Mobile experience and usability

Posted: Tuesday 8th May 2012 in eCommerce Technology, Retail Strategy, Thought Leadership.

I recently attended the Nielsen Norman Group’s Usability Week conference in Edinburgh. During my stay in Scotland’s capital I had to endure a near death experience in a taxi, the finest (read ‘pretentious’) conference buffet I’ve ever encountered and a week-long schedule of seminars. It was an intense week (both in and outside the classroom) but the lessons shared were valuable, especially their opinion on user experience and mobile.

Knowing Your Mobile User

Day one opened with a simple lesson, mobile users fall into two camps; searchers and browsers. Do you know where your mobile users sit? It’s an important question to ask if your mobile site is going to be a success. Once identified, you need to shape your mobile marketing strategy around how your users interact with your mobile site and what role it plays in their journey. Putting the user at the heart of your strategy will reap rewards in the long term.

Knowing the Importance of a Mobile Site

Users are more successful in completing tasks when using a mobile-optimised site or app than when using a full site on their mobile device. Simple enough website conversion advice but retailers really need to take this fact onboard. It’s also important that retailers understand the popularity of mobile shopping. The myth that customers prefer desktop sites over mobile and are therefore more likely to buy from their laptop or desktop needs to be dispelled as it’s incorrect. The truth is that users prefer a site that gives them the best experience and meets their needs and mobile delivers. In fact, studies show that 51% of users are more likely to purchase from a retailer with a mobile site.

Knowing What Kind of Mobile Site or App to Create

At the root of mobile strategy, there are three types of apps: utility (looking for information/providing a service), productivity (organising an element of your daily life) and immersive (recreating a real world object online). Each app type has a role to play in the retail landscape but it’s important you choose the right app for your brand. Carefully consider the goal of going mobile. What does success look like? Is it access to information or a way to locate your bricks and mortar store? Is it commerce? Understanding your goals and ensuring ALL parts of your mobile experience is optimised for mobile users will unlock the medium’s true potential. If you’re ever in doubt…test, test, TEST!