May
9

Rob Gabe Joins ATS Mobile

robRobert Gabe is a senior at West Chester University and grew up in the Downingtown, Pennsylvania. This is Robert’s second internship where he will continue his work as Copywriter and Video Editing Assistant.  

Q: Where do you go to school, what’s your major and do you have a focus?

A:I’m currently attending West Chester University and I’m a communication studies major. The main thing I do there is I write for West Chester University’s “The Quad”, which is their newspaper. At The Quad, I’m partnered with a company called Allied Marketing and I do a lot of journalistic outings with them. I go to press junkets and I interview people in the entertainment industry which has been a portfolio to show on my resume in its own right.

Q: Do you interview any high level celebrities?

A:The last people I interviewed were comedians Key & Peele for their latest film “Keanu”, as well as Jeremy Saulnier, director of “Green Room.”  Also, yeah, quite a few really famous people: Carey Mulligan leading actress of “Suffragette” and Oscar Isaac who was featured in the new “Star Wars” movie.

Q: Is it intimidating interviewing these celebrities? Are you the ones asking the questions?

A:Yeah I’m the one asking the questions. The first few times I was a little star struck but after you get over it, you just treat them like people. You don’t have to be like, “Oh I’m such a big fan.” You just have a conversation with them like they’re normal people and they definitely respond to that a lot better.

Q :What skill set can you bring to Purplegator?

A: I think they brought me on because they saw how accomplished and talented I am in my writing. I definitely think that copywriting is my strongest skill set. I also have a background with video editing, specifically the program Final Cut. I’ve studied video applications in high school and that definitely carried over to college. I can be of use in regards to the video department and all of the video work that they need to have done.

Q: Besides the job with the Quad, what other past jobs have you had?

A:I worked at a marketing agency called Stratus Interactive. That was a non-paid internship, but I gained a lot of experience with Hubspot and working alongside my team. But also just adapting to that workplace because, prior to that, I had only worked in retail. It was a good stepping stone into that workplace environment.

Q: What are your interests outside of school and work?

A:I am definitely a big movie buff and that’s part of the reason I pursued the interview opportunities so hard. To me, I don’t consider it work. It’s really something that I love to do. I was very athletic in high school, but once I came to West Chester I gave up the athletics and started pursuing the writing really hard. To me, writing is like an art form. Writing combined with film is one of my main interests.

Q: So do you want to write scripts?

A:Not necessarily. I like creative writing. I am a big film enthusiast, but I don’t think I would want to be involved with writing scripts. I just like being a part of the entertainment industry as a journalist. I really like interviewing actors, actresses and directors. That’s what I really like to do right now.

Q: What are your short-term and long term goals?

Right now I’m just trying to gain as much experience as I can with internships like this and to do well in my courses at the moment. I’d like to continue what I’m doing with my interviews. I’m not in any rush to leave West Chester. I’m trying to do exceedingly well in everything I can and grab as many internship opportunities as I can.

Q: Do you have a dream job?

A:Ideally, I would like to be the person running the interviews and running the press junkets who’s in charge of the whole event.

Q: What attracted you to Purplegator?

A:I was attracted to the name. I really like the more modern feel of the office. It doesn’t feel like the stereotypical workplace. It’s more collaborative. I want to be put to work, but I also want to be in a place that feels like I’m not trapped in a cubicle all day. I wanted to work in a place that enabled me to be creative.

May
9

Catie McDonnell Joins ATS Mobile

Catiheadshote McDonnell is a senior at Bowling Green State University and grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Her first internship was located in Philadelphia also. She will be working as the Creative Assistant for ATS Mobile.

 

Q: What school do you go to, what’s your major, and what’s your primary focus?

A: I go to Bowling Green State University. It’s located in north western Ohio. My major is Visual Communications Technology. There’s four areas within that: print, web, photo & video. I’ve chosen to concentrate my focus on web and print. I also have a business minor, but I’m also focusing on the graphic design aspect of it too.

Q: What is your skill set that you offer to the company?

A: I love to code and I think I’m a good problem solver. Also, I feel like I can bring a set of fresh eyes to the creative aspect/design part of everything.

Q: What has your experience been with past positions?  

A: I was the graphic design intern at a non-profit called Aahana, which was located in Center City Philadelphia.I worked on their brochures, website, social media, graphics, the email newsletter and things like that.

Also, I have a job on campus at the REC center, which is a side job when I’m attending class.

