Cell phone this, iPad that. Around half the time America spends nowadays on the Internet is through some sort of mobile device. With the emergence of the mobile web comes the opportunity to try new things and become a gamechanger in the market. Glenn Cole at 72 & Sunny says that "Mobile devices are now the place where you can have your most meaningful, most valuable, and even most inspiring relationship with a brand." What are some of these ways and what do you need to know now to stay ahead of the curve on this emerging field? Let’s brush over some of the basics and explore some possible ways you can harness the mobile web environment for your company’s gain:1. Mind the MediumUnderstand that mobile web is a different animal than regular web. Keep it simple, stupid. Mobile web is viewed on tiny screens and navigated with stubby fingers. The typical mobile web user isn’t going to be concerned with lengthy company bios, wordy mission statements or press releases. Mobile web users want quick hard info; they want photos and products/services to be provided up front in an easy to use way. Simply put: give them the facts. Retain the familiar tones and themes of your traditional website; your mobile site’s user interface should take after your traditional site and friendly to those navigating within such a compact medium. Also be aware that many phones and tablets, particularly iPhones and iPads, do not use or allow flash; so make sure to not use it when programming your site.2. Mobile Web is MobileIt may seem like a no-brainer, but things like this can often be neglected at the research and development phase. Think of your end user. Where will he/she be viewing your web site? Will they be on a tablet? A smartphone? What is nearby the user when he/she is checking your page? Assessing these variables can yield some great ideas on how to create an interactive experience with your site. Mobile marketing allows you to target those nearby the location of your business. For example, if you’re a local restaurant owner and a pedestrian decides to search for “good food nearby”, you could possibly appear as a top result in whatever medium they decide to search for you in. Companies like Chili’s have succeeded in using location based coupons to attract more customers. In Chili’s case, they offered a free queso dip appetizer to anyone within 200 yards of a Chili’s or adjacent commercial location. There are a few location-based ad services that are worth researching, including Google’s Admob, Apple’s iAd service and Millennial Media.3. Mobile Web Is InteractiveA new word being thrown around the web these days is “gamification” which is just a buzz word for the integration of game mechanics or game dynamics into a website, service, community, campaign, or application in order to drive participation and engagement. Think of gamification like a modern day version of frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty programs. Location based services like Foursquare uses “checking in” to your local spots and offering up “mayorship” (the Foursquare user who has checked in the most at a location) as a form of gamification. Other sites like Gowalla will offer badges to gamify locations, encouraging users to visit multiple locations and rewarding those who do with online promotions. Consider promoting photo/video-uploads to your social media pages. Working interactively with your clients will tie their emotions with your company and may create an ambassador for your brand.4. Mobile Web Is Contextually Different For Each Company, Customer, and Situation No path is ever walked the same way twice. Apply that old adage to the way that you think about your mobile web presence. How is your client most likely to be using your mobile site? Will they be in a store, comparing your brand against another? Are they sitting at the bar on their tablet shopping online? Will they be standing on the side of the road looking for assistance? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and aspire to make a site that is easy for them to use in the situation they will be in when they view your site. It is also good to imagine which platform they are accessing your site from, a site accessed from a tablet provides more space for larger images and grants a bit more leway for entering text. Someone viewing from a phone however, may not want to wait for larger images to load or input copious text with a small virtual keypad.5. Mobile Web Gets Your Customers Through The DoorIn the end, it should be noted that like all forms of media, a mobile website is a marketing tool, and all marketing tools need a call to action. However, a call to action for the mobile web can be a bit different. Mobile web allows for two-way communication between you and your audience. Have direct conversation with your clients via the mobile web and create a personalized call to action for them. Apps like Yelp and Foursquare enables your customers to leave immediate feedback about your establishment. Remember those who laud your service and make an individual effort to show them your appreciation, either live or on the web. If you have one, remember your Foursquare mayor by name. Make incentives for those checking in on Foursquare and Yelp. Consider creating a coupon or offer on Google Places. These are the personal touches that will keep your business thriving and put your company on the forefront of the mobile web.How are you using the mobile web? Does your company use the mobile in a unique way. We’d love to hear about it! Comment below or send us an email: email@example.com.Liked this article? Check out these blogs: Consumer Intent Data And Social MediaA Website Is More Than A Site, It’s Your Brand
Creating Relationships With Your Customers On The Mobile Web.
