According to Nielsen, the UK has a higher number of mobile internet devices than any other country in Europe. But what level of engagement is the user experiencing while on their digital journey?
How many times have you used a new app or opened a browser on your handset only to find the website hasn’t been designed and built with any thought to the mobile user? All too often there is no dedicated mobile site, forcing you to try and navigate a widescreen desktop size page, a reliance on Flash which excludes iPhone users, and drop down fields that just drop off rather than down. These are very common experiences that mobile users deal with daily, and yet the need for a good – or preferably great – level of user experience is widely ignored, despite being the critical aspect of mobile interaction.
Brands and corporations ignore this at your peril. By putting ROI ahead of the user (read: individual, customer, consumer, reader) you will destroy your key KPI’s in one hit. There is a big difference between ROI and KPIs, and it’s your users that experience your product, brand or site, that write the reviews, tweet about it, ‘like’ it on Facebook, comment on it and therefore are your performance indicators. Users are only going to make an effort to endorse your brand if the experience you give them meets their level of expectation.
The requests for digital designers to work on mobile sites and applications are constantly rising, but more and more often we are being asked for ‘creatives’ with ‘user experience’, ‘user journey’ and ‘user interface’ design as a priority. Solid design skills (including typography) are even more important for the small screen and are a crucial part of being able to lead the user on an engaging journey.
2010 was all about content, and don’t get me wrong: content is still up there in the higher echelons of importance. As they say, “if it’s not worth saying, don’t say it.” But content has definitely been knocked down a peg or two by UX. Where content might have been the king at the top of the pile, it’s now finding itself looking up at the Emperor that is User Experience.
The reasons that UX is so critical for mobile should be obvious. Screen size notwithstanding, mobile has the ability to capture your audience’s attention anywhere and at any time, tailoring the content to specific locations and preferences (already gleaned from your social media networking sites). It allows users to interact with your brand, whilst in the company of your brand, ultimately enabling an engaging journey that puts the individual at the centre of the experience. And that’s the key – each individual feeling that they are at the centre of the experience wherever they may be.
The degrees of personalisation will depend on input from person to person, but that should also be taken into consideration and shouldn’t detract from the experience; whether the individual is just passing through, or stopping at every opportunity to add a comment, request further information or make a payment. A good, if not great, user experience should be provided every time, and if it is, you will be rewarded with followers who will repeatedly tell others about their journey whenever and wherever they can.
It wasn’t that long ago that individuals only commented on negative experiences, but times have changed and positive feedback, comments and reviews are constantly being written driving traffic to your brand/product/service, but only if the journey they are travelling on provides great user experience.
Martin King, Senior Consultant, Become