Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Designing for the Smartphone

It seems the hottest objective to have on an eCommerce roadmap for 2011 is actually m-Commerce. In fact, in a survey from BIGresearch for NRF, a remarkable 26% of consumers actually made purchases from their phones.

So what are the biggest considerations to keep in mind when design a mobile site? Here is a list of very important decisions that must be made before getting started:

1.) What is the overall business objective of designing for a mobile phone? E.g., is it to build awareness, allow shoppers to compare products while in the store but purchase in a brick and mortar location, is it to get them to do the conversion on the phone? These decisions should shape the design of your mobile site. If you are designing to convert a browser into a purchaser, make sure it is easy to create a quick checkout profile. If you are designing for checking availability of products in brick and mortar locations, make sure the location and availability of products is clearly laid out from the home page.

2.) Assume to redesign your e-Commerce site for the phone. This includes graphics as well as content. Remember, real estate is small.

3.) Identify the top 3-4 phones your consumers use and design specifically for these phones.

4.) Build in time to test, test, and test some more. There are many emulators available today to help you test on many different types of phones.

5.) Keep in mind when creating the design, that certain programming languages don't work well or even at all on certain phones. E.g., flash will not work on an iPhone.

6.) Make call to actions big and easy to use on touch screen phones.

7.) Consider building an app or two for the most popular phones your customers use. This will make it much easier and more convenient to shop your store.

8.) Keep it simple. Avoid zoom in features and scroll options. These work differently from phone to phone and often don't work well.

9.) Consider adding more video and audio marketing to your mobile commerce site. This is extremely convenient for users if they are in a store looking for a list of materials that need to be purchased or are in need of a how to video in their backyard or garage. Make your mobile site an easy and quick to obtain experience since often the user is in need of instant and actionable information.

10.) Build in GPS capable features that allow customers to find nearest sales, locations, etc. without constantly telling the site where the user is.