“We need to go mobile”. Well, what does is mean? Here are 3 definitions of “mobile” that totally contradict each other, and you need to consider them all!
In a world where “mobile first” is a mantra for new startups and expressions like “adopt to mobile or die” scares and confuses the established market leaders I think it’s time to punch a hole in the bubble and define what we really mean.
1) The mobile technology
When is a device mobile? When you can carry it around? in that case, everything from laptops to mobile phones are mobile. But that’s rarely what we mean. We usually mean “mobile phones”, but the concept recently became more complex with tablets entering the arena.
What this really boils down to is that mobile phones and tablets are built on a different platform than old fashion computers with different user behaviour. We use touch and gestures rather than keyboard and mouse. We use apps over surfing the web. Your strategy for mobile technology need to include how your user will use your product. Are you building an app or a website. If you are using video or audio, is it in a format that is supported by mobile devices? Can you (and should you) use the same third party services like before, like ad server or analytics tracker?
2) The mobile screens
Screens in different sizes have been around since the dawn of Internet, and in the beginning it was a relatively small variety. With phones and tablets getting access to the internet, the previously rather small issue became larger and poured gasoline on the fire for trends like responsive web design.
Adapting to the different screens is not a mobile strategy, but we like to call it that because it’s phones and tablets that look bad. Today, there are hundreds of screen sizes – from smart TVs to mobile phones, so you need to have a scalable screen strategy for different ways of viewing your data in your app or website.
3) The mobile customer
Your customer can user your product anywhere. If they can’t you are doing it wrong. But with mobility comes lots of opportunities and considerations. Your users’ connection to the internet can vary a lot. They can use your product in the comfort of their home, abroad or for just five minutes on the bus.
For an e-commerce company this is particularly important. In what location and when are customers likely to develop purchasing behaviour. Are there some products that are more interesting when they are at work or at home? When are they likely to show something they found online to a friend? Are they more likely to discover a product on Facebook than on Google when they are on the bus? When will the customer complete a purchase transaction? Your strategy for the mobile customer has very little to do with technology and very much to do with marketing. Be sure to get the strategy right and know your customer.
These three perspectives are scratching the surface of ”mobile” and are closely tied to how we as consumers (and producers) are developing new user behaviours. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Picture by: Garry Knight (CC)