Insights

  • 6 Considerations Before You Build A Mobile App

    by Primus Poppiti | Mar 20, 2015
    6 considerations before developing a mobile app

    It’s no secret that, after years of predictions, we have reached the era of mobile Internet. In 2014, comScore, a leader in digital big data, reported that more than half (52%) of digital media consumption is through mobile apps.

    That means that if your organization is forward-thinking, it’s very likely considering deploying a mobile app to better reach your customers. However, it’s important to stop for a moment and think strategically; building an app for the simple sake of building an app, can do more harm than good.

    With that in mind, here are five strategic considerations to think about before you launch that mobile app project:

    1. Know your customer.

      Customer profiling is a critical first step in this process. An organization must understand its audience before it starts to build something with them; after all, the point of an app is, at some level, to increase engagement with customers. You need to understand what they do on their smartphones. What are their media consumption habits and behaviors? Additionally, it’s important to know basic demographic information such as age, gender and geography. As you dig deeper, a picture of their lifestyle begins to emerge. This enables you to build the use case scenario for how they’re going to use your app.
    2. Know your device.

      There is a significant difference between mobile phones and tablets. A mobile phone is typically used for tactical tasks – the user is going to one or two screens, posting something to a social network, answering email or taking photos. Tablets are a more leisurely device, which allow the user to consume more content. And, of course, the introduction of so-called “phablets” (larger smartphone devices) has blended these two arenas. You need to consider what information you want to present to the audience, and therefore, the best device for displaying your content.
    3. Craft your features.

      A successful app is a mobile tool, not simply a reiteration of content that can be found elsewhere. The features on your app need to provide value to the user. It’s vitally important to consider the feature set that will work best for your users. We recommend doing some prototyping. Get real customers to start to test the app, use it and provide you feedback. There are a number of tools you can use to make this happen.
    4. Be interactive, and be short.

      Look at the features, and look at the time users are spending. Generally speaking, mobile apps need to be tactical in nature. Remember, this is not a book, and it’s not a movie. Part of the reason for this is bandwidth considerations, but more importantly, it is the bandwidth of the people you’re targeting, i.e., their attention span. You have to tailor app content to this reality.
    5. Allow for user customization.

      One size does not fit all. Different people consume information in different ways. The best apps provide users a lot of options to do things the way they want, when they want it. You have to acknowledge the consumer’s mindset, and allow them the opportunity to select the information they see and the rate at which they’re going to consume it. This is a matter of timing and volume.
    6. Make it human.

      People want to feel that the message is being directed to them. They enjoy that personal feeling, and they expect it on their devices. For instance, “I just did something, why didn’t the app say thank you?” If it was a person, the person would’ve said thank you. The app should speak to the user as if it’s a human. Your mother was right – being polite can help you win friends.
    Interested in learning more? Contact us at enterprisetechnology@trellist.com.
  • SharePoint 2013 Delivers Data to Any Device

    by Jennifer Kenderdine | Dec 12, 2014

    sharepoint 2013 across all devices

    Mobile device use is increasing at a staggering rate—one look around just about any setting will confirm this. People are more connected than ever, and by 2018, Internet traffic from wireless and mobile devices will surpass traffic from wired devices1. Because of this, IT architects must consider all of these mobile devices and their users when planning environments that will deliver and exchange critical business data.

    But how do you push critical data with rich, dynamic, interactive content to the challenging (read small) scale of the mobile universe? That’s where Microsoft SharePoint 2013 enters the scene. SharePoint 2013 is the constantly evolving tool for collaboration, document management, sharing and publication of data, business process creation, web content delivery and more.  While the last release, SharePoint 2010, presented some challenges to responsive web design, SharePoint 2013 has made it much easier for web designers to brand and design their sites. These new capabilities enable you to create user friendly interfaces across the panoply of mobile operating systems.

    The Increasing Need for Mobile-Friendly Data

    Much of the current workforce is roving—they access documents on the go, use tablets to sell products and services to customer, and are finding that laptops are burdensome tool used solely when in the office or at home. If you’ve made critical business data available to this workforce-on-the-move, your organization needs to acknowledge this trend and design sites for easy reading and navigation while keeping resizing, panning and scrolling to a minimum. Your SharePoint content must be more mobile device friendly: available and convenient for your workforce and customers no matter what device they bring to the table.

    Building a Dynamic Solution for Every Device

    Deploying a strategic solution to render the SharePoint sites across devices without losing functionality and content can be done using new web design techniques.

    • Apply responsive web design principles to provide an optimal viewing experience across devices. The responsive design methodology, when planned correctly, provides a single design approach (a single master page) versus multiple designs for each device. Develop the SharePoint design keeping mobile first in mind and utilizing the pillars of responsive web design:keep the design fluid (I.e. a grid system), integrate use of flexible media, and use media queries. When used properly, the elements in the page rearrange themselves to fit the current resolution as the browser window is resized from desktop, to mobile, and back again.
    • Build to the design, not to the device. The site’s functionality and content should be the same, regardless of the size of the screen.
    • Leverage web designers and consultants who are a crucial component for a successful SharePoint implementation. The person with the right skillset will understand how to employ HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript/JQuery libraries and other web tools to create a responsive design for your SharePoint sites through branding, page layouts and web parts/apps.

