You likely already own a smartphone and there is a very good chance you or someone in your household owns a tablet device such as an Apple iPad or a Samsung GalaxyTab. Using a mobile device to browse the web is quickly becoming the norm.
A user’s experience is worth much more than anyone could ever imagine. A brand that does not please users with both functionality and design will suffer consequences not yet defined. This same philosophy needs to carry across all devices of all sizes, not just the larger screen of a desktop computer.
Here is an example of a poor user experience:
John is flying to Dallas and has a two hour layover in Minneapolis before his connecting flight leaves. Browsing his email he sees someone sent him a link to a white paper his company purchased. He clicks the link on his iPhone to go to the site. The site loads lightning fast since John is using the free airport wifi. Because the site has a fixed width of 1024px, John has to pinch to zoom in on the log in fields. John logs in after accidentally clicking the login button twice instead of the username field. After a bit of fighting with his phone to see the links on the page John has finally found the page to download the white paper as a PDF. The page also has options to download the white paper as an e-reader file for Kindle. “Dangit!” shouts John, as he clicks the Kindle link. Embarrassed, he clicks back and zooms in to find the right link and download the PDF. The PDF downloads, and John begins to read the paper his company paid for.
Elapsed time: 5 minutes
User satisfaction: 5/10
Analysis: John got what he needed but was very frustrated. If a new company offering the same content comes a long with a better delivery he wants to talk to his colleagues at work about switching.
How it should have gone:
John is flying to Dallas and has a two hour layover in Minneapolis before his connecting flight leaves. Browsing his email he sees someone sent him a link to a white paper his company purchased. He clicks the link on his iPhone to go to the site. The site loads lightning fast since John is using the free airport wifi. The site redirects John to a responsive website where the log in fields are large and available for him to easily read and enter his credentials. After logging in he finds the link to the white papers in a mobile style flyout menu. On the page to download the purchased white paper he is only given one option to download the white paper as a PDF since his phone does not support e-reader files. The PDF downloads and John begins to read the paper his company paid for.
Elapsed time: 2 minutes
User satisfaction: 10/10
Analysis: John got what he needed quickly and with no hiccups. He advocates the white paper company and is considered a brand enthusiast.
Enhancing the experience for your users on their mobile devices is not a canned process you buy off a supermarket shelf or from an enterprise level company that claims to know your users.
Your user’s behaviors, your content, and your current site architecture all need to be taken into account when developing a mobile strategy. A strategy then turns into a development plan and finally a full-blown, enhanced user experience.
Your users will appreciate your attention to them and will vocalize their thoughts of your brand to their friends and family. Choose to not be attentive to your users needs, and the user could be unyielding in the future.
Mathias Gieser has the corner office and a few windows at KK BOLD. While he’s not programming websites or leading the web development team to the corners of the digital world, he’s wearing his Cheesehead and cheering like crazy.