Mobile March 2015

Mobile-marchAh!  Mobile March…  The change of seasons 🙂

Conversation with a sponsor – outsourcing:

Target is changing approach to balance between in-house and agency approach to the digital technologies.  At some point most of the online tools and sites were created by different vendors, and may not have been as consistent as the company desired.  Teams were also spread around the globe and a dilemma of when to set a meeting to accommodate Seattle, Minneapolis, and India was a constant issue.

Current approach is different: teams are located together in the building, more developed in-house, and even if off-shore teams still play a significant part in the development process, they are responsible for the complete projects, rather than their components.

The new approach is more convenient, less wasteful, and more comfortable for everybody involved.  Is it the future?  Interesting…

Mobile 2020

In 5 years, the main topic of the conversation will be the Internet of Things.  However, if it is possible to connect some of the “things” to the internet, it may not be reasonable.  Be smart, not stupid about it.

Tesla has and iPad as a dashboard – good.  Carrots do not need to be connected…

Digital assistants will be popular – and more trusted.  Digital assistants will automatically buy over $2B of goods and services.

2020 – User Experience dominates… and it is not just “user experience,” but an experience in general. 

Wearable devices will be more common.  By 2016, 30% of corporate wellness programs will capture bio metric data.

By 2020, computers will replace 50% of processing jobs.  However, we will see 500% increase in digital business jobs.  Economy will face shortage of qualified workers.

In 2020 Mobile will be over 50% of digital commerce (paying with a phone in the store, not necessarily shopping on the phone).  Security will improve, but there will be still “anti-hacking jeans” to protect the new mobile valet.

By 2020, iBeacons will increase sales by 5%.  When one major retailer adopts the technology, the rest will follow.

dogs

Everything you have today will be very similar… but better, easier to access.  The internet speed won’t significantly improve 😉

There will be more fluid change in business and companies need to be prepared for it.

What is Material Design?

  • a design language
  • a way of communication
  • a style guide
  • an asset repository
  • a philosophy

material-design

Material design is not a code repository or rule of law.  Material design can change…   If your product is not appealing, material design will not help.  However, if you are creating an tool, adhering to the commonly accepted principles will help your users to understand the tool faster.

floating-action-buttonOne of the approaches of Material Design is the “Floating Action Button” that promotes one action above all others.

Buzz Feed’s results of “materialization” of the app:

  • 22% increase in page views per session
  • 27% increase in shares per session

hamburgerInteresting – “hamburger menu” does not seem to perform very well.  The word “Menu” did better in A/b tests.  Will it change when users are more familiar with the “hamburger,” or is it something more “human” – less processing time to read a word then decode a symbol?

Why care about material design?

  • it will be adopeted among google ecosystem and beyond
  • it can reduce “cognitive load” – users know how to interact and will spend more time in the app interacting with content
  • Google made significant investment in UX – your company probably can not make this type of investment

UX – UI

Approach to task classification for mobile apps:

As a user I want to….                     so I can…

Receive notifications                     to keep up…
………………….                                   …………..

The agency is using agile development, but does a clean cut between the design and development to assure that the design is completely approved by the client.

Challenge: engaging customers in the early stages of the project.  solution: show visual prototypes fast – with the prototyping tools.

Financial services

mintMint is not a financial service, but it integrates with financial services.  Every bank needs online tools.  Maybe a bank does not need to build something like Mint, but can just integrate with Mint?  This is interesting…  though I am a bit skeptical about iBeacons used in banking… 😉

Mindfulness

Just a presence of a mobile device (phone) between talking people changes the relationship…

Most effective naval commanders expressed…  empathy

The interest in well-being is higher in Twin Cities than in Loss Angeles or New York.

Smart Watches – User Experience Design

The number of companies working on wearable devices increased 5 times from 2013 to 2014.  Despite all this effort, the devices do not work well yet, but they will improve.

How do we think about wearable’s design from the philosophical perspective?

watchThere are three types of devices:

  • Contributors (collect data)
  • Companions (display messages – depend on the phone)
  • Connectors (independently connected to the internet)

Touch is not the holy grail… other mechanisms matter more than touch, and…  now you get only 300px 😉

When mobile phones were new, designers tried to apply desktop experience to them.  The same will happen with smart watches – at first.  However, the watch is not a phone, at best, it can get a glance.

How we should think about smart watches?

  • Invisibility

Technology should connect us to life, rather than take us away from it.

Mobile is a lifestyle. We need to target the motivations of the life style. not the technology.

What smart watch train ticket app does?  One one thing, but it does it very well, and stays out of the way.  It shows the time of the train’s departure and shows the scan-able ticket.  That is it!