    Though deploying your responsive web design requires several new considerations, it provides a single, easy to manage solution for the “bring your own device” dilemma. Users will have access to the SharePoint content across their devices and the information is truly at their fingertips. With easier access to this information, productivity increases, SharePoint adoption is higher and users are more satisfied. This leads to an increase in ROI.

    The Opportunity with SharePoint 2013

    SharePoint 2013 natively supports many mobile browsers, and much of the web tooling that designers use regularly can now be leveraged within the SharePoint 2013 framework. The support for responsive web design, integration of universal web technologies (JavaScript/JQuery libraries), and design tools like Dreamweaver and Web Expressions continues to evolve and grow, giving businesses ever-increasing opportunities to leverage the growing mobile workforce and customer base.

    Trellist can help you deliver your critical business data to users, no matter what device they’re using. Learn more about our experience with SharePoint from this client success story. Then, connect with us on Twitter @trellist and reach out to us at info@trellist.com.

    1 Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013 – 2018 http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html

  • 3 Must-Haves for the Mobile Inbox

    by Lou Burtell | Jul 11, 2013

    With a forecast from Forrester Research predicting that 78% of active US email users will view their inboxes via mobile clients by 2017, the question isn’t whether or not to optimize your communication for mobile, but rather how to make it more effective when it arrives. Below are three considerations when approaching email marketing for the mobile landscape.

    1. Present a compelling message or offer

      Is your content truly interesting? Or relevant to the customer? It needs to be, otherwise you risk losing that open or click-through, and ending up in the old trash can. This is true with any form of marketing, but with users constantly receiving digital communications, it’s important to optimize your message accordingly. Use a consistent sender address to establish a relationship with the recipient. Start with subject lines that intrigue – and be sure to keep them short. Studies show that shorter subject lines perform better and they’re less likely to get truncated by the mobile email client. Consider pre-headers as an extension of your subject line. And personalize body content wherever possible. Finally, A/B testing and optimizing your segment will help you determine what is resonating with users.

    2. Optimize Content Across Devices

      In a recent study by BlueHornet, 69.7% of email users said they immediately delete an email if it does not display correctly on their device – more reason to make sure your message delivers as intended. Make sure content is easily scanned and that CTAs are positioned appropriately. Be judicious when using imagery as part of your message and consider an alternate text version to be sent as well. Depending on the amount and size, images can slow down the deliverability of an email. Also, large images could potentially appear as spam to some filters. Always ensure there’s a balance when using imagery. Most importantly, test your marketing emails across multiple mobile devices, operating systems and email clients.

    3. Provide a Consistent Mobile User Experience

      Mobile-optimized email communications are only part of the equation. Connecting users to a seamless experience beyond the “click” is a great way to keep them engaged. If directing a user to an additional web property, be sure that it not only supports your message but also continues down the path of a mobile-optimized experience. This could come in the form of an app, a mobile website, or a website designed responsively to make content mobile-friendly.

    Email marketing continues to transition more into the mobile spectrum. Developing a sound mobile strategy now will help you meet the expectations of your customer base, positioning your digital marketing for growth and success going forward.

    If you’d like to learn more about optimizing email for mobile, follow us on twitter @trellist , or connect with us via info@trellist.com.

  • You’ve Got One Shot to Get Your Message Read - Think Mobile First

    by Jim Auer | Nov 28, 2012

    Think mobile first

    If your email isn’t mobile-optimized, will it still be read?
    Probably not.

    63% of mobile email users delete or ignore emails that aren’t optimized for their smartphones. (Source: Return Path) That means that if your email isn’t mobile-optimized, you may have lost your chance to get your message across to that viewer.

    Emails designed for desktop viewing typically require panning, zooming and scrolling on a mobile device in order to read the message or find the call to action. It’s a misconception that a user will save an email on their mobile device for desktop viewing later— 97% of emails are opened and viewed only once (Source: Return Path), with about 35% of the opens occurring on mobile devices. (Source: Knotice)

    So how do you create an email that provides an optimal user experience, regardless of the type of device used to view it? Enter Mobile First.

    The term Mobile First means that the mobile use case is taken into account first and foremost when developing any digital customer touch point—website, landing page, email, etc. This practice forces a focus on simplicity, from both a design and content standpoint, enabling the experience to scale effectively from device to device. Adherence to this discipline translates to more streamlined messaging and, ultimately, more effective communications.

    Applying Mobile First thinking to email design requires the inclusion of small-screen-friendly design elements, such as one column layouts, large fonts, prominent calls-to-action that don’t require a lot of scrolling, and the use of large buttons made to accommodate finger taps instead of mouse clicks. When you follow these design rules, your emails can be viewed on any size device screen—smartphone, laptop, or 30” monitor.

