If you’re out to dinner with friends and one of them says, “You have to check out this awesome new website/service/product/app/video I found! It’s so awesome!” What’s the first thing you do?
- Reach across the table, grab them by the collar, while yelling “I MUST KNOW MORE!”
- Tell them that they’re an idiot
- Grab your cell phone to look up whatever it is they are evangelizing
- All answers except 3
If you’re anything like me (or the rest of the world who owns a smartphone), you response is probably C: grab your phone and Google it. And why wouldn’t you? You have a computer in the palm of your hand that has the ability to access an entire world of information. It’s a perfectly normal response to want to harness such a powerful device. Our phones are enabling us to constantly be connected anywhere, without having to sit at a desktop computer. Web traffic and app download numbers are only going to keep rising.
So how does this affect us in advertising? My, how thoughtful of you to ask such a leading question.
When we’re in the beginning phases of developing a campaign strategy, we should ask ourselves, “how will this look on a mobile device?”
We’ve all been to websites on our phones (or computers) that have been frustratingly terrible. When this happens, I find myself wondering a few of the following things:
- Where do I click?
- What does this do?
- What is this?
- How do I get rid of this pop-up?
- Where is the content?
- Am I on the right site?
- No, I don’t want to download the app
- Why am I being redirected to a different URL than the one I originally typed?
You get the idea: a complex mobile experience can be very difficult and unenjoyable for anyone.
Creating a “simple” mobile experience doesn’t mean stripping away all the UX or the content (for heaven’s sake, leave the content). Simple mobile means removing what could distract the user from easily accessing your content. Focusing on easy access to content in the earliest phases of the project, forcing us to focus on the most important aspects of the entire website experience. If the browsing experience works well on a 640 x 1136 iPhone screen, it will be much easier to scale up to a 2560 x 1440 experience; not vice-versa.
Two great examples of fantastically simple mobile sites are Squarespace and MailChimp. Squarespace and MailChimp leave room for only what matters on their mobile sites. Someone visiting either of these sites has one purpose:
- Squarespace = they want to build a website
- MailChimp = they want to send emails
Both companies have optimized the mobile experience by removing everything that isn’t necessary for someone visiting their site. This is the model of designing for mobile first.