Q: What are your personal interest outside of the workplace?

A: I was on the swim team all throughout my life and I also golfed so I keep up with both of those. My Dad actually got me into golf because he’s in business and he thought, with me being a female, if you can golf that’s where a lot of the business takes place. I started that when I was seven. I was on the high school golf team. That was fun. Outside of that I like hanging out in coffee shops and hanging out with friends.

Q: What are your short-term and long term goals?

A: Short-term goals, regarding this job, are just to add as much as I can to the company by using my unique set of skills and to generate leads. In regards to long term goals, graduation is not that far away. I’ll be graduating next August. Outside of that, I want to land a job where I don’t feel I’m at work. I want to go into the office and feel like I’m doing something that actually matters. I don’t want to just “pass the time.” Besides that, I’d like to do more web design. I don’t know if that means starting my own company or freelancing (I haven’t really figured that out yet), but I would really like to pursue web design.

Q: What attracted you to Purplegator?

A: First of all, I saw the name and I was like “What is that? That sounds cool!” Then on the website I read that you’re never going to see a Purplegator out in the wild, which meant the company was different. I don’t want to work for a company that’s run-of-the-mill with nothing unique about it. I feel like this job has a lot of opportunities to work with different clients and work on different projects.

Apr
25

Your Mobile is Your Digital DNA

NEW! Mobile Marketing Book Hits the Business World

Brad Bierman, who has been with ATS since 1990, interviews author Bob Bentz about his new book “Relevance Raises Response: How to Engage and Acquire with Mobile Marketing.”

 

Jan
26

How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile

 

Desktop, Smartphone, Tablet . . . Oh My!

It is important to keep in mind all of the important features that a mobile website should include in order to engage viewers such as accessibility, structure, video and images. Everything needs to be placed just right to keep visitors there longer, and keep them coming back. How can you do this without changing everything that you’ve built for your brand? We’ll tell you…

Mobile Web Development

Until about 2012, most businesses created a different mobile version of their website. This was a smaller, easy to navigate version of the desktop site, often using a different domain, such as: http://m.website.com. The preceding “m.” indicated that the user was on a site designed specifically for mobile. When consumers came to the domain from a mobile device, they were directed to the site that was exclusively made for the smaller screen of the mobile phone.Mobile Web Development

Then, things began to change for the lowly mobile-only website. Google Best Practices announced that a business really should be using the same domain for desktop and mobile users. The SEO community began endorsing responsive design as the best way to obtain high search engine rankings on both desktop and mobile. Hence, Google’s announcement caused the near death of the m-dot mobile website. Today, sites are rarely designed using a different URL for mobile phones.

 Choosing the Right Technology for a Mobile Website

To provide a great web experience across multiple devices, marketers basically have two options: build a website using responsive design or create device-specific versions of the website using adaptive design. Technically, however, there are five potential solutions to designing a mobile website:

  • Unique Mobile Site – An m-dot website or a unique site solely for mobile users, although this technique is virtually non-existent in modern web design.
  • Responsive Web Design (RWD) – A responsive website that fluidly changes to any screen or device size.
  • Responsive Web Design with Server Side Components (RESS)—A site that uses device detection to maximize the efficiency of responsive design.
  • Adaptive Web Design (AWD) – A site where the elements change to fit a predetermined set of screen and device sizes.

A unique mobile site is old-school and most likely not the way to go in over 99 percent of mobile designs. If your business is almost exclusively mobile, perhaps there is a reason to have a unique m-dot mobile site, but it is going to be a very rare instance indeed.

Responsive web design, most commonly designed with HTML5 code, is going to be the likely choice in nearly all new mobile web builds. It can also be designed using CSS3 and JavaScript. Responsive design has the striking advantage of being highly flexible, as it fluidly changes to accommodate any device. RWD works by sending the same code, regardless of device, and then rearranging it on the client side, thus allowing the same webpage to be displayed on any device. It serves the same HTML code on the same URL, whether the user’s device is a desktop, tablet, phablet, smartphone, feature phone, or wearable. It can also respond differently based on the screen size of the site. Developers can decide which graphics and content will be used for mobile and tablet users. Text and images can be adjusted based on any browser or screen size. When new devices are added, there is no additional programming required. Most importantly, however, responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern. For many websites, RWD achieves a reasonable balance between mobile-friendliness and ease of implementation.

