Android, best mobile user experience, High Start Group, HTML5, iOS, Kibits, Mass TLC, mobile platform, Nitzan Shaer, RueLaLa, user experience

Mobile Seminar: Best Practices for Building the Best Mobile Experience

By: Nitzan Shaer, Founding Partner, High Start Group
How often do you have an experience on a mobile phone that
you describe as “wow”? How often have you felt that you really enjoyed it or
got what you needed in 5-30 seconds? Of the 700,000 mobile apps, only a small
number meet the high watermark of truly outstanding mobile applications.
However, with 2013 being the year when the majority of people will access the content
through a mobile device rather than a PC, one would think we should be much
further along in creating outstanding apps. Evidently it isn’t easy. At all.
Earlier today I had the opportunity to give a talk (you can
see the slides here) and later moderate a panel on just that topic – “Building
the Ultimate Mobile User Experience – best practices for creating great mobile
experiences”.  The event was organized by
MassTLC (Thank you Sara Fraim!) and our panelists, Tom Weisend (Vice
President, User Experience, RueLaLa), Matt Cutler (CEO, Kibits), and Christine
(Director of User Experience, Carbonite),
shared their ‘case study’ on mobile solutions and key insights. There was a lot
of ground covered, but here are the points that resonated the most with
Know thy
mobile user
. By far the most important takeaway of the day was to get to
know who your mobile user is, what they want to do on mobile (very different
from desktop) and when they use mobile. Matt shared that he solicits and
reviews feedback from every new customer, uses TestFlight to test versions before
App Store approval and tracks performance with Localytics. Christine emphasized
the importance of ‘testing in the wild’, iterating quickly and seeing how users
react to the app in their ‘natural habitat’ rather than in a usability room.

winning platform
: iOS came up on top as the preferred development platform,
followed by Andorid and lastly Mobile Web. Tom shared that 37% of all RueLaLa
business is coming from mobile and he hopes to see that number grow beyond 50%
in the not too distant future. The vast majority of this traffic comes to them
from iOS; less than 5% comes from Android. He sees Mobile Web mainly as a way
to get casual users in, but ideally only as stepping stone to the app. Matt
noted the challenge of developing on multiple platforms simultaneously, before
you ‘crack the case’ and know exactly what the winning experience is. All
agreed that HTML5 has been overhyped and is a challenge to develop on for
anything other than the very basic of sites. Indeed, on average, iOS delivers 3
times more revenue than Andoid, even though their install basis are comparable.
Recently developers have started to take note, and preference for Android has
begun to drop.

And top performance matters even more. Users expect instant gratification
on mobile and don’t have the time or patience for slow response times. There
are many elements that contribute to slow response time – from size of pictures
being loaded, database access, algorithms used, or even creation of the ‘illusion’
of fast response times. Matt compared user expectation to one of his favorite
singers (see video of Flow here)
and Tom described the experience created by using retina-display quality
photography for all RueLaLa products.
wait on the sidelines.
Christine emphasized how cautious companies can be
with mobile. But rather than waiting for your application to be “best in
class,” she encouraged companies to release version 1 and to iterate off of
that.  Releasing their mobile application
helped Carbonite stay ahead of competitors and plugged into their consumers.
Everyone agreed that their mobile apps weren’t built overnight. They were
the process of many, many different iterations. Matt explained for Kibits, they
started broadly and then narrowed down exactly the right methodology for making
changes. Christine mentioned a test that Carbonite is currently conducting on
10% of its user base. There are new developments in mobile all the time. Your
product should evolve and take advantage of these new opportunities.
Many mobile apps face the grim reality of having less than
5% of people open the app 30 days after download. Designing a compelling and
engaging mobile app can be hard, but there are many learning’s to be shared and
many ways to get to the right result faster.
If you have additional mobile experience best practices to
share (if you were at the event or not), please join in on the conversation
below. To view my presentation click here;
to view Christine’s presentation click here.
High Start Group
Start Group is an innovation and strategy-consulting firm focused on defining
and delivering breakthrough solutions for its technology, financial services
and retail clients. We believe that products and services succeed only when
the needs and aspirations of customers are fully realized. To achieve this, we
leverage innovative research methods, our entrepreneurial experience, and a
relentless focus on breakthrough results. We’ve successfully helped a range of
companies—from fast-growth startups to leading international brands including
AT&T, Santander, PayPal, LogMeIn and many others. To learn more, please
visit www.HighStartGroup.com

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