Where to start with mobile

Many companies that employ a web channel struggle to determine how to properly extend their functionality into the mobile space.  As mobile browsers become more sophisticated and can handle the same technologies available to desktop browsers there will be a strong temptation to provide all functionality all at once.  Providing a full featured mobile site can require a huge upfront investment and include features that may not be very useful to a mobile user.  However, companies that step into the mobile space iteratively enhance their speed to market and increase their ROI.  This means determining what makes sense to release first.  The following discusses some factors to consider when determine which features add the most value to a mobile offering.

Simple High Frequency Transactions. Transactions that users make frequently such as non-durable product purchases and account balance transfers are often simple and made several times a week.  These types of activities are a good fit for mobile since their frequency increases the probability that they will need to be made when the user is not in front of a computer.  Simple transactions do not require extensive rewrites of the application since they are typically restricted to a single page and easily scale down to the smaller screens of mobile devices.  Complex or multipage transactions can add high value as well but will often require redesign since the forms must be decomposed to provide a good user experience on a smaller screen size.

High Volatility Data.  Data that changes often such as price alerts, product availabilities, and order statuses are also a high value add to a mobile site.  Users typically know that data of this variety change often and may find the need to check this information when they are on the go.  Often this data can get buried within a site when a layout is optimized for a desktop browser since there is more room to work with.   Additionally, there is little cost to the user to click on links in order to drill down to get to the data.  For mobile, where users have pay per use plans and longer wait times for page loads,  it may be a better experience to pull this highly volatile data into dashboard type pages so the highest value data for a mobile user is available without having to click through a number of pages.

Static Point Of Need Data. Static data that has high value in certain situations –  such as emergency phone numbers and process information – can provide mobile users with a place to turn when all they have is their mobile device.  Since this data is rarely used it is easily forgotten, but not having it available can mean missing a huge opportunity or preventing a possible disaster.  Providing this type of information can be a lifesaver for a user on the road.

Though the above information can be accessible through the standard web or an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) channel, the mobile channel can provide a much better user experience.  Creating a separate web channel can also drive down costs for your users by providing a more lightweight presentation which renders quicker and does not eat into a data usage plan significantly.  Following the above strategies allows a company to increase their exposure to the mobile channel without having to justify the large capital investment required for a full implementation.

About Bob Paulin

Sr. Associate @ Acquity Group

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