There are several key design considerations that will make a website look and operate at its best with responsive design:

  • Header—The header and masthead should be simple so as to not take away from the key selling points. The logo is the key brand image; an overly horizontal logo may not look great on smaller vertical screens.
  • Navigation—Navigation is much trickier on a small screen. Often, designers will use a navigation button shown by three horizontal lines, usually in the upper right of the site. This is called a “hamburger menu,” because it looks like a burger surrounded by the bun. Some sites use a left side navigation that can expand outwardly to cover most of the screen.
  • Images—It is impossible to include too many images on the mobile screen. Therefore, designers often use image carousels that allow users to swipe through multiple product images instead.
  • Footer—A footer doesn’t take up valuable space like the header, but it’s just as important because it is a consumer’s last stop on your site. Consumers are used to using the footer as a navigation tool. It should also include the very important “Contact Us” link.

One of the challenges of responsive design is the tablet. The tablet, although technically a mobile device, is most often used more like a desktop computer than a smartphone. With responsive design, developers need to build the code to execute on three primary devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone). The tablet often straddles both of the other devices in its user intent. An admirable trend in responsive design techniques that combats the tablet struggle is to again use a mobile-first approach. In this way, designers create sites with the smallest screens in mind first and then add features and content for larger ones. It is a lot easier to add value to a site when going from smallest to largest screen size than to decide what elements to take away when going from desktop to mobile. Focusing on mobile first means the site will be clean and won’t have the bulkiness that often slows a mobile version down.

The main problem with RWD is that, by default, all devices are sent the same size graphics, regardless of screen size. Therefore, low-resolution screens are sent the same images as those sent to high-resolution screens. This is problematic in that the smaller screens cannot show the images at their native resolution and have to “shrink” them to fit. This method can be inefficient and can take up additional data that should be unnecessary. Responsive web design with server side components is a web development technique that takes RWD to the next level. RESS combines traditional responsive design with server-side detection that allows RWD to further optimize graphics to fit device specifics. RESS can also enhance the mobile website in other ways. If bandwidth is at a premium, RESS can limit data usage by only serving the most important images. In the same manner, mobile video can only be served if there is a fast connection available. And, RESS can avoid Flash on devices that do not support it.

RESS seems to be an obvious enhancement to RWD, so why doesn’t everybody use it? The negative to RESS is that feature detection is often difficult. The feature detection code on the site needs to be updated every time a new browser or device hits the market and that is difficult to keep up with. There are some third-party services that will do this for you, but nevertheless, it’s a limiting additional hassle for RESS. If your site uses RESS, it’s never going to be completely done and there is always going to be additional costs.

Mobile Device Screen Sizes

There are, however, limitations to responsive design and reflowing the same content on every device. Certainly, there are advantages to offering a unique and customized experience for every device user. This is especially true in the case of e-commerce sites where making the sale is paramount to the existence of the business, hence the need for adaptive design.

Adaptive design employs dynamic serving that uses the same URL regardless of device, but it generates a different version of HTML based on the server recognizing information about the user’s browser. With AWD, a specific experience is sent depending on the type of device. In this case, web developers can customize specific content and adapt it to the device itself. AWD allows for developers to design lighter versions of a site so it will load faster since extraneous items will never make it to the end user. It also allows developers to take advantage of the different unique features of certain smartphones and tablets. Adaptive design is not all about the designing for the device itself. If a user is on a slow or fast connection, a site could serve different resolutions of its images. They are not necessarily custom to each device, but to the bandwidth levels available to the user. An example might be a wide shot of the crowd at the President’s speech that is served to a desktop user and a close up of the President’s face that is served to a smartphone user.

The common thought process is that the obvious choice is always going to be responsive design, but that is not the case. There are instances where adaptive design makes sense as the preferred design method. Because adaptive design is created for the exact specifications of a particular mobile device, it does provide a better overall user experience. This is especially apparent in the case of load times since content used is formatted specifically for the intended screen size. An example of a company that would likely be apt to use adaptive design is an airline or travel site. For a travel-related business, sites need to be highly interactive, engaging, and have multiple options since it is a high ticket item where closing each deal is paramount to success. With its exciting graphics and complex interactivity, an online casino site is another type of site that needs to use adaptive design. With offerings ranging from table games to slot machines and bingo, it is easy to see why extra care must be given to ensure precise compatibility with all devices. Players are there for entertainment and adaptive design provides the best possible user experience regardless of the device used.

