Mobile CRM Design, Part 2: Refining the M-Commerce Experience
"Too often we are seeing over-thinking in terms of placement, space and navigation, losing the content in an attempt to reinvent the mobile experience," said Christan Summers, director of creative and strategy at Raison d'Ętre. "Rather than force users to reorient their expectations, creative's main consideration should always be the content and the audience," Summers said.
Now that mobile app developers have the basics of user-friendly design down, we've moved into the m-commerce industrial age, according to Pradeep U.N., Symphony Teleca's vice president and global head of design and innovation. [*Correction - Nov. 12, 2013]
Specifically, the mobile app vendors and retailers that rely on this channel are now experimenting with more sophisticated tactics -- not just for kicks, but because mobile is increasingly becoming the first face of a company for many consumers.
For these consumers, an m-industrial age just doesn't cut it anymore.
"The truth is, we are moving away from the 'buttons and clicks' paradigm that is focused on optimizing for efficiencies," U.N. told CRM Buyer.
Now, m-commerce companies are looking at creating an "intelligent emotive experience," he said, using "elegant typography, visual motion and contextual relevance."
These new experiences also take into account the growing expectations for the mobile user experience, Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiServer, told CRM Buyer.
"The more people use their mobile device, the higher the expectation," Egner said.
"They want to be able to find exactly what they want quickly, meaning retailers need to optimize and personalize content so that consumers are able to find what they're looking for with minimal effort right away," he said. "This also means that mobile app designers need to develop search capabilities that are robust enough to present exactly the results users are looking for."
Start at the Beginning
Where to begin? The very beginning is Egner's recommendation.
"It all starts with a phone that the consumer holds in their hand," he explained. "As a designer, you need to imagine the consumer holding the phone in their hand and offer them the ability to have the touch point on the screen large enough where they can hit it with their thumb," he advises.
"Consumers don't want to have to worry about stretching or pinching the screen size to be able to get to the particular design element they wish to interact with," Egner added.
Only then, experts say, do you move onto the actual content. It is at this point that developers need to step back and make sure the content is not drowned out by the other efforts to reimagine the mobile experience.
'The Content and the Audience'
"Too often we are seeing over-thinking in terms of placement, space and navigation, losing the content in an attempt to reinvent the mobile experience," said Christan Summers, director of creative and strategy at Raison d'Ętre.
"Rather than force users to reorient their expectations, creative's main consideration should always be the content and the audience," Summers told CRM Buyer.
"The same principle applies in mobile design," she explained. "In terms of creative, we already know what works: negative space, simple design, image-driven buttons, demographically driven messaging -- all taking the audience into true consideration. Know who you are talking to, what you are selling/promoting, and create the design around that."
Indeed, Summers said, it is better to remain on the conservative side of the spectrum than venture too far into the experimental realm if the content appears to be at risk of being overlooked.
"Too often, we don't give our audience enough credit and keep trying new things that just translate to confusion and noise for the user," she said. "In the end, just as with more traditional interactive design, it is the content and the audience to whom we are talking that makes the differentiating factor from one site, application and campaign to another."
*ECT News Network editor's note - Nov. 12, 2013: Our original published version of this story mistakenly attributed Pradeep U.N.'s comments to Pradeep Chaudhry. Symphony Teleca spokesperson Katie Kennedy told CRM Buyer that Pradeep Chaudhry was head of the design function at Symphony Teleca. However Chaudhry is the company's CFO, and Pradeep U.N. is vice president and global head of design and innovation. It was Pradeep U.N. who provided input for this article. We regret the confusion.