Tag Archives: mobile

Following the crowd to mobile: Why you need to optimize for devices

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 4.54.53 PMThis month, over 1 billion people will use Facebook from a mobile device. Of that billion, 399 million will never see their newsfeed on a computer screen – about 30% of all active Facebook users access the site exclusively through mobile. Mr. Zuckerberg’s ubiquitous social network is not unique in this; last year, for the first time, Americans spent more time on their smartphones than on their computers, and in January 2014 mobile apps surpassed desktop browsing in total share of internet usage.

mobilewebusageWeb usage on mobile devices vs. computers: mobile is already ahead

Everywhere, the importance of mobile is growing. The effect is disproportionately strong in online commerce, where mobile has rapidly overtaken desktop as the primary setting for customer interaction. Companies like StubHub have seen a majority of their traffic flock to mobile, where a ticket is now purchased every 6 seconds. 67% of online consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose site is optimized for mobile; 30% are liable to abandon a purchase midway through the process if the shopping experience is not mobile-friendly.

That’s why it’s so important that your online presence is carefully designed to cater to the mobile masses. As much as people love to online shop on their phones and tablets these days, rising expectations or shorter attention spans or the proliferation of choices or some other variable has created a finicky mobile market. It is not enough to simply offer online shopping for mobile – consumers want streamlined, user-friendly mobile shopping experiences that look good, feel comfortable, function smoothly, and inspire trust and credibility.

In a 2013 survey by Jumio, two-thirds of mobile consumers reported abandoning a purchase – half of them because the checkout process just took too long or was too difficult. Another quarter said their purchase failed because it didn’t go through, and still more cited concerns for the security of their payment information. Clearly, despite the ever-increasing importance of mobile, most online retailers aren’t doing enough to maximize the opportunities it offers.

Of course, as with everything, there are exceptions. Florist ProFlowers optimized their website for mobile devices and saw a 20-30% increase in their conversion rate. Not only that, they found that having a well-designed mobile presence increases conversions on desktop devices as well. That’s because mobile visitors are much more likely to return to your site on their computer if they are satisfied with their mobile experience, thanks to high rates of device-switching to accomplish tasks online.

So, are you optimizing your online presence for mobile? Think about the people using your mobile website or app as it is today: are you confident that they would be willing to input their credit card information without hesitation? That they would be able to read your content and descriptions without pinching and zooming? That they would feel at ease navigating through your menus, search results, and product pages?

Or would they be part of the 47% that felt the checkout process was so long and tortuous as to make it not worth their time?

Mobile is too big to ignore. No more crossing your fingers and hoping your website designed for the computer screen will be good enough for the demanding mobile audience. It’s time to listen to the trends and give people what they want: an experience as easy and user-friendly on their phones and tablets as on their computers.

Want to learn more about designing for mobile? TryMyUI is hosting a webinar on The State of Mobile UX November 4th with Chandika Bhandari of Seattle AppLab and Derek Olson of Foraker Labs. Join here: http://trymyui.com/webinar/The-State-Of-Mobile-UX

Do You Hate Fun and Bangin’? Don’t Read this Post.

bwfmobileIn a unique opportunity, IdeaScale had the chance to interview the mystery CEOs of the much-talked-about, upstart start-up Bang with Friends whose mobile application went live last week.

In case you missed it, Bang with Friends is an application that allows you to discretely select people from your Facebook friends list who you would bang with (or hang with). No one knows that they’ve been chosen until that friend chooses you back and you both simultaneously receive a notification. The rest, as they say, is up to you.

The CEOs’ saucy attitude continues to come across in their answers to our interview questions that remain as frank and unphased by the nature of their product (as you’d expect). They may have been criticized and praised for their new product, but whatever they might say, we think BWF is here to stay.

IS: Do you think of BWF as dressed-down crowdsourcing (pick as many bangs as possible in hopes of the right one)? Is BWF just crowdsourcing a bang?