On the other side of the debate, the biggest concern with adaptive design is that it is very expensive to develop, since some brands may choose a custom development for every desktop and mobile device. Moreover, when new devices are introduced, the programming could start all over again to accommodate the new entries. An additional concern with adaptive design is that some older devices may still be in the market and they may not be supported by the original design. Because of these concerns, and the ongoing commitment to updating, adaptive design is never going to be the solution for everybody.

Finally, there is the issue of Google’s preferred method. You need not be concerned of lost rankings if you use adaptive design instead of responsive. If an AWD site maintains canonical links to desktop content, it shouldn’t be a problem for a site’s organic rankings. (A canonical link element is supplemental HTML code that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues. Duplicate content is a negative for search engine optimization, and a canonical link works to indicate the “preferred” version of a web page.)

Have you seen a website that you like, and are wondering what design style they used? Here’s how to determine if the site has used responsive design or adaptive design. With responsive design, the web design does not respond to the device itself, because in most cases it simply doesn’t care about the device type. Instead, responsive design responds to the screen resolution itself. To test this, look at a site on a desktop and change the size of the window by grabbing one of the corners and expanding or contracting the overall size. When the window size is changed, the website will also change its size and shape to fit the smaller or larger screen of the desktop browser. Some of the elements of the site may shift to accommodate the larger or smaller screen size, but all of the elements will remain on the screen regardless. This is an example of a responsive design site.

An adaptive design site will act differently. Go to a travel site such as Southwest.com and do the same thing. Grab the site in the corner and drag it to the middle to shrink the screen size. Instead of seeing the elements of the site moving around based on the new site, you will see some of the images simply being covered up. If this is the case, it is an adaptive design site.

The technology used for a website design is going to vary based on the specific needs of the brand. Choosing the right method is important, because the site is going to remain active until the next overhaul of the site. Regardless of which approach is best for your particular needs, the important thing is that you provide an improved mobile user experience and gain the search engine rankings, and sales, that your business deserves.

Dec
30

How Food Trucks Use SMS Marketing

Build Food Truck Profits through SMS marketing

When you own a food vendor truck, you worry about the design of your truck: where your logo will be displayed, your most occupied locations, and your phone number. Soon, you start to think there won’t be enough room for your actual menu. But you’re forgetting one key marketing information: your keyword.  It’s time to start thinking about where your text message marketing keyword and short codes will go.

SMS marketing can help advertise all the things needed to in order to get new customers for truck vendors, and keep them have coming back. Just like an immobile restaurant, it is important to keep customers up to date on everything that is changing. For a restaurant that could mean things in the kitchen as well as in the dining room, but for a food truck it could mean in the kitchen, most recent locations as well as future ones, special coupons, as well as event and seasonal appearances. As a kitchen that is constantly on the move, text message marketing can help reach customers while they’re on the move  too.

Social Media is an simple, not to mention free, way to update customers on food trucks’ whereabouts and specials. All it takes is a simple post or a tweet and following customers are in the know. This option allows real-time communicati’on between consumer and company, while also diminishing confusion and increasing demand. 57% of food truck owners had more Twitter followers than they did likes on Facebook, but with Twitter comes uncertainty of exposure.

SMS Marketing for Food Trucks

SMS marketing is an opportunity to personally engage with customers

SMS marketing has the ability to increase this exposure. 95 – 98% of text messages are read within minutes of receipt, which means that upon delivery the marketing material is received and processed by hungry consumers. Not only does text message marketing allow food vendors to control what is marketed and who receives it, but this marketing tool also builds a customer database. With each customer who opts-in to receive marketed text messages a mobile phone number is saved and stored for future subscriber data. SMS marketing creates an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with customers.

If customers opted-in to learn more about your vegetarian menu, their phone number can be categorized for future changes or specials on the vegetarian menu. If someone uses a keyword to learn about when a food truck will be in a specific neighborhood that number is categorized along with all the other customers from that neighborhood. This allows the option for a broadcast text alert to be sent to all subscribers in that neighborhood when it is appropriate.

If a truck relocates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day, the owners can let their customers know by social media post or direct to their mobile phone. How? All customers have to do is text a keyword to the shortcode and receive a list of dates and locations that they’ll be occupying. This way they have a calendar to refer to when they want their favorite hot dog or pretzel.

