Mobile gives brands a significant opportunity to reach consumers on the go, but many haven’t been able to figure out the right way to deliver a quality mobile experience. A poorly designed mobile site can create a disjointed, confusing and cluttered experience which doesn’t foster brand loyalty or drive sales — all important goals for brand marketers. It’s not just about creating a great desktop website and squeezing that onto a smaller screen. Brands need to think about mobile first design.
Responsive is Essential
A quarter of people in the US own three devices — a laptop, smartphone and tablet. Based on the current US population of 313 million, that’s over 78 million people owning around 230 million devices, most of which have varying screen sizes and resolutions. Developing a single, consistent and seamless web experience that plays well on any device is a huge challenge.
Responsive design is the best way to ensure that a single website adjusts its layout depending on the size of the screen on which it’s being viewed. Instead of shrinking down a desktop website to fit on a smartphone screen, responsive design redistributes the text and images on a screen to stack and flow accordingly. It gives the viewer a seamless viewing experience, while keeping websites consistent across multiple devices.
Cater to the End User
Responsive design is a great start, but when it comes to creating the actual website content and experience itself, brands must remember that it’s all about the end user. Whether it’s a site for sharing content, connecting through social communities or simply transactional, everything should be designed with the end-user experience in mind.
Before tackling a mobile website project, IT teams must clearly define who their end user is, what they will search for and what they will do on the mobile website. Take time to research and evaluate your customers’ behavior and preferences online. Start small, and remain agile enough to change your mobile website as you uncover more information about user behavior.
Personalized experiences are a big part of catering to the end user. They are bombarded with brand messages online, and to stand out in a sea of clutter you need to create something unique to the individual's wants and needs. What’s more, the content on your mobile site should be contextually relevant — delivered to the right user at the right time, in the right format based on the device being used. Real time signals like geolocation can help you create this contextually relevant experience, pushing content to users at the moment that it would be most interesting or useful to them. This next level of personalization will make brands stand out among the competition.
If you haven’t been doing so already, it’s time to get serious about your brand’s presence in the mobile world. Make revamping your mobile efforts a priority, and don’t just assume that your desktop site will automatically translate to mobile. It’s a mobile world, and brands need to dive in.
About the Author
Tom Wentworth is the chief marketing officer at Acquia, responsible for global marketing strategy and execution. He has spent most of his 18 year career in the web content management, most recently at Ektron where he served as chief marketing officer. Follow him on Twitter and read his Acquia blog on content management and digital marketing.
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