The mobile has come a long way. Forrester Research estimates that the number of smartphones in the world will touch a massive 1.4 billion, and the number of tablets a staggering 240 million, by the end of 2013. The biggest impact of this explosion of mobile devices is the shift from traditional desktop computing, to computing on the go. An average user now spends 127 minutes a day on mobile apps, and by the end of 2013, she would spend more time on apps than on TV.
Organizations understand this fact, and now cater specifically to mobile users. However, a majority of companies simply follow the fad, and have no clear-cut idea on how they will invest their money and resources to further their mobile strategy. Most of them launch a mobile app and leave it at that. Forrester Research estimates that even while 89% of companies have a mobile strategy, only 40% of them have a properly defined mobile road map for the next 12 months.
In this context, Ektron’s Mobile Maturity Model helps, by identifying where the organization is today vis-a-vis their mobile strategy, and provides insights on the possible techniques and approaches that would help connect with customers better. It has 4 levels, explained below:
Level 1: “Forget it”
Most organizations stay stagnant, either remaining oblivious or ignoring the emerging trends in mobile computing. For instance, Flash is now well and truly passé in favor of HTML5, and responsive web design or at least floating element layouts, which have rendered fixed page layouts archaic. Yet, many companies have not moved beyond Flash and fixed page layouts, rendering their websites virtually inoperable in the mobile space.
Companies still struck in such a time-warp invariably makes heavy use of bandwidth and have complex navigation, which increases load time and confuses the user – prompting them to go away. A one-second delay in page response results in a stunning seven percent reduction in conversions, and if the page takes more than three seconds to load, it will negatively impact search engine rankings.
Level 2: “Mobile Focus”
Many organizations adopt the m.dot route to optimize for the mobile. Here, the main site redirects users to the mobile site, denoted by the prefix m. This mobile rendering, a subset or scaled down version of the standard desktop rendering optimizes for the detected browser, and simplifies navigation somewhat. However, it fails to leverage the latest developments in the mobile space, and does not deliver a holistic mobile experience. For instance, most m.dot sites strip away videos from the full-blown version, and do not cater to the added capabilities offered by mobile devices, such as GPS and cameras.
Level 3: “Mobile Friendly”
Some organizations keep abreast of the latest developments in the mobile space and optimize their mobile engagement channels accordingly.
Mobile friendly websites invariably come optimized for speed, have fluid design, and remain flexible and resilient. This helps them render seamlessly on different devices and screens. They also go beyond, to have powerful mobile enabled search functionality, thumb + finger friendly navigation, and more. Such websites offer the most satisfactory mobile experiences available today.
Level 4: “Mobile First”
Some smart organizations have seen the writing on the wall – that mobile has changed the nature of engagement irrevocably – and fully embrace the mobile revolution to provide a better experience for their customers.
The “mobile first” strategy provides for the mobile first, and then enhances for traditional desktops later. For instance, since there is no room for a 640 by 960 pixel screen in any mobile device, such elements do not even enter the design in the first place. The strategy also goes beyond, and incorporates the added mobile functionalities such as GPS, Near Field Communication, accelerometers and camera in the basic design itself, rather than as enhancements. It helps deliver a personalized and customized experience for each user. Of course, all these come with targeted, relevant, mobile friendly content.
Why be Mobile First?
Mobile commerce is on pace to quadruple to $31 billion by 2018, and a mobile first approach would help companies be in the right place to net a sizable chunk of this pie. Ektron’s Mobile Maturity Model sheds insight on the extent to which an organization has optimized for its mobile users. With mobile having changed the nature of computing irreversibly, only those companies that adopt a “mobile first” approach can reap the fruits of the emerging opportunities.
Image Credit : rofi on Flickr