The possibilities are endless for marketing products. Promote a coupon code through SMS marketing and the code is saved in hundreds of inboxes for easy access. Market specials and new menu items through a broadcast message and know that customer received your information. In the city and on the street, vendors are already up-close and personal with their customers, so get more personal by texting straight to their mobile phones. Customers will never forget their favorite food truck.

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Dec
30

How to Use SMS Marketing to Reach Radio Listeners

SMS Marketing for Radio Broadcasting

Radio stations are learning about the many advantages that SMS marketing has to offer. Text message marketing is a useful tool for radio stations to incorporate into their routines due to its effectiveness in terms of sweepstake deals, database building, consumer communication, and marketing.  With a marketing tool such as this at their disposal, radio broadcasters are learning how simple it is to use and how it can boost their own marketing tactics.

When a radio network hosts a sweepstakes, they are not only celebrating their listeners, but also building their database of listeners. Normally, a random caller is chosen as the winner, and while they win their prize the network saves their number to create their database. This database is important for stations to know who is listening, and how many people are listening, as well as allowing an opportunity to communicate and build a relationship with listeners.

Another way to build this database is with SMS marketing. Text messaging is still the largest mobile marketing channel by revenue. SMS Marketing allows a radio station to save every subscriber, or sweepstakes participant, in large quantities. Advertising the keyword on the air allows listeners opt-in to the sweepstakes, and database, by texting that keyword to the shortcode.  Each opt-in listener is now stored and saved for future deals, promotions, news, and has become a customer for life.

If a radio station promotes a sweepstakes for a rock concert then the numbers that opted-in to win those tickets can be stored in a rock music genre. A new list can be created and saved according to the time of day they opted-in (when were they listening to your station), and why they opted-in (concert tickets, advertisement details, breaking news reports). SMS marketing tools are simple and easy to use by creating a keyword to coincide with whatever information is being presented, whether it is a sweepstakes, a store advertisement, or the own radio station’s event.

SMS Marketing for Radio

SMS marketing allows radio stations to reach their listeners even when they’re not listening to the radio.

Text message marketing can increase and further the communication that takes place between station and listener.Some listeners love calling in and having the opportunity to speak with their favorite DJs, but others simply like to listen and participate in the conversation on a quieter level. About 30% of consumers choose to interact with a brand via text message rather than a phone call. SMS marketing can help broaden the prospects to all listeners without excluding any options.

As a marketing tool, SMS marketing is helpful to promote the station and any special news or shows that will be airing. Broadcast texting allows stations to utilize their subscriber data in order to reach every single listener that has opted-in to the station’s database before. This is an option for the station to market any station news, as well as increase forced listenership.

Every day, radio stations market their sponsors or advertise a company or product on the air. Radio commercials and DJ scripts advertise for paying customers, and listeners can be just as compelled by a radio commercial as they can a television one.  SMS marketing can also be a helpful advertising tool for the stations to utilize for other companies. A text-based advertisement will keep listeners engaged and interested even when they’re not listening to the radio. Sponsors who are unable to find a satisfying amount of time on the air, can find it in the a text message that can be customized to be delivered to subscribers who show the most potential for interest.

SMS marketing is the opportunity to market, inform, and engage with radio network listeners.

Dec
28

How to Market Your App

Tips on How to Market an App

You’ve developed an app.  Now, what are you going to do to get people to use it?

MARKETING AN APP

 

 

While app store optimization is certainly important, marketers must not rely solely on promotion within the stores to maximize downloads.  There are over two million apps in the stores and finding a particular app is similar to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, despite the best ASO efforts.

It is not easy to get consumers interested in downloading another app on their mobile phone when smartphone users are already using an average of 26.7 apps per month, according to a Nielsen study.  Too often, a company spends all of its money on developing an app and does not reserve any money for marketing the app.  That is a rookie mistake.  Don’t make it.

A company needs to have developed a structured marketing plan in advance of the release of the app.  It needs a plan to tell existing customers and prospects good reasons why they need the app and where the app can be downloaded.  It needs to evaluate all of its current marketing channels to determine which would be best for promoting an app.  Facebook, for instance, would probably be better for facilitating app downloads than outdoor advertising since a social media user is likely on her mobile phone already as opposed to a driver who is hopefully not on his phone.  Google AdMob might be the best place since it enables an app marketer to advertise within other apps that consumers have already downloaded.

There is no doubt about the power of creating buzz on social media for an app launch.  It is an important part of the initial publicity required.  And, nobody does app marketing better than Facebook which earns a significant part of its ad revenue from brands pushing app downloads.

