending on reception, so if your mobile app or site works great on fast and reliable internet, but is slow and unresponsive on slower connections, then people are only going to ever use it in specific areas. This will not only limit your user base but also alienate others to other, less data dependent competitors.
The size of phones and tablets is well established as something that needs to be considered when looking at mobile strategies, but one that is often not considered is the specifications and preferences on different devices. For instance, two phones may have the same size screen and same resolution, but the way they are laid out may have a huge impact on the way an app works or doesn’t work.
Equally, native browsers on different devices can create significant differences and each has specific design needs to optimize the way they are used.
This means that where a simple responsive site would have worked before, there may need to be sites and apps that can vary slightly for many different formats. Therefore a company could find that they have 40 different layouts and designs for an app/site that does the same thing. This can be confusing and create chaos, but in reality, is a necessity with the current market.
Apps Not Always The Answer
When people think about mobile, the instant association is apps. The ability to have a dedicated application on a phone is appealing because it will show only the content that you want to show, there won’t be additional distractions and you can fully track how people are using it. What it also means that people need to really want it.
Recently I was forced to use an app when attempting to browse for holidays on a site that I use around twice every year. It is therefore not an app that I would want using up the memory or screen real estate on my phone. The fact that I was forced to download this app meant that I no longer wanted to use that company and instead booked through a competitor instead.
People want to have the option of using an app or a website when on mobile. It means not making it difficult to choose which to use rather than having to find a tiny button that will allow users to access a site rather than downloading an app. For apps that I am unlikely to use frequently, I still want to access the content, but there is no need for me to have a dedicated app for it.
2015 is going to provide another one of the seismic shifts in mobile technology that has made it such an unpredictable market to work with during the past 5 years.
This is the introduction of the Apple Watch, a device that is likely to kick start the wearable technology trend. This will create another headache for companies as they will need to work out how to take advantage of the new development. New apps will need to be created, communication from existing apps to new formats will need to be considered and even just presentation on a considerably smaller screen will need to be evaluated.