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September 6th, 2013

“Fail often, to succeed sooner” (IDEO) | The 10 Steps for mobile success


Have you ever heard about this quote from the famous design consultancy called IDEO? Even if we expect our clients to succeed since the beginning, it happens they fail in their mobile strategy but this is a first step to succeed sooner. However we are not going to give you tips to fail, but 10 tips to succeed in mobile.

1. Objective – Marketing campaign or Service

Start by asking the right questions:
• What do you want to achieve?
• Who do you want to target, where and when?
• Is it part of a tactical campaign or a long term service? Marketing or utility?
• Will it be different vs the competition?
• What happens to the users at the end of the campaign?
• Desire to track transactions and impact on sales?

Top tip:
Define the success factors and share with everyone involved in the project. Be ambitious and demanding. One of the greatest advantages of mobile is the ability to track engagement through from first impression to a sale and future loyalty.

2. Focus – Mobile First

For most consumer brands over 50% of the digital engagement will be through mobile within the next 12 months. Facebook, Google, eBay and other leading online brands have taken a mobile first approach for several years now. Brands such as P&G, Starbucks and Nike have recently announced similar strategies for a very good reason.

Top tip:
Consider a Mobile First approach with progressive enhancements for web rather than starting to scope and design a website and optimise or scale it down for mobile.

3. Scope – Use case based service concept design

Identify the customer use cases based on each customer touch point that will help achieve the objectives.
Example 1 for a beer brand: Find a bar nearby that serves Stella and shows tonight’s football game.
Example 2 for a beer brand: Share a Budweiser discount coupon for online redemption using the mobile with a friend via Facebook.
Example 3 for a beer brand: Watch a Bud Light ad on TV and go to mobile website to access more content.
Prioritise the use cases based on value/potential, feasibility and cost.
Use the use cases as input for designing the mobile campaign or service.

Top tip:
Start by using a customer touch point wheel.See our illustrative example below:


4. Mandatory – Functionality to always include

Some functionality should be included for every mobile campaign or service including Age gates, CRM, Customer feedback, Appstore Rating & review reminder (apps only), Analytics, Social (sharing and engagement) and Terms & Conditions. In addition to this always consider the opportunity to link any campaign or service to driving transactions.
There are also non-functional capabilities that should be stated for every mobile service including performance (response time), capacity (number of users), reliability, offline support, error handling, device support list, etc.

Top tip:
Performance is one of the most important aspects of the user experience. Be specific about what is considered great and good enough performance.

5. Technology – Mobile web vs Native App vs Hybrid

Always choose technology based on needs rather than technical preference. Ask someone that doesn’t have a vested interest in technology to help weigh the pros and cons and then decide on the best approach. Often this means a combination as every app needs a mobile website to support it and many mobile websites can benefit from being packaged and distributed as apps.
Also consider if there is existing solutions/technology that can be reused to deliver the service. Has another brand done something similar before? Is there an open source solution available that can be used? Are there existing apps/services that can be white labelled?

Top tip:
For one time engagement start off with mobile web and for repeat usage services consider apps.

6. Design – User participatory

Objectives, scope, key uses cases and technical solution has been defined and now it’s time for the designers to start their work. Design is a creative iterative process with the following key deliverables:

  • App/Site map – shows the content and information architecture of the service
  • Wireframes – turns the use cases into an overview of how flow between pages and layout and functionality of each page
  • Mockups / Visuals – graphical overview of what the final app/site could look like
  • Prototype – take the mockups and put them into a tool that allows you to test the screens and flows on a smartphone and test with users for feedback.

Top tip:
Ensure the designers are specialists on the platforms they design for whether it is web, mobile web, responsive design, Android, iPhone, tablets or Windows Phone. Every platform is different and the best results are achieved if the design follows the paradigms of the platform.

7. Develop – agility and participation

Development is usually only 50-60% of the total time for any project and the greater the quality of the pre-development work is, the shorter the development period and better the final result will be. The most difficult part is finding developers that will understand, feel passionate about your project and execute according to plans and design.
Make sure that you get weekly or bi-weekly deliverables of the app or site throughout the project to test and identify issues early on and shorten the final testing and acceptance phase. Even better, involve end users as early as possible to test if the flows make sense and if the layout and functionality is attractive. Don’t wait until it’s perfect.

Top tip:
Pilot the service with internal users or a customer focus group before launching if possible.

8. Test – from start to finish

Testing should start from the first delivery of code. Depending on the quality and reliability requirements, testing could be anywhere from 25% to 200% of the total development effort. In average 1 tester for every 2 developers seem to be the requirement to deliver a great quality service but for some brands such as Nike it’s 1 to 1.
Test on every device, OS and browser of your target audience. This can be a huge effort for a global campaign or service but its necessary as every device is slightly different and something that works on the latest OS or browser might not work on the version before. If your development partner doesn’t have access to the devices then hire someone that does. Also test in different connectivity scenarios as your customers may be on 3G, GPRS, Wifi or have no connection at all.

Top tip:
Use the success criteria and use cases as acceptance criteria for the final delivery.

9. Market – Distribute and promote

There are millions of mobile websites and at least 700.000 iPhone apps. You have a site/app that is amazing but how do people find about it?
Make sure you have an integrated marketing plan for every project:

  • Promote to existing customer base (e.g. through e-mail, SMS and even traditional mail)
  • Leverage social both direct and through customer sharing to tell people on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc about the service.
  • Cross-promote through other media including packaging, direct mail, coupons, TV, radio, ads, billboards, trade marketing and more
  • Talk to bloggers, appstore reviewers, media, etc to get their feedback and to get them to promote the service

Top tip:
Ramp up slow and monitor feedback to allow for improvements before mass market activities begin.

10. Monitor & Improve – Listen and update continuously

Launching version 1.0 of a new service is only the beginning as you will never get it 100% right from the start. Make sure you have a plan for updates during the first couple of months and a roadmap for enhancements during the first year:

  • Monitor the appstore reviews and ratings
  • Encourage customers to rate (prompt to rate app or site after returning e.g. 3rd time)
  • Ask customers for feedback and suggestions (e.g. using surveys)
  • A short video is great to demonstrate how the service works
  • Use social monitoring tools to find out what people are saying about the service
  • Test the proposed enhancements with A/B testing
  • Implement new use cases and features over time
  • Optimise performance and improve reliability
  • Finally measure the impact of every change to understand how the changes impact your results.

Top tip:
Plan for at least one update 1-2 weeks after initial launch from the beginning.

Image courtesy: manish mansinh

Tags: agile development Brand Marketing Customer Experience Definition enterprise mobility Ideation & Innovation Strategy Mobility Strategy Product/Service Visioning & Strategy QA Responsive and Adaptive Web Development Responsive UI design Responsive UX design Technology & Mobile Platform Strategy User Experience Design UX, Web & App Development

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