Developing a mobile experience

Experience. Experience is so important, I believe that it is also under valued. It is talked about I’m sure, but not really considered as carefully as it should be, or deserves. My definition of experience is closer to what Wikipedia calls User Experience (UX), it states that experience  –

Is about how a person feels about using a product, system or service…experience is subjective in nature, because it is about an individual’s feelings and thoughts about the system. User experience is dynamic, because it changes over time as the circumstances change.

Experience design, or designing a good, useful, considered,  common sense experience should be at the core of most things. For example, the shopping mall experience, let me break it down for you. Imagine this you arrive at the mall to find a car parks that are cleverly spaced apart, it gives you sufficient room to open and close your car doors and boot-space. You find that all the entrances to the mall are close to parks and are well marked, hell, perhaps there is even a mobile app developed by the mall developers / owners that shows you where you have parked and where the shops are situated that you have planned to visit. You enter the mall to find that the climate is carefully monitored and controlled in relation to the outside temperature. The lighting in the Mall is also well considered, it is very natural and is easy on the eyes. The restrooms have a generous space for mothers and parents to change and feed children. There are plenty of big comfortable seating strategically placed so that husbands, and fathers can be comfortable while waiting for their partners.  You get the picture that I’m trying to painting. Build brilliant experiences.

Let me try and tie this into mobile and social context. A New Zealand Herald article supported by research from PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that Kiwi’s are tipped to spend up to $2.7 billion dollars online over the next 12 – 24 months. The article goes on to say that online shopping via mobile devices is also on the rise in New Zealand “mobile shopping has been one of the key drivers of online retail sales in the last 12 months and will continue to drive sales in the next year”. The same article stated that “more than a third of the 200 consumers surveyed were using a smartphone or a tablet to buy online; a similar number followed an online shopping site on Facebook”. Not only are people in New Zealand buying more online using their mobile devices, but they are also using their mobile devices and social media apps/ tools to follow and interact with brands that they are loyal to or have an interest in. To me that sounds like a huge opportunity. What kind of experience will prospects and customers have? Is your organisation ready to make the most of this opportunity? Do you have a website optimised for mobile devices / users and an effective social media strategy?

A recent Mashable article also states a way to grow business online is for your business, brand, or organisation to have a mobile friendly website. A mobile friendly website means that ” your customers can access information on the go, wherever they may be. It also means they’ll be more likely to share your site with friends, since they’ll be able to pull it up and show it to others, even when not at a computer.” Too many sites are not mobile friendly, those experiences to put it frankly suck.

Experience needs to be carefully planned out and designed to meet the needs, tasks, and requirements of your consumers / users. Great experiences build relationships by bringing brands and consumers closer together, they make consumers feel valued, considered, and will engender loyalty. Develop authentic real and engaging experiences.

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It’s a Social, Social World

Video. Social media guru’s from big business get together to discuss where things are heading and the impact of social media and mobile.

  • 1.6 Billion Mobile phones sold will be sold this year.
  • We are now hyper-connected, mobile makes this easier.
  • A guy who has and uses 12 mobile devices at one time (to understand the user experience).
  • Social media the most influential tool in journalism than the printing press.
  • Social media can help amplify the voices of those who are not being heard.
  • How to harness the power and value of social networks to help solve social issues.
  • User created content

See the link below. Word.

http://fora.tv/2011/07/01/Knowledge_Exchange_Its_a_Social_Social_World

Social Media & Transparency

This is big. Something that I have written about in recent posts. Social media will require organisations and businesses to “walk their talk”, accountability and responsibility for business decisions and processes via social media networks. A recent Forbes article reports the following –

 “Welcome to what political analyst and writer Micah Sifry has dubbed “the uncomfortable Age of Transparency.” Sify argues that we are in a generational and philosophical struggle between older, closed systems and the new, open culture of the Internet. Despite the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the publication of secret documents continues around the world, and citizens are demanding more accountability from government leaders and corporate executives.”

If you talk smack about being able to deliver x, y, and z and don’t, unsatisfied customers will spread that across their social networks like twitter.

Here’s an example – I tried to get support for a product that I brought, the organisation claimed that they provided “killer support”. I tried to access support through traditional channels but got little support or response. I decided to use Social Media to illicit a response. See the screen shots below.

After all that I was asked to “consider reverting or updating” my tweet as “Each bad social word hangs over” them forever. If you talk about providing “Killer Support” and do not it will catch up with you. Social media transparency. Another pointed quote from the same article –

“Someday you’ll be busted. Anything you do will be known. Social media’s gonna get you, and if you’re lying we’re gonna know,”

Kevin Roberts the CEO of Saatchi (in this video) talks about the need to develop an intimate understanding of  your user / customers. From my point of view (again something that I have posted about recently) it all about customer / end user experience. If really understand what your end user / customer is about or what they need and want you will be better able to craft engaging positive experiences that they will rave about . No BS.

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Link to the full Forbes story – http://blogs.forbes.com/csr/2011/07/12/transparency-social-media-is-forcing-you-to-tell-the-truth/

Social media proof

in my corner of the world sometimes it seems as though the effects of social media are or were a way off. I base this on conversations that I have had with with friends and family, sure everyone uses Facebook that’s a give-in. As soon as I mention the likes of Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, or even Google + all I get is bamboozled looks like “what the hell”. Then I have to describe and explain what they are and why they are so awesome and useful.

I know and understand the value of social media especially when you add mobile into the mix. Over the last couple of weeks I have had proof that it is relevant, even in New Zealand.

As they say a picture can convey 1000 words, follow the below images –

As you can see, a customer has shared their experience with a business using social media. From right inline at a store using mobile web, this is point of influence. If someone from NZ Post was listening, or if they had a decent mobile / social media strategy they could react quickly to ‘real-time’ customer experiences. This in turn would increase customer satisfaction and help to increase positive customer experiences, your customers would spread the word about their experiences with their friends and family, “I had a really good experience at NZ Post , I tweeted about my experience and they reacted”. The very least if they were listening they could have responded and showed their customers that their concerns are valued.

Erik Qualman in his book Socialnomics said this about the value of social media feedback “effective companies and people relish critical online feedback. They use this information to make themselves more competitive by improving their products and services in the eyes of the consumer.” It’s not that hard to listen and engage with customers using social media, get a strategy and get moving.

If you need some help you could contact the awesome folk at Radian 6 who will help you effectively get on the pulse of your social media monitoring needs.

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Growing up digital

Seems like I’m always going on about this however, technology changes and influences the way we live. Growing up in the 80’s in small town New Zealand I really could not imagine the technologies that are every day common place in 2011.

In my mind technology is an enabler, its a pathway to deliver what ever you need. Smart people will develop ideas, solutions, and innovations that will disrupt the current way of doing stuff these in turn will create new opportunities. Devices like the iPhone and iPad  are great example of this, amongst other uses they are the new battle ground for business. Mobile devices are always with us, always on, always connected, the user is ready to interact and engage with you the via the mobile web, social media, SMS, QR Codes and the list goes on.

The mobile device is an effective way to communicate with and influence the consumer. How? Become OBSESSED with the end user experience, get an intimate understanding of their needs, tasks, and requirements.

Check out the below video, it’s kind of related.

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