  • Intimacy

Experience should be personalized, and should be empowering.  For example: can get a notification, and can take action).

  • Interaction

For the first time, designers would need to designed what you hear and what you feel.

What you say?  What you touch?  Pressure sensitivity (how hard the watch is pressed).  Plus – connection to other devices.

  • Intention

Context before UI.

  • Interruption

Micro-interactions and movement

Buzz Feed

buzz60% of traffic is mobile.  State of mind today – everything is mobile. Mobile users share more then desktop users.  Buzz Feed editors preview article on the mobile platform first, and then on the desktop.

Buzz Feed does not do responsive design!  Why??

  1. Performance
  2. Content optimization (content for the mobile experience is different than for the desktop)

Buzz Feed does tests – and have different templates for web and mobile.

App users share more and spend more time with the app than mobile site users.

Investigative journalism is doing very well, but, does it doing better than “cat playing piano”?  No.

Both type of content (thoughtful journalism and … cats… ) can coexist. Cute or Not app was created as a desktop feature, and then transformed into an app.

Advertisements

Book – Mobile Magic

mobile-magicOne more book on mobile marketing that recommends not to jump into mobile app effort 🙂

A few gems from the book for the future projects:

Mobile phone penetration depends not only on what is technically possible, but what is culturally desirable.  Could it be the explanation of higher mobile activities in certain cultures?

4 keys to mobile marketing success: MIST

  • Mobile
  • Intimate
  • Social
  • Transnational

Functionality is only means to the end (oh, how often it is forgotten!).  There are many services on mobile just “because we can,” the mobile offering need to be uniquely suitable for mobile.  Proliferation of channels does not change what matters to people.

People use mobile devices to save time or to waste time.

Mobile games and joystick.  At the beginning of efforts to transfer video games to the mobile devices, the game producers straggled to reproduce the concept and functionality of joystick.  though Joystick is critical to the concept of a gaming station, it was impractical for the mobile environment.  Eventually, game producers discovered how to use characteristic of the new device to reach desirable effect.

The book recommends differentiation for store owners, who can not compete on price with the online offering.  If the showrooming is a problem, why not take advantage of it and provide the most comfortable environment?

 

Mobile March 2014

mobilemarchLast few years I was looking forward to Mobile March, and the event has always been very good.  The only unpredictable is the weather – it varies from snow on the ground to 70+ degrees for the lovely day 🙂   This year the event was excellent, the weather was… hm… cold.

Notes from the event:

  • The perception of mobile marketing is changing from “have to have a mobile presence”  (cost of doing business) to “how to re imagine your business” (What is ROI?  What is differentiation?)
  • Search: 25% of searches use mobile, 50% of mobile have local intent
    • Most important question of search: what is the outcome you want to achieve?
    • If web site is not good, call to action for a phone call is advisable
    • Google using mobile experience as a ranking factor
    • Speed of the mobile site – pay attention, but do not get obsessed (nobody figured it out yet)
    • Google developers test site – allows to see Google recommendations
    • C-suite executives can be found searching primarily 9-5 (business hours)
    • Mobile search – click through rate drops significantly from spot #1 to the bottom of the first page – almost 90%
  • BuzzFeed
    • buzz50% of the traffic is mobile (more web mobile traffic rather than an app views); major referrals are Facebook and Pinterest
    • App has higher user engagement vs. web visits
      • Web: read article and leave
      • App – stay and spread content
    • Recruitment of mobile engineers is difficult; the recruit should be involved into the community
    • Use Google Analytics for mobile – why?
      • the same analytics that web site is using
      • data team is comfortable with GA
    • If the app crushes, the review button does not show…   but the feedback button does 😉
  • YouTube lessons
    • Women tend to spend more money based on YouTube activities
    • Older people watch the entire video, then comment…  millenials watch part of the video and comment
    • Thumbnail matter – upload a custom thumbnail; color of the thumbnail also matters (red is not good – danger – the example was very attractively purple)
  • Mobile Behaviours
    • Before: technology moved from military to the civilian life…   now, civilian technology is often used by military – interesting.  US Military is using Android.
    • From the retailing perspective, Starbacks is the leader in the mobile space

JingIt – a loyalty program allowing advertisers to “pay” customers for trying their products or doing a survey, and customers to earn real money for these actions.  Value proposition for the advertisers – it is an alternative to advertisement when you know exactly for which action you are paying and can

  • jingComparing to all types of encouragement to take action, customers prefer cash
  • Loyalty app “paying” people for doing something, including trying a new product or taking a survey
  • If not app, another option is to scan a receipt, etc.  there are many options, but it is as straightforward yet, as it could be
  • Digital coupons are different from paper coupons – in some cases merchants were not able to “stop” them and could not honor the coupons, as a result, consumer trust in electronic coupons may not be that high
  • Jingit case studies section has interesting scenarios for advertisers

 

SalesFitnes – a concept of sales training to encourage practice and even possibly competition between reps.  The training is done through the app (native – iPad, as the most popular platform in the target audience).

