Is mobile so different?
When I read a recent article by SapientNitro’s Tatjana Dallmann-Krieger on mobile brand experiences (Note: article in German) I wondered what made her recommendation for mobile so special? Don’t get me wrong, her points are all valid: Relevance, Usability, Design, Performance, Fun. And more than often, I personally wish people would avoid technical gimmicks and pay a bit more attention to these.
Any effective communication needs to be relevant, understandable, timely, and pleasant. Many would know this from preparing a presentation, for example, rather than designing a mobile experience. If you took the time and prepared your slides correctly, you would research the topic, map out your audience’s needs, organize your ideas, test the concept, draft your communication structure, design slides, and rehearse. This is a proven way to influence and drive some action, e.g. a sale.
Interestingly a presentation and a mobile experience are very similar. You get the chance of more or less exclusive attention with your audience for a short amount of time, which you could lose pretty quickly. In mobile you have the additional challenge that politeness does not apply. In presentations it’s not uncommon to walk out after 30 seconds. Lost attention can be regained, but in mobile there are many possible mistakes leading to terminal abandonment of the communication scheme by the customer.
The uniqueness in designing effective mobile experiences doesn’t lie in “reduction”. Stressing the presentation analogy, great presentations often are completely minimized: less text, less information, more audience, more relevance. Yet, we have quite different kinds of “performances” in mobile and stage presentations, both the app’s and the presenter’s effective use of resources to influence are key but only unique by way of the medium used. I would call this “technique”, for which design needs to be aware.
So what is it? What makes mobile experience design so unique? I think Tatjana has a great point when she writes, “By no other way does the brand message gets so close to the audience then by the mobile device accompanying their owners around the clock throughout the day.”
When you think of a mobile experience as a constant companion, it will allow customers to remember you as an aid for certain situations in your daily life. The brand/app that is there quickly when needed and is humble enough to not waste precious time on the go will be well remembered. In this setting, it’s totally okay to leave a shopping basket half-filled or a transaction incomplete. It’s a mobile reality that I have to switch attention abruptly. A great experience allows customers to pick up where they left off and for the context to be personal. This personal context is the coherency of the brand in the customer’s multi-device world, allowing me to connect to it and continue from all my devices.
Today, none of the other devices in this multi-device world are as important as mobile, because its ubiquitous and personal nature is unique and key to brand experiences.
Gunnar Klauberg / @Aeroid
Product Marketing, Adobe CQ and Web Experience Management Mobile