7 steps to a More Mobile Mindset by @djstomp

Mobile PhoneTechnology is fun! That’s if it’s used in the right way with the right intentions, isn’t it?

Let me start with a conversation that frequently happened back in 1993 when a friend called me on my phone (no mobile phones at that time).

Me hi, this is Derrick
Friend hey Derrick, it’s me
Me Heyyyyy, good to hear you, how’re you doing?!?!?!
Friend starts to talk, but I interrupt
Me I’m sorry, wait a second, I’m going to turn down the volume of the radio, it’s a little loud, be right back [put down the phone, walked to the radio, turned radio volume down, and walked back to the phone]
Yes, I’m back again .. so what were you telling me?
Friend continues to talk, and again I interrupt
Me Hate to interrupt your story, but you really should know you’re talking to my answering machine right now, ….. but you can leave a message for me after the beep ….. BEEP

The reactions ranged from friends nearly choking in their laugh to nearly choking me on their next visit …..

So far for this sidestep, let’s get back to the topic: technology is fun! And mobile is technology, so mobile is fun too. Let me help you with 7 steps to develop a more mobile mindset.

Step 1 Start looking through the eyes of your customer

This one is simple: imagine you’re a customer looking for specific information. You’re on the go, so in a hurry and a bit stressed. Take out your smartphone (or borrow one …..) and surf to your organization/event website looking for that information. Are you satisfied with the results?

Step 2 Respect the differences

Respect the differences between a smartphone visitor and a desktop visitor: a smaller screen to read from, less time and a specific problem to solve in an unfamiliar environment. That equals “OK, cut the crap, give me what I’m looking for and quickly”.

Step 3 Understand your visitors’ needs

Understand the specific needs of your mobile visitor, and aim at the most important information or tasks that the visitor performs. For example: your organisations’ history, team bio and award achievements may be important to you, your mobile visitor is probably not interested in that information, because it won’t solve an actual problem at that particular moment. On the contrary, contact information (phone) and route information could help to solve a mobile visitors immediate problem. If we look at event visitors, we can be sure that they will be interested in everything that has to do with information regarding the ‘who, what, where and when’.
Remember, a mobile visitor vs. desktop visitor is ‘fast food’ vs. a ‘5-course dinner’.

Step 4 Getting to know your mobile audience

A good place to start is analysing your websites statistics and study the behaviour of your current mobile visitors. What are their top destination pages? What are they looking for?
You can also actually ask your customers (yes you can!) if they have visited your website on a mobile device and explore their findings.
This step is both critical to gain deep understanding as it is extremely difficult to perform.

Step 5 Choose!

Mobile is the art of reducing things to their bare essence. Determine the objectives of your mobile implementation: which direct needs are we going to service, and which not. What are the desired results? This is important to measure success afterwards. Key is to be able to keep things as simple as possible. Focus on the direct needs of the visitor, everything else is superfluous. You can provide extensive PDF documents on a smartphone, but do you really think people are going to read 20 pages on their smartphone? Be sure to have those things covered on your regular website, and provide the visitor with an option to switch to the regular website if desired.

Step 6 Bonus thoughts

Are there any specific circumstances that the visitors will act in? For example with foreign visitors you will have to take into account that they are confronted with huge data roaming fees when they intensively use the internet abroad. This can be solved by providing proper WiFi facilities at the venue or to support offline availability of the information.
Furthermore be aware that there is a wide variety of mobile devices and mobile operating systems with different specifications. Perform some research to find out which devices are common for your particular target population. In general, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones account for the vast majority of the mobile phone market.

Step 7 Go, go, go!

Time to execute. This highly depends on your budget, your wishes and your target population. With mobile development, the sky is the limit. You can choose to aim at a mobile website (HTML5) or develop a specific piece of software for a specific type of phone (so called native app).
But what’s really important is to help your visitor solve his problem. Don’t try to be cool, try to serve your customer. Your current webdesign agency should be aware of the possibilities and limitations of creating a mobile version of the current website (ask them if their designs are responsive). Regarding creating a highly specialized app for example for your conference there are different solutions in the market. Varying from fully custom build solutions to a fully self-service platform like twoppy (forgive the shameless plug).

What’s next?

I’d suggest you have a look around at some best practices and what’s around in this space. Corbin Ball  and Michae Heipel have been doing a great job in listing solutions. Don’t put all your money and time in developing that awesome mobile event app that no attendee is waiting for. Instead put time and effort in getting to know your customers better, to see what role mobile has in your communication strategy.

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