    Keep in mind that mobile email optimization alone is not enough to drive direct marketing success. All digital destinations, regardless of entry point (email, QR code, direct traffic, etc.), must be optimized for the device in order to create a seamless, end-to-end user experience that will ultimately improve conversion.

    If you’d like to learn more about applying Mobile First thinking to your marketing and technology initiatives, follow us on twitter @trellist or connect with us via info@trellist.com.

  • QR Codes: The Missing Link

    by Chris Wallace | Apr 15, 2011

    You’ve probably seen a QR Code before but never took notice of those innocuous square barcodes that appear on everything from product packaging to movie cutouts.  While QR Codes are close cousins to traditional barcodes, they are far more versatile to marketers.  While you may already know what QR codes are, you may not have realized some of the fascinating ways they can be used. 

     A QR (Quick Response) Code is a square, matrix barcode that can be read by QR Reader applications on any smartphone.  These barcodes can be used to store data and access features on your mobile device such as a Web Browser, Phone, GPS, even individual apps.  insert

    How can a QR code be used as a tactic within a successful campaign? While the answer is always, “That depends on your business and marketing goals”, let’s explore some concepts and ideas that could be applied to many types of campaigns.

    As always in digital media, the critical side of the equation is the delivery.  Applications or pages that users link to must provide some unique value or service.  Even more critical, the app or page should be relevant to the user’s needs at the time and place where they scan your QR code.  And, in all cases, pages must be optimized for mobile viewing.  Nothing is more frustrating than going through the effort to scan a QR code to find a page that doesn’t work on your phone.   

    Keeping those guidelines in mind, here are your ways you can apply QR codes for your business:

    When a QR Code lives on:

    You could offer:

     

    Print Advertising

    Mobile couponing for bricks and mortar, sign up for SMS messaging, special offers, links to mobile commerce, scan to call.

    Retail Receipts, Branded Materials

    Mobile customer feedback forms, mobile coupons, promo codes for next visit, scan to call, scan for a survey

     

    Email

    Ability to move from the desktop to the mobile environment, i.e.  link users phones directly to the app store to download your new iPhone  app.

     

    Outdoor and Transit Advertising

     

    GPS directions to nearest location, geolocated couponing, even scavenger hunts (scan all the codes and get clues where to find the next one).

     

     

    Point of Purchase Displays      Product information, nutritional information, check-in and share via social media, link to product information and promotional videos.

    Tradeshow Booths                   Links to Whitepapers, Vcards for contact info, RSVP for events/breakout sessions, coupons for free drinks at sponsored Happy Hours!

    Retail/Garment Tags                 Product information or specs, product videos, etc.

    The possible combinations of QR code location and associated applications are limitless, and we’d like to hear your ideas as well.  QR Codes are another great example of the intersection of Marketing and Technology.  Trellist has the creative ideas, marketing savvy and technical horsepower to help you deliver on concepts like these.

  • Mobile App or Mobile Site?

    by Edgar Uy | Dec 03, 2010

    As businesses clamor to establish their brand presence in the increasingly popular mobile channel, the foremost question that must be answered is whether to build a mobile app or a mobile site. Hopefully the following information will provide some initial guidance and initiate further discourse on which path allows eCommerce companies the greatest benefit to connect with the largest amount of consumers while extracting the maximum value of their investment.

    Each platform has distinct advantages but the decision may rest on content type. Increasing sophistication of mobile browsers and the increasing support for HTML 5, will allow easier creation of robust user experience on mobile sites without having to develop platform-specific apps. Some forms of content, such as games and entertainment will naturally gravitate toward mobile apps where a rich user experience is necessary.

    According to recent reports, 19% of the mobile sites measured were Shopping and Services sites; compared to 3.6% in the same category for mobile apps. Mobile Commerce (mCommerce) services are more likely to take advantage of browser-based mobile sites than gaming and entertainment providers where content is better delivered as an app. Understandably, mCommerce currently dominates on mobile sites considering its reach as opposed to developing OS-specific applications that may not be useable by a vast slice of prospective customers.

    Industry analysts expect the browser-based mobile site market to grow much faster than the app market, although both continue to see substantial growth as adoption and demand continue to rise annually. This is partially due to the increased presence of better mobile devices; it is estimated that Apple will sell 36 million iPhones worldwide in 2010 with Droid ostensibly outpacing that on a monthly basis.

    Some research has shown that the future of the mobile channel is likely to be dominated by cross-platform browser-based mobile sites—rather than mobile apps built specifically for iPhone, Android, or any other platform. Consider that rolling out mCommerce services across multiple mobile OS-specific applications is not easily achieved due to a host of technical and perhaps financial barriers, whereas mobile sites provides an easier migration of existing desktop ecommerce infrastructure.

    Whichever path companies decide to pursue, device sites or apps have to be complimentary to other channels. Trellist is helping our eCommerce clients create complimentary mobile versions of their online stores to generate revenue in this important channel. We’re also developing strategies for mobile applications that will increase brand loyalty and revenues.

    How are you addressing the question of mobile site or mobile app? We’d like to know.

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