Branding in the mobile web, challenges and opportunities
With the rapidly growing number of Smartphone and the diversity of screen sizes it’s practically impossible to ignore users that browse on a mobile device – especially for corporate and product brands. Whether they use an Android phone, Windows Mobile phone, a BlackBerry device or an iPhone, whether they are on a tablet, on a Smartphone or on a big screen, each user deserves the best brand and usability experience possible.
Indicators for the move towards mobile web
Forrester estimates mobile retail and travel spending increased 80% in 2011. Deloitte forecasts that retail store sales that are influenced by mobile interactions will account for $36 billion, or 5.1% of 2012 holiday sales. Mobile retail is the fastest-growing form of mobile commerce. These are just a few of the signs that retailers are looking to take advantage of the explosion of branded consumer app purchases.
- By 2014, mobile traffic to websites will exceed desktop traffic.
- By 2015, 81% of US cell phone users will have smartphones
- 86% of mobile Internet users use their mobile device while watching TV
- 43% of mobile Internet access occurs at home. Mobile is a critical part of the overall brand experience
- 76% of users expect a company's/organization mobile app to be easier to use than its website
- 76% think that brands should have mobile apps to make interacting and shopping with them easier
- 69% say a bad experience with a brand's mobile app results in a negative perception about that brand
A different approach for mobile
The number of screen-size options and variety of devices available to consumers is increasing at an incredible rate. How to provide an excellent brand and usability experience on mobile and tablet devices? Think different - mobile should come first, but mobile usage is (often) difficult due to:
- limited attention
- difficult input
- bad connection
- limited bandwidth
- no power supply
- physical context
Use in the downtime: home, queues, transit...
Branding meets usability – responsive web design
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile smartphones and tablets). An essential prerequisite for responsive web design are media queries, a concept which allows different designs depending on certain characteristics of the output medium. The following properties can be used as criteria:
- Size of the device
- Screen resolution
- Orientation (portrait or landscape)
- Input options (keyboard, finger gesture/touch, voice)
By keeping content and functionality consistent across devices, responsive design helps to deliver a seamless customer experience, to enhance your brand and boosting ROI while lowering development costs. Responsive design focuses on giving customers the content they want, on a device they prefer. RWD allows you to show or hide content and features that may or may not be relevant based on the screen size displayed. This ensures that your customers always have easy access to the most critical content and features, on every device.
Consistent, prioritized content
Focus on prioritizing content and the delivery through the channels. Work on providing a unique branding experience to make sure your users can distinguish your site. Think about the customer experience on any device or channel. Content may be presented in different format depending onscreen size, but should not change substantially. Consistent and brand-compliant content from a single source is the goal.
When your customer switches from their desktop to a mobile device or to any other channel, make sure the quality of their experience remains the same. Functionality depends naturally on the chosen device and the range of functional possibilities is growing fast. For example, GPS functionality is not relevant for a desktop, but it can be replicated by asking for a ZIP code or helping to find a nearby store of a favorite brand.
With responsive design, every site and application uses a single codebase. By working on a single output, you can successfully maintain content and branding consistency across all channels. Using a single codebase allows you to focus on content strategy first, and eliminates duplicate content development for each additional channel.
Author : Thomas Jauss
Date : 23-10-12
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