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Mobile : Think Mobile First

Web and email design for a smartphone and tablet world

February 2013 By Wacarra Yeomans
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Mobile site and email traffic continues to skyrocket. In May, GigaOm reported that there are 5.5 devices per household, and they see that increasing to as many as eight by 2016. You can learn an incredible amount about your content by looking at the way your mobile audience behaves on your website.

A recent study by Foolproof reported nearly half of consumers would not engage with a brand after having a poor mobile Web experience, and nearly 60 percent said they viewed a brand as "being in touch" with their consumers after a positive mobile experience. Even when you look at your own behavior, how likely are you to revisit a site after having a frustrating mobile experience?

Marketers face a huge challenge. Customers are becoming more savvy about marketing, and their lives are a blur of offline and online interactions with friends and favorite brands. What increases the challenge is people on smartphones and tablets expect to do the same things on those devices that are possible on a desktop—but they have very different constraints. When you don't make it easy for consumers to complete an action, they won't. Marketers are leaving impressions, clicks and conversions on the table when you don't create a seamless mobile Web experience.

By planning and designing the mobile experience first, you can greatly improve your desktop version of the same content. To do so, marketers need to understand the constraints smartphones and tablets place on consumers and really align your marketing strategies to their behavior.

Constraints
Every channel has constraints. In email, you have different rendering rules for each mail client. In direct mail, marketers find workarounds to print what you want. Mobile viewing provides a new set of limitations. By embracing these constraints, you can find innovative ways to talk to customers. The book "Mobile First," by Luke Wroblewski, has a good method for outlining constraints:

• Network: There are a substantial number of phones that are able to get on the 4G LTE network. Oftentimes, that network is even faster at loading Web pages than some desktop computers. Most phones, however, are still on the 3G network, meaning they have slower loading times. There are also certain places (sometimes even a corner in the house) where consumers don't get service.

 

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