As tech professionals know, mobile usage is on the rise, with more consumers choosing to access their favorite applications or content on mobile devices, rather than on their desktop. Many tech companies are looking for ways to adjust to this undeniable trend, often increasing their investment of time and money on mobile software solutions that will meet consumers’ needs.
The workplace, too, is increasingly incorporating mobile devices that allow knowledge workers to be productive on-the-go when necessary. The rise of mobile has also meant that content producers have had to tailor their creative efforts to create web content that looks great on consumers’ cell phones and on large screens.
The trend towards mobile is unlikely to let up, and mobile phone manufacturers are constantly producing new innovations such as dual screen devices, phablets, and high-resolution cameras. These new, rapidly advancing features are likely to make consumers even more likely to spend time on mobile. So, let’s explore some tips businesses can use to capitalize on the trend towards mobile, rather than being left behind.
1. Prioritize Responsive Front-End Development
One of the most fundamental things businesses can do to adapt to increasing mobile usage is to ensure that any website or application that they are involved with is built responsively. The term responsive refers to a digital product’s ability to change its appearance and design when appearing on mobile devices. Responsive design follows many different kinds of patterns that must be built into the front-end code of any digital product.
Web designers have different methods to making a digital product responsive, and different web designers might prefer certain tools or frameworks over others. Regardless of what sort of design framework a developer uses, it’s critical in this day-and-age that a digital product loads quickly and correctly when accessed via a mobile device or browser.
Similarly, web-based applications should be redesigned for mobile devices by integrating easy-to-use design patterns that users will find intuitive. It isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and businesses should consider hiring a User interface (UI) designer to put as much thought into the mobile layout of an app as the desktop version.
This piece by the New York Times dives deeper into what makes for good web design, and why implementing responsive design patterns is so important.
2. Thoughtful Wireframing
Wireframing refers to the process in which a designer creates the general layout or skeleton of a digital product. Wireframes dictate what webpages a digital product will consist of, as well as layout of text, images, and buttons on each webpage. They also help designers follow the user’s journey through navigating from one page to another.
Particularly for mobile applications, wireframes are crucial to ensure users can seamlessly navigate from page to page to accomplish their goals when using the product. Users shouldn’t find themselves wondering what the next step is after filling out information on a page, or looking for what button to push to submit information on a web form.
Moreover, a digital product should be aesthetically pleasing so that it represents a business’s brand well. Outdated graphics or overly-busy webpage are sure to give users a negative impression. On the other hand, quality graphics can evoke emotions and behaviors in consumers, as this piece by the BBC explains.
3. Information Architecture
Information architecture refers to the organization of information presented to users in a digital product. Businesses should carefully consider how they can structure bits of information on mobile devices so that users can find what they are searching for. This is particularly the case when it comes to mobile user interface design since screen space is limited.
A good way to ensure quality information architecture is to conduct user testing by working with a User Experience (UX) designer. A UX designer understands how to gather feedback from users regarding how clearly information is presented in a digital product. Moreover, UX designers know how to gather this feedback in a way that limits cognitive biases to get the most accurate data possible.
This piece by the Washington Post does a good job explaining exactly why good user interface design and information architecture is such a game changer.
4. Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy
The book Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy offers a plethora of helpful tips on how businesses can take advantage of the trend towards mobile. The book starts by offering a brief history on how marketing communications have changed as technology developed from print media, to radio, to TV, and finally to desktop and mobile devices.
Author Anindya Ghose takes readers on a journey to explore how brands can use mobile devices to tell stories, make sales, and build trust with consumers. She also goes into the role of data collection that results from mobile usage and its benefits for businesses.
Finally, Ghose presents several case studies of companies that have leaned into mobile with great effect and offers practical advice for how businesses can benefit from the trend towards mobile. The book was so well received, it was even featured in this Cool Things Chicago list of best marketing books of all time.
5. Voice-Enabled Features
Research shows that consumers are more likely to use voice-enabled features when accessing an application via a mobile device. For example, typing out a text while in a car is easier and safer using voice commands, and this kind of functionality will become even more important as the shift toward mobile devices continues.
That’s why most large tech companies including Google and Amazon have introduced voice-enabled functionality into their mobile applications. That means users can search for the item they’re looking to buy on Amazon by speaking into their phone, rather than waiting until they sit down at their desktop.
Likewise, Google has invested considerable resources into its Google Assistant application, which now comes preinstalled with most Android phones. Voice recognition software will only continue to improve, which means that business should integrate voice-enabled features when possible.
It also means that business owners that are investing in an SEO campaign to direct traffic from platforms like Google to their website should consider verbal search queries that users might be using.
The adoption of voice-related features by so many big brands at once illustrates why it’s so important for business owners to stay on top of current tech trends.