Interesting: the app comes “out of the box” with standard content for a typical consultative sales training, but can be significantly customized for any product training and unique company’s needs.  SalesFitness also ready to provide a service of developing content specific for the company’s needs – I am guessing it will be the best strim of the revenue for the company (just a guess…  based on long-time experience in the online marketing industry) 😉

sssss

salessss

Mobile Twin Cities – PickPointz Sports App Case Study

2020-marketingLoyalty Marketing has been used by marketers widely.  Mobile activities seem to be a useful tool in the loyalty marketer tool kit.

Typically, loyalty marketing is an activity that happens after transaction, and in most cases it is “passive” – mostly in the form of re-ordering.  Mobile can bring “active” loyalty.

“We did not start out to build an app”

Objective: transforming the sports viewing experience.  80% of people multitask while watching TV – loyalty marketing can give people something to do during downtime.

This is the only sports app that gives its users any tangible reward – the “points” can be redeemed for real products right from the app by “purchasing” the products with earned points.

  • pickpointzThere is no cost to play
  • Advertisement is integrated into the app
  • Fantastic ability to serve ads in different formats – generates high number of impressions
  • Animated ads seem to have higher CTR
  • Points are redeemed at the advertiser’s stores accessible directly from the app
  • 75% of people use iPhone
  • Fans stay at the app over 5 hours on Sunday
  • No need to create content – games themselves created content that is used by the users and the app
  • Billions are spent on sports ads – this is another way
  • No need to involve teams and leagues.  Typically, teams and leagues want their own app, and this is not quite the preference of the fans
  • People are using the app because they want rewards 🙂
  • Consumer Surveys receive many responses very quickly as filling out the survey results in earning more points 🙂   One brand survey received over 100% of participation (!!) – as completing it generated points, consumers were happy to do it on more than one device.
  • A user can realistically earn $25 in less than two months

From the loyalty marketing perspective: ideal approach is to create habitual daily activity that is based on something currently present.  To achieve frequency, you must leverage something that the target audience is already doing frequently.  Consumers will come to you if you connect them with their passions.

Many apps used just once…  This app is used very frequently.  However, it is very understandable – how many times will you use an augmented reality app?  Not many…

pp2Activity must be dynamic – consumers bore quickly.  Once logged in, always logged in…

Advertising challenges:

  • Possibility of ads testing is not always used enough…  if the ads are not working, they can be changed.  However, businesses did not always had capacity to produce enough ads and do it quickly.
  • Companies struggle to advertise differently to the mobile consumer.  There is no need to put exactly the same content into all channels – not everything that makes sense on a desktop makes sense on the mobile device.

Very interesting – there is lack of understanding of mobile advertisement and mobile marketing among marketers… In many cases, marketers believed that if the “have an app” – check box is checked and it is all the company needs to do.  Even if the app does not make sense for the business and does not have objectives (or does not achieve them).  There is also a perception that “oh, we spent so much money on that app – we need to make it work…”   Spent money are sank costs, and marketing is very different from app development.

The company, 2020 Marketing, conceived the business idea for the app, but did not build it – building was outsources to a different organization with deep development expertise.

Below is the video used to introduce the app to the consumers.

MN Search – Mobile

Excellent event!  Three superb presentations; Aaron Weiche’s presentation is probably the best one on mobile marketing topic I encountered so far 🙂

The most interesting concept from Aaron’s presentation is complexity of technical issues in our world, and rather limited impact mobile strategy can create (at this point in history 😉  ).

grand

Mobile User Experience starts from user’s objective.  Why would you access Target.com from:

  • targethome?
  • road?
  • inside the store?

According to where the person is the need for the information and user experience varies.  Questions need to be addressed:

  • Who?
  • Where?
  • Which device?
  • Goal?

