The World’s Going Mobile – Are You Ready?

January 30, 2019 Kamil Szwaba

These days, mobile devices matter. As the walls between desktop and mobile computing capabilities breakdown, many are preferring their more portable solutions at a greater and greater level. As a business, this is something you should be aware of. After all, it’s better to go with the flow then try to move against it.

Let’s put it another way – how long has it been since you used your mobile? If it’s within the last few hours, you’re not alone. The chances are your potential customers feel the exact same way.

This is why offering a dedicated and well crafted Mobile Experience is essential. These platforms are no longer an afterthought. In many situations, they can be the primary means of interacting with your company or service. Cut corners here and you risk losing such users to competitors that have taken the effort to provide a smooth and intuitive user experience (UX).

Mobile Devices Are On The Rise

We all know there are plenty of mobile devices in the world – but just how popular are they? According to Statista, there are around 4.57 billion mobile users in the world right now. Yet this is a number that is still growing. It is projected that, by the end of 2019, there will be 4.68 billion mobile users. That’s 67 percent of the world population.

It’s also worth noting that there is a growing shift in the type of phones being used. Right now, over half of these users – still over 2.25 billion people – own a smartphone and this figure is set to rise as older designs drop out of circulation and production. Of course, in different parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, this figure can be statistically higher.

The Mobile Lifestyle

So, why is it important to note that 2.25 billion people currently have a smartphone. On its own, this might not seem like something to pay heed to but, when you consider how these devices are actually used, the truth can be much more alarming.

According to a study conducted by Ofcom in the UK, 72% of people use their mobile device to access the internet, and a similar 72% say that their phone is their most important means of accessing the world wide web, while an astounding 92% say that accessing the internet is the most important aspect of their smartphone. If you’re trying to compete online, it’s safe to say many people will by accessing or experiencing your offers directly via their handheld device.

This, in many ways, highlights the dramatic shift in today’s lifestyle. People are starting to use smart devices as microcomputers on the go. When it comes to accessing information, services or products online, people don’t hesitate to use their phone first. This means having a strong, welcoming Mobile Experience is crucial.

Instant, On The Spot Results

As part of this mobile lifestyle, users expect their mobile and digital solutions to resolve their needs as easily as possible, without having to any additional work on their end. Whether it’s buying clothes, making an insurance claim or boarding an airplane, people expect their digital apps and services to do 100% of the work.

If your service requires people to take another action, they can get easily frustrated. For instance, if the customer journey ends with a phone number and the need to dial, or even asks them to visit your physical premises, many will instinctively shy away from this. After all, they chose your solution instead of doing this in the first place. The end result is a UX that doesn’t meet the user’s further needs. Your solutions need to offer instant satisfaction and resolution, rather than just being an additional link in an older, more traditional chain.

Mobile Experience Matters

According to Google, 51% of smartphone users have chosen to go with another company or brand because the original option didn’t provide the information they needed at that moment. In other words, they didn’t wait to use their first choice on a desktop or laptop – they stayed on their phone and went straight to an alternative, competing option.

Of course, it’s easy to dismiss this as Google’s focus is not quite the same (but it is something we’ll nonetheless discuss shortly), but how about this: “Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly”. So, even Google understands that a strong UX and UI is vital.

Furthermore:

  • 40% of people simply won’t return to said app or mobile site, resulting in a direct loss of potential customers.
  • 28% will be less likely to purchase from the company as whole.
  • 29% will directly jump to another competitor to meet their needs.

When it comes to offering the best Mobile Experience, there are no second chances. A dissatisfied user won’t simply wait until they access their desktop computer if other options are available. In fact, such a negative experience can actively harm their views of the entire brand, decreasing any chances of gaining a valued client – or losing an existing one.

Mobile First Index

As an example of how vital Mobile Experiences are, search engines such as Google are making it a priority for the information they serve. The best example of this is the aforementioned giant’s Mobile First Index.

