If 2012 was the year of the mobile, it is clear that with the rapid introduction of 4G on the networks, and with less than 50% of brand sites being mobile-ready today, 2013 will be the year of… the mobile. Saying so, however, is omitting one very crucial element of what makes the mobile experience so important: the User. Let’s therefore declare 2013 the year of the Mobile User.
The User at the forefront
More than ever, how and what your website displays on a device says a lot about your brand and your organization. The mobile, tablet or desktop experience that brands offer to their customers should nowadays be considered as an integral part of the overall brand experience. It is a reflection of how much time has been spent thinking about the digital customer journey. Take, for example, the Restaurant industry. Too often visitors are faced with a website that is not optimized for mobile at all, or a slimmed down version of a website where the most important information is difficult to access.
Analytics as the building block
Before embarking on designing a mobile version of a website, the first thing a marketer should be doing is look at the analytics, where many answers to the information architecture lay. The most visited sections of your website and the keywords that led to these sections always give some serious pointers. In the case of the QSR industry, 3 areas come to mind: Where can I eat? (that’s the restaurant finder), What can I eat? (the menu), How much is it going to cost? (menu, offers, vouchers).
Get to the point and make it easy
Mobile users browse on their mobile for very good reasons. And one of these reasons is not because they find it pleasant to crane their neck in a train or at a traffic light and browse with one finger. It’s easy to imagine that users access your website on a mobile because it’s the only device available to them at that very point in time, or the most convenient to them right now. Whatever their reasons, mobile users need to access accurate information quickly and in a way that works perfectly on their mobile device, regardless of its size. As a result, a mobile website should never be the poor cousin of the “main website”, and any decent Marketing Manager should declare war on PDF. Just think for a minute what asking a mobile user to download a PDF says about your brand: do you really care about your customers?
Many devices, one website
Think about the increasing variety in device size across mobile phones, tablets, tablet/laptop hybrids and laptops. iPad screen sizes now range from 7.9inch to 9.5inch, mobile smart phones start from 3inches and tablet/laptop hybrids start at 11inches. The only way to answer the screen size dilemma is to deliver the same content to all sizes and make sure that your website will respond to the screen size of the device it is accessed from.
Device-discrimination is no longer acceptable and, just like today’s normal marketing principle where it is the customer that dictates the demand; it is the user that dictates the device, not the brand. And in 2013, forcing your customers to use a certain device to access the information will be as obsolete as an ad in the Yellow Pages.