After this exercise all user goals and business goals are listed and prioritized.

user-goals

Prioritization allows company to agree on what is more important (and what content is more important) before any content has been created.  Then, the content prioritization is applied to the site’s architecture.   All of these activities happen before design phase starts.

user-goals-ia

Basic principles of mobile:

  • Keep it simple in terms of design
  • Keep it simple in terms of content
  • Reduce “digging”
  • Take advantage of native capabilities

Know thy user, and YOU are not thy user

Proliferation of mobile is happening fast, Even Google thinks that mobile is faster than they anticipated.  However, mobile has significant challenges and marketers seem to be struggling with these challenges.  Ha!  It feels identical to our struggle with first generation of web sites 😉

almost literal translation of the web site into mobile site does not result in a good site from user’s or marketing perspective.

mobile-nav

How navigation is handled in mobile?  Use “hamburger” icon.  Even Microsoft is using it 😉

hamburger

Mobile channel can be served differently, and companies have different approach to their mobile customers.

mobile-types

Responsive design – the site design is “fluid” – one content that is presented differently on different devices; content is the same, some pieces of content may disappear depending on the browser size.

Dynamic (or adaptive) design – the site design is specifically adjusted for certain type of devices; content is the same, but it is positioned differently based on the specific device where the site is viewed.

Parallel design – the mobile site is completely different from the main company site.

Wonderful example of mobile specifics – mobile situation suggests that most likely the user would find phone number that can be tapped is more important than other information normally presented on the main site.

Mobile-layout

Interesting points:

  • Responsiveness of the site is not a ranking factor
  • Google bot and Google Mobile bot are different
  • Mobile SERP is changing more often (Google)

Need for testing of major changes:  one organization was going through brand change and took advantage of the moment with major home page upgrade, including HTML5, parallax, etc.  Unfortunately, the conversion dropped 20% and nobody noticed the drop for a few months.  Now the company has a rule of testing all changes for the home page.

Screen sizes – a list of popular devices with corresponding screen sizes (and popularity!)

screen

Aaron’s complete presentation:

UXPA – Contextual Task Analysis for an Enterprise Mobile App

traneThis event worth the drive to the opposite side of the city in traffic 😉  Very insightful presentation – a wonderful overview of creation a usable app and considering customer and business needs.

A few points from the presentation:

  • trane-app-2One of the reasons for the creation of the app is pressure from the competition.  As apps became more common, system specifications included an app as a requirement and a company would not be considered in the selection process if this requirement would not be satisfied.  Interesting: the app is becoming a part of the product itself – an extension of the functionality rather than a promotional element.  The app increases the attractiveness of the product itself.
  • To be useful, the app requires a specific piece of equipment; so far there were more app downloads than equipment sold – it indicates the app popularity.
  • The company decided not to charge anything for the app – as it was technically the extension of the product and the objective was to sell the product itself.
  • trane-app-3The objective of the app was to make “something useful” so this element of the product will be in the specifications of the requirements during next purchase cycle.
  • Two opposite options existed – to create “alarm log” – a minimalist app from the feature perspective or to include into the app “everything the PC has” – the app already had a PC version.
  • The team used contextual task analysis:  observation of the users in the context of their work (the product already existed online so it was possible to see how users interacted with the existing product.
  • Mobile contexts (from Tapworthy):
    • tapworthyMicrotasking (became for focus)
    • I am local
    • I am bored

Enterprise microtasking:

    • frequently performed
    • time sensitive
    • come up when the operator is away from his desk

Task analysis:

    • Which tasks to support
    • What are desired steps involved
    • What is the environmental context
  • The researches wanted to observe an average customer – not the most proficient, not the worst, but an average.  Several buildings and customers were observed.
  • The researchers did not ask about mobile; the objective was to observe how the current online application was used and what the target audience did during their work day.  Only at the end of the observation the question about the app was asked – in some cases, a particular type of user noted that no app was needed.

Questions

  • Two types of system users were identified, which became micro-personas for the effort:
    • Perry – a person who wanted to automate everything , a person comfortable using all features of the system
    • Stan – a person who tend to control equipment manually.  From the perspective of the engineers, this approach might be considered “wrong,”  but it gave the use needed tools for the specific job.  For example, a concerned employee comes to Stan’s cube and asks to increase temperature in his/her location – Stan opens the application and increases the temperature by half of a degree.  Though there will be no effect on the temperature, the person who stopped at Stan’s desk will happily leave and assume that his/her surroundings became more comfortable.
  • Only building operators were targeted for the app, but if the app is easy to use, it would find other users.  At the end, sales people (an unintended audience) liked the app too and used it during the sales demonstrations.
  • Evaluation of the existing online app showed that not everything was understood and used on the main interface.  Equipment graphics were linked and used.
  • The app adapts to a specific building; graphic appears only in the landscape mode

trane-app

  • Removing labels:  as much as possible labels were removed.  For example, just a word “occupied” was used and it was understandable what it was.  Different colors of font was used for current and desired temperature, and anything adjustable had obvious buttons to adjust the setting.  Removing labels allowed to remove clutter and add more useful data to the screen.
  • Unexpected: from the beginning of the project, adding schedules into the app was considered important.  However, because of scope creep of other essential features, the schedules were not added.  If the question about the schedules arise, the fact that schedule overrides are available eliminates any concerns. This is considered a right decision.