The Future of Interaction Design With Noessel and Hendrie
The Los Angeles web design community focused on the future of interaction design last week at Art Center in Pasadena. Two speakers took the stage to discuss what users can expect in the near future for user experience (UX), interaction and visual design. The first speaker, Maggie Hendrie, is a user experience designer and educator, who is the Chair of Interaction Design at Art Center. She highlighted some student and graduate work from Art Center IxD students to see how social and creativity have become central to their practice. The main speaker of the night was Christopher Noessel (@chrisnoessel) who recently co-authored the book Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Sci-Fi. He discussed the relationship of design to science fiction, and how sci-fi continuously inspires people to be more innovative with interaction design. The Media Contour team had the opportunity to sit down and talk with both before the show, here are the main ideas:
Mobile Design and Beyond
The first topic Luke Swenson asked the pair to talk about was what is next after mobile design. He noted an increase in business for website design on a mobile interface but what's the next big technology that will further improve user interaction?Chris Noessel is excited about future technologies and began, "I think that the Leap Motion millimeter-wave gesture recognition is going to be super promising. Now that we can read fingers it's going to get a lot more interesting as far as gesture recognition, and we'll be able to maybe even sort of meet sci-fi at what sci-fi has been promising for that sort of thing."Gesture based technologies sound fun and futuristic but it’s not what Noessel is most excited about. He is interested in eyes. "I am most excited about our eyes because there are two technologies that, I believe, are on the verge of breaking through, that is going to change our experience with technology. One is “gaze monitoring.” It’s been around in art for twenty years." He then explained the method of how it works, involving infrared LED monitors that triangulate gaze. As a pointer on a screen, this would be far more efficient than a mouse. "I think we'll be able to relate to computers a lot more when they know where we're looking, especially given that we're entering a world of multiple devices, multiple screens, and multiple touch points. Knowing where I'm looking is pretty critical and computers will be able to know that," said Noessel.
Consumers, Existing and Future Technologies
The discussion of future technologies led to trying to discover how customers will be reached by brands in the coming years. Many references to the Google Glass project were made because of the bridge it has built between mobile interfaces and a eye-projected interface.Maggie Hendrie began with this important point to consider, "A lot of technologies exist today that we just don't use. So near frequency, RFID, Bluetooth..you know the fact that we still have so many connectors instead of bluetooth-ing a lot more is kind of untapped but I do agree that the opportunity to have a personalized, visual experience is new for people. People have had the data experience or a promotional experience or a mobile experience but they haven't had an immersive visual experience outside of gaming and it could naturally focus our attention in a way that our devices used to distract our attention."Hendrie theorized another good point after she had brought up the patent case issue between tech-giants Apple and Samsung. The issue was over a patent Apple had made for its "pinch" screen gesture which led to Hendrie asking "What happens when people patent our gestures?" She continued, "There's an increased understanding of the connection between design innovation and IP creation, right? A lot more people are investing in IP creation, they're beginning to invest in design innovation." Her next call was for designers to be conscious of picking the best medium for their work. In science fiction technologies are functioning in an ideal world where the technology in real life is just now being realized. "Again I think that's going to be the role of designers is choosing the right interactive medium for the desired outcome."
How Businesses Can Conceptualize Ways to Reach Consumers
The last major idea Luke asked Chris Noessel and Maggie Hendrie to touch points on was how a business can conceptualize ways to use technologies to reach consumers. It may be hard for a client to understand the best way to implement new technologies into marketing efforts and ultimately what will the adoption curve rate be of these new technologies.Noessel began, "We often ask our clients to do one of two things. One: Imagine its sci-fi...sci-fi is a language in and of itself. For example, imagine it’s in Minority Report, or imagine it’s in Star Wars. That frees them up from the constraints of “what can be done” to what would be awesome? What would be useful?"Hendrie added that when meeting with clients there are always two big questions to ask and consider. The first question is "What business are you in?" and the second is "What kind of organization are you?" It comes down to what kind of opportunities are available to your type of organization.
The round table interview ended on a positive note with many delightful insights on the future of technology as a business tool. Many thanks to Art Center in Pasadena and Jon Fox and Petra Wennberg Cesario of NorthEast LA User Experience (NELAUX) group who made it possible to interview Maggie Hendrie and Chris Noessel.Christopher Noessel's new book Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Sci-Fi is available on (http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/make-it-so/)
A minimal website naturally improves website conversions
A minimal website naturally improves website conversions
There is a lot of debate over how much your website design and user experience (UX) actually matter when it comes to online conversions. While some people swear by elaborate, flashy designs that wow users and keep them engaged, others maintain that keeping everything minimal and clean will naturally result in better conversions. Does a minimal website design really improve website conversions?
