Frank Patrick


Posts tagged with "mobile"

Apr 6

Mobile Link: Mobile First!

Still a good case for “mobile first”, a year after the idea first got traction.

Mobile Post: Writing for the Mobile Web - Less is More

The primary keys to successful mobile content are brevity and focus. As one wag has said, “it’s like writing for the web, only more so.”

The mobile reader/user is not sitting in the comfort of their home or office with the screen in front of them as their main focus. Their attention is often divided, and if you expect to get through the clutter of their surroundings, you must be prepared to edit ruthlessly, trimming away as much unnecessary verbiage as possible while focusing on the clarity of your core message.

A mobile web page has to get to the point quickly, and be easy to scan and understand. “Simple” is the watchword for screens that can be as small as 120 pixels wide. The maximum size of a mobile web page should probably be in the range of 300 to 500 words, although skewing to the upper end of that range is preferable to cutting content into pieces that force the user to download more pages over possibly sketchy networks.

If starting with content from an existing desktop-based website, be sure to treat the original source as just a starting point. Think in terms of robust summaries rather than long expository text. Mobile content need to be more actionable (more hard information, less anecdotes) and focused on user needs (scanable, concise, clear, and fast loading). This is one of those situations when less can really be more.

Bottom Line: When writing for mobile, invest enough time to write less.

(Written by me, but originally published on my former employer’s site)

Jul 5

Mobile Post: Easy Mobile Landing Pages from Google

Last weekend, I was intrigued to see this year’s tourism map for Ocean City, NJ and the full page of QR codes it contained that linked to local business sites. The only problem was that everyone I tried ended up at what was just the shop’s standard desktop site. Some even featured flash, which was useless on my iPhone.

If you’re going to the trouble to create QR codes for mobile access, the site it goes to should be mobile-friendly.

One easy and inexpensive way of doing that was introduced by Google this week. Using their Google Sites tool, you can access templates and design elements for creating mobile landing pages in just minutes.

They’ve got templates for restaurants, local businesses, lead gen, social, and eCommerce landing pages. Worth checking out.

Jul 1

Mobile UI Link: 10 Ways the Mobile Web is Different

More considerations for designing for the mobile web compared to the desktop web…

Less power (smaller screens, slower processors, less bandwidth, less multitasking).

Alternative approaches to entering data (touch input, fiddly keyboards).

Different browser features and capabilities (pages viewed inside apps, portrait screens, little or no Flash support).

People using mobile devices in different ways to desktop computers, and for different tasks.

There’s more detail on these at 10 Ways the Mobile Web is Different

Mobile UI Post: Do as I say…

Related to a few recent posts (including yesterday’s) about the need to optimize mobile sites…

I was talking to someone last week who complained about an unnamed site about a certain topic that was not optimized for mobile.

Here’s a screenshot of a site on the same topic that I found…

Irony alert!

The site that I found after the conversation is called Mobile Marketing Watch.

UI Link: Apple page with "tap-friendly" layout

Last week, I posted a link on why mobile sites fail.

Today, I’m offering up an example of a redesign of a desktop-based site so that it is more “tappable” on phones and tablets.

Check it out at Apple updates support page with more “tap-friendly” layout.

Mobile Link: Top 5 reasons why mobile sites fail

How is your mobile web experience?

I know at my last agency, we got hung up on trying to support feature phones and ended up locked into a platform that tied our hands for really mobile web experiences for too many of our implementations. The linked article from iMedia Connection points out another reason for all the other lame mobile web experiences out there…

We were going to transform the mobile web into something highly usable and useful, but then Angry Birds came along, resulting in a complete loss of productivity for 12 months at a cost of $100 billion to the U.S. economy. (These figures are approximate.)

So we’re way overdue to give consumers some relief from these abysmal mobile experiences. We’ve got our work cut out for us: dotMobi reports that only 29.7 percent of the web’s top 10,000 sites are optimized for mobile…

The piece goes on to detail 5 things to watch out for and fix in your mobile site…

  1. Forgetting that mobile users are mobile
  2. Forgetting that humans have thumbs
  3. Forms that fail 
  4. Losing your brand 
  5. Lipstick on the pig

Good points all. Read the whole thing at Top 5 reasons why mobile sites fail.

Jun 7

UI Link: The Anatomy of a Notification

Notifications, RSS, tweets, SMS, emails.

From the linked article…

We need a notification system that accounts for the fact we’re constantly signing up for new information, but don’t have the time or the tools to pay attention to it. We need a tool that allows us to adjust the level of detail of the data we receive to align with the level of attention we have to give it.

Read The Anatomy of a Notification from Rands in Repose.

Mobile Link: Mobile is dead: 5 marketing trends

From the link

It is no longer acceptable for campaigns to have a mobile section on the flowchart that only gets funded after other activities. Understanding consumer mobility and designing communications that reside throughout those movements must be core to campaign development.

Maybe even mobile first.

[Read the entire piece… Mobile is dead: 5 marketing trends]

NFC in 2011: What's NFC, and Why Do I Care?

And I’m not talking about the National Football Conference, National Fire Code, or Nietzsche Family Circus.

When the iPhone 5 is introduced later this year, you’ll care.


What Consumers Want Online - "Show me the offer!"

The article has interesting things to say about location-based services and Facebook.

…Even so, these [Location-based] services have a long way to go before they hit the mainstream. In total, 30% of those who don’t use them said it was because none of their friends do. Nearly 20% responded to the question with answers like “Don’t know what it is” and “Never heard of them.”

Not so with Facebook. There are 241 million residents aged 10 and older in the U.S. and 149 million Facebook accounts, which are only open to those 13 and older. When you consider that the latest Pew data shows 79% of adults have internet access, you start getting to a point where saying “Everyone who is online is on Facebook” isn’t that far off.

I wish the survey laid out details for SMS Text along with the other platforms, or if it’s some small part of the 13% “Other”.

Ben Kunz makes some good points about this survey as well.


Study: SMS Still Way More Popular Than Social Networking For Mobile Users

Periodically, Mobile Marketing Watch comes out with stories like this one continuing to talk up the volumes of sms texting going on, especially among “the youth”. The implications are that there are huge marketing opportunities. I don’t buy it.

Sure there’s a lot of texting going on, but it’s all about one-to-one communication. Yeah, there’s the occasional fan-oriented text programs like American Idol or the show polls on Bravo. And yes, there’s opt-in tools providing functionality like stock price alerts. And yes, I think there’s a real use for maintaining engagement with existing customers, if it’s done so with value or functionality that’s meaningful.

But most people still get annoyed with tele-marketers, and I believe they think of their texting the same…the first bit of something that even smells like spam, and they’ll be opting out.

Add to that the onerous limitations and expensive processes involved in setting up SMS programs, and I’m not seeing it taking off as a major mobile marketing channel any time soon, other than as a conduit for information from social tools like Twitter and Facebook and from location services like Foursquare and Gowalla.

Feb 9

What comes after "the year of mobile"?

That’s an easy one…another year of mobile.

Feb 2

Location-based apps: What works, what doesn't