In the Internet Retailer Top 500: 2010 Mobile Adaptation Audit the Acquity Group, "the world’s leading multi-channel commerce and digital marketing company", seeks to identify which companies are leading the pack with "best of its class" mobile initiatives. While it is interesting to learn how Amazon and Fandango, among others, are leading the way I was more interested in a follow-up article written by Tom Nawara, Acquity's VP of Digital Strategy and Design. In that article, posted at the mSearch Groove website, Mr. Nawara lays out three essential "best practices" that are key to success in any mobile initiative. I would like to share what he wrote below:
1) Usability. Understand the experience, task flow and design you want your brand to communicate to mobile users. This is part of knowing your audience’s needs – where they spend their time, when and in what context they use their mobile device and their mobile platform preferences – and developing functionality around those key areas.
2) Context. It is important to consider mobile as just one tool in a multi-channel program, but always remember that mobile cannot be just a miniature extension of your existing presence. Mobile user experiences are extremely context-sensitive, and you have to plan accordingly. Maybe putting your entire catalog into a mobile shopping experience isn’t the optimal approach. Instead, work to match your audience’s needs while on-the-go. Mobilize, don’t miniaturize.
3) Value. Meeting your audience’s usability and contextual needs will provide the basis for offering them actual value in the mobile channel. But providing value in the mobile channel requires much more. It needs to incorporate a multi-channel view and make doing business with your organization that much easier for the customer. Value is also a two-sided coin: your mobile tactics have to offer benefit to your organization through increased revenue, greater customer satisfaction, and/or the metrics most important to your business.
Please, please, please don't miss that context is king when it comes to mobile! Knowing the mobile device/s they use. Knowing the context within which they use that device. Knowing the services they can afford to use and do use. Knowing their felt needs! When you design your mobile initiative in light of your intended audience's context and sculpt it accordingly you are 9/10ths of the way to success.