A minimal website removes the barriers to action
A minimal website naturally improves website conversions because it removes the barriers to action. A minimal website has only the core or essential components, reducing confusion and distraction. Minimal designs focus on simplicity by eliminating distractions, making messages clear and navigation easy, so visitors know where to go and what to do next. The main objective of minimal web design is to make the content stand out clearly without 'pushing' anything else onto users/visitors - no gratuitous animations or special effects that might distract them from actually reading your valuable content. Animations can be fun and engaging without being distracting. They can, and must have a purpose or they should be removed. Ask yourself, if it is adding to the clarity of your message?
A website is a reflection of your business
If your website and message, are too complicated, then maybe so is your business. By creating a simple, easy-to-navigate website, you'll be sending your visitors the message that you have clarity, leadership which ultimately builds trust. Minimal websites build customer trust when you need to demonstrate product quality without confusion. This helps your users focus on what matters, making their path to conversion smoother. By eliminating distractions and features that are not essential to the website's goals, you'll be able to focus on one thing only - improving conversions.When people visit websites, they make split-second decisions about whether it meets their needs and to which content they should pay attention. As such, users need to understand your website in seconds, not minutes. Minimal websites are designed in a way that "forces" visitors to focus on the content, not everything else around it.
A minimalist website makes for a more enjoyable experience
Minimal design is effortless to digest which makes users happier when they visit your website and spend more time browsing through your site's pages. Simplicity is also comforting for both the business owner and the user. Since minimal designs focus on ease and clarity, users aren't confused by complicated structures or distracted by too many elements vying for their attention at once. This helps your users find what they are looking for faster because it doesn't distract them with other things instead of the core purpose of the website - to convert leads into paying customers.In conclusion, a minimalist website design improves website conversions by removing barriers to action, reducing confusion and distraction, and allowing users to focus on your message. Plus, it shows clarity and leadership – a direct reflection of your business. Ultimately, focused attention accelerates user comprehension and action. What are some of your favorite minimalist websites? Let us know in the comments below!Reach out to learn more about minimalist web design or get started with one for your own business. And don’t forget to comment below with your favorite minimalist websites!
7 Reasons to Publish an Email Newsletter Today
It started with a simple box inviting people to subscribe. Today, Geoff Bartakovics has transformed Tasting Table to a thriving newsletter with over one million subscribers. It only took four short years and a fair amount of elbow grease to do it. Not all businesses will grow to one million subscribers. But, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibilities. Here are seven reasons your business needs to publish an email newsletter beginning today.
Keeps Your Business Name Fresh in the Mind of Customers
Every single time you send out a news email “blast” or email newsletter to your subscribers you’re sending them a reminder that your business is the one that can meet their needs. Whatever business you’re in, this is advertising that keeps on giving – even if they don’t need your products or service today, your business will be the first one that comes to mind when they do because they consistently see your name in their email inboxes (whether that’s on their computer or mobile device).
Brings Customers to You Week After Week
You no longer have to wait for customers to come to your website when they need something you have to offer. Now, you can bring your website, products, and/or services to them with a few keystrokes and a click of the mouse. And – it’s instant! You don’t even need to wait on the postal services to deliver it.
Lets Your Customers Advertise for You
When you send consistently high quality email newsletters to your customers, the chances are good that they are going to share your newsletters through social media or with other friends and family who need the information, services, or goods you have to offer. They become advertisers for your business and all it took was for you to give them the tools to help you out via your email campaign.
Drives Traffic to Your Website
No matter what line of business you’re in, no matter how good you are at taking care of your business, your website isn’t going to be successful without traffic. Email marketing through a well-designed and well-thought out newsletter brings a steady stream of visitors to your site week after week. The best news is that these visitors are generally people who are already interested in the products you’re selling.
Helps You Build Relationships with Your Target Market
More importantly, email newsletters help you build trust with your target market. The more reliable and informative news you share with your audience, the more often they will turn to you for solid industry information. There really is no better way to build solid, trusting relationships with your customer base than email newsletters.
Establishes Your Business as an Industry Leader
For the people who subscribe to your newsletter, you are the voice of authority in your industry. The more information you provide them with, the more proof you’re giving them that this is the case. Give expert advice to your customers and they will keep coming back to you for more and more advice in your industry. Newsletters are, by far, the easiest way to share that advice.
Gives you the Chance to Provide a Compelling Call to Action
More importantly, it gives you this vital opportunity every time you hit the send button for your email newsletter. You’re not just sending one call to action. You’re sending calls to action to each and every newsletter subscriber on your list. And, they’ve invited you to do it. They want to hear what you have to say and when the timing and product is right, they are your most likely buyers on the World Wide Web (and sometimes off the Internet too).
Wouldn’t it be great if you could do all these things so easily? You can! We can help. Contact us today to to see how we can help you get your email newsletter up and running today so you can enjoy amazing results like these tomorrow.