While the industry has been talking about and executing on mobile for quite some time, mobile website design is still within the infancy stage. In speaking with many marketers and agencies currently entrenched within the mobile market, I have learned there are many assumptions made during the design process. When overlaying these conversational themes with mobile website evaluation (through use of on-site consumer feedback), there is a need to define these assumptions in an attempt to save those on a path to a flawed design.
Assumption No. 1: Create the design based on best-guess about reason for usage
From the beginning, one of the value propositions of mobile sites (an assumption, by my definition) is that consumers are using mobile sites to make purchase decisions while in the store at the shelf. Let's take a moment to dissect this, as I often hear that this proposition triggers brands to invest in mobile website design.
A few questions to think about when building a site for this type of mobile usage:
- Are consumers aware of or thinking about the mobile site while in store?
- Will consumers take time to slow down their shopping trip and check out mobile site offerings or are there other times of convenience?
- What is the likelihood of making a connection with the shopper? How many mobile sites can they actively visit during one shopping trip -- one, three, 12?
Seeing how mobile usage is growing, mobile site visitors are probably inclined to use these sites above and beyond a trip to the store. If this is the case, isn't it important to build a mobile site that caters to other needs beyond just an in-store visit? Choosing the wrong items to incorporate into mobile design is sometimes more detrimental to the brand than not having a mobile site at all.
For instance, in the case featured above, mobile visitors were using the site to find a store that carried the product ("where to buy"). However, the mobile site design was suited for an in-store experience only, hence overlooking a "store locator" feature on the m-site. Overall, when exposed to the mobile site purchase intent decreased 21 percent (leading to the conclusion that designing a mobile site with "guesstimates" is ineffective).