BWF: That’s perhaps the most interesting description of the “shotgun approach” strategy some people utilize.  Fortunately, it’s not real crowdsourcing on the bangs (so the crowd doesn’t get to choose who you bang)!

IS: Do you think it’s more likely that users will get laid using your tool than using “old fashioned” 1-1 methods?

BWF: Absolutely!  We recommend a healthy dose of existing strategies plus using Bang With Friends to help uncover those friends-with-benefits opportunities!

IS: Have any relationships formed as a result of BWF hook-ups?

BWF: Hell yes!  We’ve heard from lots of people who ended up forming relationships beyond just friends-with-benefits arrangements.  The best relationships are where your partner is a good friend as well.  Mix in some great sex and you have a recipe for success.

IS: What should a user’s motto be on Bang with Friends? “Looking for the right bang” or “always be banging”?

BWF: We’ll let our users decide what fits them best.  Bang With Friends is about cutting through the BS, and that includes not telling our users what they should be looking for.

IS: Is there anyone who shouldn’t bang with friends?

BWF: People who hate fun and banging?  Oh, and we restrict users to ages 18 and up, so anyone who doesn’t meet that requirement.

IS: What does your mom think of Bang with Friends?

BWF: My parents took a bit to process it, but are ultimately very supportive.  After all, I got here somehow!

IS: What’s the question that you’re shocked no one has asked you yet?

BWF: Who was the most bangin’ reporter to interview you?

IS: Who was the most bangin’ reporter to interview you?

BWF: You, of course! ;)

Looking forward to seeing what’s next in the Bang with Friends universe. Curious to learn more? You can check out the app here.

Spotlight on IdeaScale

It’s been a busy time for IdeaScale. We’ve launched BadgeFarm, we’ve been following up on the success of the Federal Mobility Strategy, launching the new initiative on Section 508, and loads of other behind-the-scenes stuff that you’ll have to look forward to in the coming weeks. But we’ve also been in-front-of-the-scenes as well and we just wanted to share some of the news.

Last month, Software Advice blog listed IdeaScale as one of their favorite customer service applications. Why? Because IdeaScale’s available for any mobile platform and not only helps assemble customer feedback, but also helps to prioritize it. It appeared in good company among other mobile feedback platforms including Tello and Gripe.

But IdeaScale wasn’t highlighted simply for its mobile and customer service capabilities, it was also highlighted in an interview addressing a new study by the University of Illinois which ranked the social media sophistication of various U.S. cities. While Chicago used to rank number 8, it now ranks at number 17 and in a discussion of that fall in rank, they talked about how that change is not so much because Chicago has fallen behind, but that other cities have caught up. They also talk about how some of the leading social media cities (among them Seattle) go beyond simply using Facebook and Twitter (and there are still some cities that haven’t done even that), which was praised for its use of the platform IdeaScale that allows users to submit and rate ideas for improving local government.

More than anything, however, these stories signal a sea change in industry trends. Customer feedback is now a mobile imperative and that feedback needs to be an integrated part of the user experience that doesn’t take the user away from the application that they are engaging in. Cities and governments need to catch up to their citizens – they need to be asking for their thoughts and suggestions at every turn: on Facebook and Twitter, in organized websites, and in crowdsourcing platforms like IdeaScale.

What other changes does this signal in the industry? What does this mean for the future of crowdsourcing and network intelligence?

What does Gen Mobile Mean?

Last week, Wal-Mart released the latest 4G Android phone at a price that has truly democratized the mobile phone experience. The phone is available for $29.99 (that is, of course, after a rebate and getting locked in for a two-year contract) – just in time for Christmas. This week the same phone is available in other stores besides Wal-Mart.

This release comes in tandem with a suggestion from MobileBeat that we can rechristen Gen Y as Gen Mobile based on a recent report from Nielsen that tells us that “62 percent of US mobile users between the ages of 25 and 34 own smartphones, compared to just 43 percent of all US mobile phone users.” Although… the mobile phone market is growing across all segments.