In other words, Google has made it clear a strong Mobile Experience is essential. Websites and other online services need to offer everything your other equivalent services do and, what’s more, it needs to do so in a speedy, user-friendly manner.

An underdeveloped experience, on the other hand, will only be looked upon unfavourably. Perhaps we should think of it as the mobile first experience, as it’s more and more likely to be the very first impression users get when it comes to your company, product or service.

Identify Mobile User Experience Trends

Not everyone will use your service the same way. You can’t guide everyone down the same corridor. When it comes to the user interface, people need to be able to go where they need to.

This is one reason why it’s important to create various personas, based on the groups that are using your mobile app or product. For example, let’s assume you have a service that allows people to post reviews for local florists in their local area. Straight away, we can identify two different user groups:

  • Reviewers: people who are looking to find a business they used and post a review.
  • Business owners: people who want to see what people are saying about their service

Of course, this isn’t a complete list, as the actual results will not be so binary. For instance, what about people who will use your service to search and find new florists in their area?

In all of these cases, each persona should be able to smoothly navigate and find the features they need. By identifying these people, you can better understand their needs and pain points. Perhaps shop owners are significantly older than the average user, and not as intuitive with mobile apps, or your users are much more engaged and lack the social features they are typically use to. These are the needs the best Mobile Experiences readily address.

So, What Should Your Mobile Solution Be Doing?

It’s one thing to identify problems and areas of risk, but it’s another entirely to identify actionable solutions.

Your actual needs will, of course, vary depending on your industry and purpose of your mobile solutions. Yet, there are few common elements that most mobile applications should consider:

  • Is information clear and focused? Can users clearly read what needs to be read without any confusion?
  • Is the navigation fluid enough? Can a user smoothly get from one area to another without getting lost – and ideally doing it in as few taps as possible?
  • Do you offer mobile-specific options, such as buttons that can be tapped and areas that can be opened or closed, to better fit a mobile screen?
  • Are your load times acceptable? Users won’t stick around if your solution is slower than others.
  • Are you anticipating your user’s needs and ensuring they have to go through as few screens and processes as possible?
  • Is your solution set up to dynamically work between phones and tablets? Users with bigger screens shouldn’t have to use the exact same setup as smaller devices, and vice versa.

By directly examining and addressing these needs, you can start to create a better mobile solution that answers today’s user needs. If you’re looking for expert help in planning these improvements, our Mobile Experience workshop can certainly help!

What About Tablets?

You may have noticed that all the above information primarily focuses on smartphones. However, tablets are also something that needs to be considered. After all, they typically utilise the same assets, products and solutions as their mobile counterparts.

While the aforementioned figures don’t include tablets, this only means the actual numbers are effectively larger. In Ofcom’s study, while 78% have adopted a smartphone, 58% have adopted a tablet. While it’s likely that these audiences have a strong overlap, it nonetheless shows the significant of these larger smart devices as well.

Since many app stores and markets don’t easily differentiate between tablet and mobile-specific products, it’s typically best to create a mobile solution that can dynamically scale up to make use of the extra screen size (and change in dimensions) that tablets utilise.

Going Mobile!

If it wasn’t clear, the mobile element of your business isn’t something that can be ignored. If you haven’t already established mobile versions of your services, now is certainly the time to start. If you’re already offering this, it’s worth ensuring they are up to date with modern standards – don’t risk losing users and customers due to an outdated experience.

Given that the highest rate of smartphone usage lies with younger generations, it’s safe to say this increase in mobile usage is only going to increase in the foreseeable future.

If you’re still not convinced, look at your business on your phone and just ask: “could this be done better?”

Business Perspective

As mobile devices become more commonplace, so too does the need for a powerful, smooth Mobile Experience. Users expect to access your services on the go without any compromise. As smartphones and tablets take over everyday life, your business needs to ensure it’s putting its best foot forward. Whether you’re just starting a new service or want to update your older ones, the importance of mobile UX can not be underestimated.

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