Of course, internet advertising is not always the best source for app downloads.  If the app has a huge budget, it may very well be television that results in the most downloads.  Game of War did a great job of promoting its app with eye catching Kate Upton and Mariah Carey as the stars of the commercials.

Acquisition costs will not always be high priced efforts like the television advertising for Game of War.  Publicity is a major driver of new app downloads so use press releases and other public relations efforts to get the word out.  Include a social media blitz as well.  The ROI provided by public relations efforts will likely result in the best ROI of any of the promotional efforts.

When marketing an app, it is absolutely critical to get off to a quick start to break through the supply of apps in the app store.  If an app is buried below thousands of others in the rankings, it is going to be difficult to get found.  Therefore, app marketers must get the word out quickly about the app by using a high level of growth hacking or a large advertising budget in an attempt to gain a featured listing and benefit from organic downloads.  Downloads beget more downloads thanks to the viral effect of the purchase and the improved ASO.

Research from Localytics found an added bonus to advertising apps.  App users that were acquired as a result of being discovered via a mobile ad network were more likely to come back for multiple uses on the app than those that found it from an organic search on the app store.  This is likely due to the fact that the ad creative has done a good job in pre-selling users on the benefits of the app and that the advertising was highly targeted.

The viral effect of apps is an important phenomenon to take advantage of.  An app should encourage existing users to share the app with friends or on social media.  (Think Candy Crush.)  This is a great way to take advantage of the viral publicity that a mobile app can provide.

Another great way to drive traffic to an app is to find the URL of the app download in the iTunes or Google Play listing for the app.  Keep in mind, this is not the URL for the business, but the URL that is used by the app stores.  Then, when the business does content marketing on its own blog or on external sites, it can link to the app store URL listings.  The goal is to get multiple rankings on the search engines for the app.  Those rankings might be the page on the business website that promotes the app download and the app stores’ direct URL’s for the download.

For iPhone and Android apps, there are multiple countries where the app can be listed.  If an app makes its money on advertising, there is no reason not to list the app in all countries, especially populous countries like China and India.  The Apple App and Google Play stores are available in over a hundred countries so it makes sense to be listed in as many of them as necessary.  Of course, if the app has an ecommerce element to it, this may not be practical.

There are many secondary Android app stores and therefore many places where an Android app can be marketed.  Amazon, Kindle, Nook store from Barnes & Noble, AppBrain, and GetJar are a few alternate places where an Android app can be marketed in addition to its logical home base in the Google Play store.

There is a defined cost to acquire app downloads and it is measured by a Cost Per Install (CPI) index.  The CPI per vertical market varies, but according to Fiksu, it averages $2.98 per user in 2015 and it is rising every year as businesses expand their use of mobile advertising, thus driving CPI costs up.

Dec
23

29 Tips for Mobile Website Design

How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

website design Hawaii

MOBILE BALLET: Responsive design creates websites suitable for all devices.

It is actually more difficult to create a designing for mobile than it is to create a desktop version.  That’s because there is simply so much less real estate to work with.  Following these guidelines will help provide your mobile customers with a satisfying user experience.

Homepage

  • Call to Action — This is the single most important element of your website.  It is the action that you want the consumer to take.  Therefore, make sure that it’s easy for your users to find them.  Put the call to action graphics and buttons in an obvious place where they cannot be missed.
  • Menus — Mobile users have a lot less patience than desktop users do.  They do not want to scroll through a long list of options to find what they want.  Present the fewest number of menu options possible and make the categories obvious and distinct to make it easier for mobile visitors to navigate.
  • Navigation — Users should be able to access the most important content in one click from the home page.  This usually involves using the three line “hamburger” button in the upper right.  A back button should be at both the top and the bottom of each page.
  • Homepage Access — Be sure that it is always easy to get back to the homepage without having to hit the back button multiple times.  Be sure that the top banner logo allows users to retreat back to the home page.
  • Video — A lot of text on the home page of a mobile site is not a great first impression.  Better to include a video to engage users right away.
  • Sale Promotions — it is tempting to hit users with prominent display of sale items on the home page and this is fine so long as the short term promotions do not interfere with the navigation or most important call to action.

Site Search

  • Site Search Boxes — If your site is a large ecommerce or information site, visitors will want to be able to search within your site search box.  Make sure it is prominent, visible, and at the top of the page.
  • Misspellings — it is certainly more difficult to type in a search item in a search box on a mobile phone.  Make it easier on your customers by adding misspellings and auto-complete.
  • Guide Users — To get better search results, ask as many questions upfront as possible.  For instance, a shoe site might ask for sizes since showing shoes that are not available in a particular size probably is not going to do the customer much good.

