Allowing mobile visitors to engage with key business processes, such as marketing, sales and CRM, can add significant business value to companies. Traditionally, this high level of mobile engagement has required the creation of native mobile apps, a time-consuming and costly building process that results in siloed data and inflexibility. Companies such as UR Mobile are offering an attractive alternative to native business apps: mobile web apps.
Through its Accelerate Platform, UR Mobile allows companies to quickly and cost-effectively integrate functions and business applications, which are on the company’s web service layer, into a mobile web app that can then easily be embedded in their mobile website. With mobile web apps, there is nothing for mobile end-users to download or manage, and the web app solutions can be easily and efficiently updated and edited at anytime by the company, without having to go through a re-release or app store approval process.
This added dimension of business service is game changing for companies and end-users, alike. Companies can and should take advantage of the opportunity to include as many relevant areas of functionality as possible through mobile web apps on their mobile websites. They should, however, make the engagement experience as friction-free as possible. This means optimizing the space where their mobile web apps reside: their mobile websites. Here are a few things that companies should not include in their mobile websites:
1. Multi-page forms
Without forms, mobile commerce would be impossible. They are an effective way to capture customer information, and mobile end-users who are engaging with companies through mobile web apps will need to enter log-in information, credit card information and personal information on mobile website forms. Companies should make this process as simple as possible. That means keeping form pages to a minimum. The best practice is to keep the form to one page. This allows the customer to see exactly where they are in the process of filling out the form simply by scrolling, instead of by hitting a “back” button. Being able to see all of their information on one page allows the end-user to easily verify that the form has been filled out completely and correctly before submission. Increased confidence in the process will encourage further mobile engagement and will also reflect well on the company.
2. Irrelevant functions
Certain functions, such as online instant messaging, do not make sense from the small screen of a smartphone. Consequently, if it is important that a non-mobile engagement function be made available to a company’s mobile users, a mobile alternative should be found. For example, if a company’s customers rely upon online support, via instant messaging, then they will expect to find another, equally efficient support option through the company’s mobile site, such as click-to-call or click–to-text. It is important that these mobile-specific options be as efficient or more efficient than online options. So, for example, if a company substitutes a click-to-call option for instant messaging, the phone number should connect the caller to support personnel—not to an automated message or to a main switchboard.
Pop-up ads often make mobile websites unusable. Formatting will not allow users to “x-out” the pop-up to access the site, making the goal, engagement through mobile web apps, impossible. This predicament can be caused when a company chooses to sync its online website, which has pop-ads, to its mobile website, instead of creating a dedicated mobile website. UR Mobile addresses this problem by bundling a drag-and-drop mobile website design studio with the Accelerate Platform. That way, companies can easily deploy their mobile web apps along with a dedicated mobile website that is truly optimized for mobile.
As companies extend their businesses through mobile web apps, to the mobile web, they should be careful to use mobile-specific strategies that put the end-user experience first. All obstacles should be removed in order to allow end-users to easily engage with a company’s mobile web apps.
Chairman and CEO
Tarpley McColl is a successful entrepreneur with over ten years of experience in the mobile and Internet industry. Tarpley has consistently excelled in several different markets and industries, helping the companies he’s started to grow strategically and to become profitable. In addition to serving as CEO of UR Mobile, Tarpley is also a Founding Partner at Evergreen Syndicate, a design and consulting firm, and Managing Partner of AEG Media Group, an online media company.