It was a wonderful event, and free coffee from Trane made my online marketing moment a little sweeter 😉

Mobile March 2013

mmThe main evolutionary progression from previous Mobile March conferences was probably highlight of mobile as one of business and marketing “parts” rather than its own entity.  “There is no mobile marketing, there is just marketing…” 

Gone are charts of explosive adoption of mobile devices (almost ;-)) at the same time as business objectives, integration with other channels and customer research take more slides in the presentations.  Mobile took its rightful place among other tools in modern marketing tool-set  -tools which unique capabilities can now be included into an overall marketing strategy.

Another interesting note from the conference: attendees lamented that few people use QR codes, but printed agendas were much more popular than QR codes leading to agenda among…  mobile marketers and developers 😉  Why?  Paper agenda is just so much more convenient!

Several presentations also paid tribute to “minimally viable product” in application to the mobile projects , what makes complete sense; mobile is just part of business.

A few points from the conference:

  • Four key principles of Mobile User Experience
  1. phonesThere is an intimate relationship between the user and their mobile device

Phones are rarely shared; when a person shows a mobile phone to another, it is usually shown in hand, and not given away.  When anybody takes a phone from a user (to make a payment) it does not feel comfortable

Assume privacy and ownership (password does not need to be hidden; but an option to do it helpful)

Too easy payments are uncomfortable for consumers – they feel too easy.  The user needs to know when the transaction happened.

Tablets are more likely to be shared, but there is a primary owner (tablets are a household device)

  1. Screen size implies user’s taste and also where user is using the device

In most cases, when we are using a mobile device we are waiting; we are not performing “big important tasks” – we are not completely engaged in the activity.  We would not watch the entire movie on the phone, but more likely on the tablet.  Similar relationship is observed with the spreadsheet

Phone:  maybe check a number

Tablet: maybe make a few corrections, but unlikely to create a new formulas, etc.

Computer: major spreadsheet work

We need to understand what is the user’s main relationship with the screen  – what is the context?

  1. Mobile interfaces are truncated, other interfaces are not

Long-form tasks are inconvenient on mobile.  Mobile is better suited for data collection than data entry.   Ideal approach is to instruct the device “to collect” data and leave it working (the jogging route, etc.)

Magic is the “killer feature”

Listen to your customers… but don’t.  Do one thing exceptionally well. Create experiences people want, but not necessarily asking for.

Thinking about a problem to solve: what is the single feature that you can make and make it “amazing” from the user’s perspective.  “Let us do one awesome thing”

Why people photograph food and not scan QR codes?  When you scan QR code, the interaction is starting, when the food if photographed, it is ending.

“Mobile is a little window in the big world”

  1. Design for mobile platforms – the big ones

Web app – a web site that looks like an app.  People expect to find web sites when they use a browser…  web sites should not look like an app.

Mobile apps – native apps should be about hardware (using native sensors of the device in the app).  You don’t need an app if you don’t have a problem that only an app can solve.  

ap-web

Wrong approach:  We want to do mobile strategy!
Right approach: Let us do a “grand experiment” first; let us do something simple and measure its impact.

  • Continuity is the new consistency.  Netflix – there is continuity, but the experience on each device is different from the other – it is specific to the device and the circumstances where/how the device is being used.  What does the person wants to do the most during that time using a particular device?
  • Mobil apps: performance is important – but it is important how fast it appears rather than how fast it is.  A loading screen can show earlier pre-loaded images during the loading process, etc.
  • Interactivity myth: people do not like “interactivity” on the “big screen,” however, people are happy to use “companion devices” while watching TV.
  • Bob Schukai, Global Head of Mobile Technology at Thomson Reuters said that he started his new job in a new company with a statement of everything that was wrong.   For many businesses his 12 page approach might be excessive, but the idea is fabulous – and a wonderful opportunity to track obstacles and successes.
  • Bob uses external agencies – the main benefit of external agency is their experience working with variety of clients.

Below are interesting videos promoting apps.  Apps need to be promoted as products, and many people don’t use apps more than just a few times.  If you are promoting a free app…  how does it help your business?  😉