Registration

  • Let them Visit First — it is often kind of annoying when you walk into a retail store and the clerks are immediately asking you what you are looking for.  In most cases, you just want to look around first.  Same with your website.  Don’t ask them to register before looking for the product they are interested in.  Registration is a turnoff.  Engage them with an interesting product first.
  • Guest — Permit guests on the site.  As much as you might want the user’s information, some simply do not want to give it to you and if you demand it, you’ll likely get false information anyway.  Let them purchase without registering.  After using the guest registration and making the purchase, ask them again to register, but this time give the user a good reason why they should register such as receiving email discounts.
  • Convenience — If it’s a return visitor, remember their information to make it more convenient when checking out.
  • Use Tap to Call — Some aspects of the checkout process might be confusing to some users.  Others may be nervous about providing their personal data online.  Therefore, you should always allow for a tap to call help button during the checkout process.  If your business is too small to allow for 24/7 live operators, at least provide a recorded IVR program to get leads to call back the next business day.
  • Use Tap to Text — Same as tap to call, although simply touching a button will enable the customer to send a text message to the business.
  • Use Tap to Chat — Initiate an interactive chat service with the business.
  • Convert on Another Device — It can be difficult to fill out long forms on the small screen of the mobile phone.  Allow the customer to be sent information via email to convert the process when they are on a desktop.

Forms

  • Short Forms — Just ask for the information that is absolutely needed and nothing more.  You can collect more details later.
  • Information Entry — If the field requires numbers, such as a phone number or zip code, automatically shift the user’s mobile phone to the numeric section.
  • Use Toggles — A toggle is easier to navigate than a dropdown.  Users will prefer using them.
  • Calendar — People often do not know what date it is, but they usually know what day of the week it is.  Offering a visual calendar for events and travel sites make it a lot easier on the mobile user and will help them make less mistakes on date selections.  It also solves the problem where much of the rest of the world puts the date first and the month second as opposed to North America where the month always comes before the date.
  • Label within Text Boxes — Your site will be dealing with many different sizes of mobile devices and screen sizes.  A mobile user can easily get confused, often not knowing whether they should use the input copy at the top or bottom of the box, for instance.  That’s why you cannot fail if you have the labels inside of the boxes.
  • Efficient Forms — When entered, the zip code, for instance, should auto-fill the city and state to reduce the amount of fields required.  Put the zip code form before the city and state to save time.  Do the same in Canada, but remember that Canadians use alphanumeric postal codes instead.
  • Skip Ahead — When the form is filled, automatically have the cursor jump to the next field box.  Of course, you cannot do this for a name or address, but you can do it for phone numbers and zip codes where there are always a standard number of digits.

Usability

  • Test — it is critical to test, test, and test more.  Don’t just use the people in your office; they are probably too close to the product to find errors that outsiders may find.  There are online services that will enable you to test on a range of devices without having to purchase all of the devices.
  • Pinch and Zoom — A good mobile site should never require the user to pinch and zoom to see items.
  • Expandable — While a good site will avoid pinch and zoom, it’s great to offer expandable images, especially on ecommerce sites.
  • Portrait & Landscape — Whatever is used on your homepage should be used throughout the site.  Don’t make users turn their phones between portrait and landscape!
  • Windows — Users should never have to open new windows on mobile.  it is a pain for them and will help you lose the sale.
  • Desktop Site — Some users may prefer using the desktop site to the mobile site for whatever reason.  Do not deny them the ability to use the desktop site.  But, do not label it “full site” either.  If you do label it “full site,” users tend to choose it, fearing that they miss out on something, and then they get frustrated, because it does not look great on mobile.  Use the term “desktop site” in the footer to denote the site instead of “full site.”  And, do not always link back to the home page of the desktop site; it’s better to link back to the most relevant page on the desktop.

Technical Checklist

  • Configuration — Make sure that your configurations are correct and you are taking mobile users to the mobile site and desktop users to the desktop version.  This sounds basic, but it happens.
  • Landing Pages — Landing pages often work best on mobile where the theme can be exactly based on the mobile advertisement or source of the click through.
  • Analytic — Ensure that your analytic tools are tracking both mobile and desktop separately.
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