The industry has been talking about the rise of mobile for years now, we’ve talked about it in blogs past and there are entire websites dedicated to the future of mobile. However, what it actually means for the research world and our future at large is still up in the air.

I have a tendency to take the big questions to TED. And Jan Chipchase, Nokia researcher, has an interesting TED talk presentation entitled “Connections and Consequences.” Among many other discoveries that Chipchase has made in the field while analyzing what mobile penetration means, he suggests that one of the things that will change in our future is the standard for innovation. A la Chipchase: “the benchmark for a big idea is changing. If you want a big idea you need to embrace everyone on the planet, that’s the first thing.” From Chipchase’s point of view the mobile phone makes it possible for everyone to transcend space and time – conveniently. In other words, we’re upping our ante because of mobile saturation.

What do you think the future of mobile holds for us? What do you think of Gen Mobile?

Innovation From Within

Some of my favorite crowdsourcing stories detail ideas that have emerged from surprising places. When all lanes on the idea expressway are open, good ideas can surface faster from any source : gamers completing complex protein research – a grad student who finds a solution to nitrate poisoning. I like rooting for the underdog, an upset victory, or a plot twist. It’s one of the reasons that I appreciate crowdsourcing so much – it can surprise you. And some companies are fully embracing the era of “active listening.”

A recent Wall Street Journal article elaborates on the benefits of expecting innovation from anyone inside a company. The article quotes research from Alan G. Robinson, a UMASS professor at the Isenberg School of Management who states that “the average U.S. employee’s ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years.” That’s a rather staggering statistic considering that a company’s employees are often the most intelligent audience from which to solicit suggestions: they know the product, the processes, they live the defects and complaints and know what resources you’re working with. It’s one of the reasons that IdeaScale offers private community idea management. I wonder if that number will shift in the coming years.

The same article mentions a recent Allstate call for ideas.  Allstate is a brand that seems glad to recognize a great idea from any source. This same week, I saw that they had announced the winners for their predictive modeling challenge that would help predict injury claims based on vehicle characteristics.  In the WSJ article, Rachel Silverman mentions a recent idea challenge launched by Allstate to their employees soliciting a new design for their mobile application. The winning idea came from… one of the firm’s trial attorney’s. Not exactly the head of mobile marketing…

Nowadays both employers and employees appreciate companies that offer them range of motion and flexibility – jobs that don’t necessarily have borders. Sourcing ideas from across all departments in a company allows some of those borders to come down; it allows for a fresh take and for some creativity from people who are the most invested in your success.

What are some of the best methods for soliciting ideas from employees? What are some of the most surprising crowdsourced ideas?

The Rise of the Smartphone

Quirk’s Marketing Research Review recently published an article by Ideascale’s CEO, Vivek Bhaskaran. The article is all about the potential of the ascending smartphone and the advantages that our portable laptop/music player/journal/file system/best friend offers not only to the user, but to the researcher. Like Bhaskaran says in the article, “Smartphones have four critical constructs that make them valuable as a research tool: access, location, identity and deployment.”

A recent Nielsen report told us that 31% of US mobile phone owners have a smartphone as of December 2010. eMarketer tells us that by 2015 43% of the US mobile population will own smartphones. And Morgan Stanley reports that smartphone sales will exceed PC sales in 2012.

What does that mean? It means that we’re moving towards processing most of our information on little more than 4.3 inches of screen space and constantly able to give and receive feedback.

That’s why Ideascale offers the iPhone widget which collects the wisdom of the crowd from within the developer’s app that the user is operating. This type of interface and information-gathering is now absolutely essential. In a recent Forrester article, Thomas Husson wrote that all mobile developers ought “be prepared for real time consumer feedback and anticipate next steps […] Integrating live feedback should be the first step on your mobile application road map.”

But that’s not all you can do to collect valuable information from people wherever they might be, whatever they might be doing, just read the rest of the Bhaskaran article to find out more.

What do you think? How do you think smartphones empower both users and researchers? What do you think the future of mobile crowdsourcing is?