The five stupidest statements about mobile
In 2017 we will continue with chatbots, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Articial Intelligence and of course with beautiful native apps, hybrid apps, (progressive) web apps, instant apps and mobile friendly responsive and adaptive websites. 2016 was again the year of mobile. With Pokémon capturing smartphone kids, on their mobile phone, grown-up juveniles, screen-seeing public transporters and increasingly in restaurants the mobile version of the 'dining dead', or sociable together on date and then both your phone call.
In 2017 we will continue with chatbots, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Articial Intelligence and of course with beautiful native apps, hybrid apps, (progressive) web apps, instant apps and mobile friendly responsive and adaptive websites.
2016 was again the year of mobile. With Pokémon capturing smartphone kids, on their mobile phone, grown-up juveniles, screen-seeing public transporters and increasingly in restaurants the mobile version of the 'dining dead', or sociable together on date and then both your phone call.
You would expect with such a booming mobile year that most companies would understand mobile. Because mobile-ready and mobile first are gradually becoming essential to remain successful digitally. Nevertheless, the level is often quite sad. If you do not (yet) have such an understanding, do not worry. Read and wonder about what I've heard from (relatively large!) Companies over the past two years when it comes to mobile. And then not of the department 'We Walk Rather Behind Digital', but rather of those teams that were involved with the mobile applications.
"Ah, mobile phones are almost exclusively used on the road"
This comment was made by a gentleman who is in the mobile team of a large organization, while he -oh irony- kept his mobile phone (which he was still busy working on for two seconds) in his hand. He was obviously at work. We talked about the possibilities of the mobile app, and whether it should contain rich functionality. "Well, if it gives information quickly on the road, it's okay, " said this gentleman.
Readers, the time that a mobile phone was only used 'on the go', and so we only gave bare information of which we as a company ('why the consumer asks what he wants, then we think for them') thought that the consumer needed would have along the way, is long gone. Consumers are always and everywhere busy with their mobile phone. In the (often simultaneous) use of other screens, the mobile phone is always the first screen.
The number of hours we spend online via mobile has increased significantly in recent years. From 29 hours per month in 2014, to 40 hours per month in 2016. All growth online comes from mobile. It is therefore important to offer all your content and all your functionality on mobile. But in a way that works on mobile. Do not gossip your website on a small screen, but make sure that the complexity remains at the back and that an idiot proof screen remains at the front where the consumer intuitively arranges things with some tapping and swiping. And let that work always and everywhere at its best, so that the consumer always has an optimal experience with your services at home, at work and on the road.
"The website is under maintenance, can you also turn off the app?"
This comment was made by a decision maker within the e-commerce branch of a large organization. They were working on a major update of the website, and as often as is the case, on a website you temporarily show a page with 'we are busy with maintenance, apologies for the inconvenience'.
But, well, er, an app is on someone's smartphone. He or she downloaded it. And the pronated app icon is on someone's home screen. And the idea of a start screen is that every moment you want that as a consumer, you can start that app. You can not just let the app come out with a 'temporary out of business' sticker on it. And, the most beautiful thing is still: apps are made for offline use! Just when your website has maintenance, your app is your salvation. Of course, the complex (ordering) processes do not work if the back is also in maintenance, but you can let all content and other features work. For the parts that do not work, you show a neat error message. But otherwise the consumer can still use a digital channel from you. Ideal! An app 'switch off' readers, that is not possible. Fortunately, too.
"Can you also use the secure https for the app?"
This comment was made by a participant in the mobile steering group at yet another very large organization. This organization had decided to implement an omnichannel strategy. Only, where a recognizable User Experience (UX) about devices is basically a good plan, is this mainly about branding, style elements, patterns, use of colors, and so on. The Apple and Google platforms also have their own UX guidelines, and literally translating the internet into an app is not a consistent cross device experience. Anyway, this organization thought differently about that. For their consistency meant to make everything look exactly like the website. And from that philosophy I was presented with the nicest questions. Like these.
Readers, an https so that the consumer sees that an app is 'safe', is therefore not necessary. Apps are uploaded in an organization's official App Store account. Certainly, there are sometimes copy cats in the Stores. In my time at NU.nl, I regularly had to send out legally threatening e-mails to wacky Harry's who had put a NU.nl clone in the Windows store. But, this is more the exception than the rule.
If a consumer finds your app, this download from your App Store page, then it's okay. Your app is then 'safe'. Since these App Stores are closed environments where a wrong website can not appear, an https-like solution is not necessary at all. Apart from that, it is not possible either. Apps are not websites. A small addition: the API behind the app must of course be https.
"How will we translate the mouse-over into the app?"
Yes, again from the same mobile steering group. I can write an entire blog post about that steering committee. The biggest challenge in taking this place was to keep a strict and serious face to these questions.
Websites are of course a bit of old-fashioned digital things. We go very spastically with a mouse to a link and there we click with one finger via the mouse, whereas as physical beings we actually prefer to translate our wishes in a different way with our fingers in a digital action. An intuitive way. Anyway, the internet. And that mouse. If you slide over a piece of the website with a mouse where there is something to do (you can click here!), The cursor changes sometimes, or a piece of text may light up. You call that the mouse-over .
Well, in apps we do not do this kind of weird things. You can just sit anywhere with your fingers! Swiping over, tapping, pinching, a long press and so on. Well (web) apps and also the better mobile friendly website are somewhat logical. You know that the 'cells' in the NU.nl app can be tapped with an article title, just like the button row at the bottom of an app or website.
We all know how to use the hamburger menu, and we can even close open pages with a firm swipe. In some apps, you can still see a pressed state after tapping, to give the consumer visual feedback. A button then lights up slightly differently, so that you know you've touched it. But that does not really have to be. But mouse-overs, sorry, my finger is not a mouse. Just do that kind of mallet with the difficult to use internet of yesteryear.
"I do not care that it is not necessary. I want a home button. Everywhere."
This comment was made by De Eindbaas of a large organization. It was the 1.0 version of an app, which would ensure that the organization would finally also be mobile to approach. The final boss was still of the old stamp. I think the internet was already a big step, but mobile was really a few bridges too far. The app was beautifully designed, according to the latest UX guidelines of the relevant mobile platforms. With a kek burger menu, and of course a back-navigation from every detail page. But that did not mean anything to the boss. He did not understand that whole 'back navigation', and thought it was ridiculous. 'I just want to go directly from the page to the front page at the touch of a button'.
We talked, explained, demos until we weighed ourselves - but the man was adamant. We have made the button, and to a redesign of the app, this has the name of De Eindbaas. Let's call him Henk. With the Henk-button you could always go to the front page. Even though this gave a double navigation or sometimes a very illogical UX. Just because it's possible.
Readers, it's useful to follow the app UX guidelines from Apple and Google when designing an app. And for mobile-friendly websites, more or less the latest web design trends. This means that your mobile application or site is in line with all other apps and websites that the consumer uses. If you suddenly do something completely different, it is incredibly awkward and impractical for the consumer. And if the consumer does not understand your brand, chances are you have lost him or her. You can easily maintain your own style, but for the main patterns of interaction you simply follow the latest guidelines from Apple, Google or the web gurus.
How is it, that mobile?
I have just written a book about it. The reason that so many companies still have so little attention to mobile is that it often seems too complex and that the specific opportunities and especially earning opportunities are not yet sufficiently transparent. Yet that is all too bad. And have you, as a consumer, been a critical user of mobile apps and mobile friendly websites for a long time? Want to read more about how you can align your own Mobile Unit? How does your mobile get working? In a few days my book 'Mobile Unit, from disruption to digital strategy' will be published.