UX Mag: Modals on Mobile: How to use them wisely

Chris Wigley of UXMagazine gives succinct review of the current use of modal windows use in small screen design. He rightly reminds of us of when and how modals should be used. If the content was planned for, then make it right, instead of a modal hack job.

Modals are becoming the dumping ground for content that doesn’t fit anywhere else, often because of issues with content planning. Modal windows should be applied only to meet the following objectives:

  1. Interruption: force the user to make a decision or complete a task within an important workflow
  2. Feedback or Correction: Confirming decisions: “Confirm you are happy with your decision” moment.
  3. Deep Dive: Focusing on a single piece of content, such as an image, article or video.

Read the complete article here.

Consumers’ Mobile Path to Purchase: 5 key findings

In this constantly connected world, people use their smartphones throughout the day to find information, shop, and stay connected. Google commissioned Nielsen to conduct a study of smartphone users who recently made a purchase to better understand the role of mobile in the research and shopping process. Through a combination of surveys and metered data of actual mobile consumer behavior, Google uncovered five key findings:

  1. Consumers spend time researching on mobile: Consumers spend 15+ hours per week researching on mobile sites and apps. They visit websites 6 times on average in the purchase process.
  2. Mobile research begins with search: 48% of consumers start mobile shopping-related research using search engines, more than they start on branded apps or websites.
  3. Location proximity matters: 69% of consumers expect a business to be within 5 miles of where they’re located.
  4. Purchase immediacy is key: 55% of consumers want to purchase within an hour, 83% within a day.
  5. Mobile influences purchases across channels: Of those who made a purchase and researched on their phones, 82% purchased in-store, 45% bought online (desktop/tablet) and 17% purchased on mobile.

With smartphone penetration in the US nearly doubling year-over-year from 31% to 56%1, it’s clear that the mobile savvy shopper is here to stay.

Key Implications
Below are ways that advertisers can use these insights to better reach the mobile consumer and drive more business:

Ensure you have a mobile-optimized site
Consumers expect a business to have a mobile-friendly website. To create a mobile-optimized experience, you’ll want to start by analyzing how your consumers currently interact with your website, what they’re looking for, where they’re visiting from, etc. These insights will provide hints for creating a mobile website that meets your consumers’ needs. For more information on building sites that are optimized for mobile and other devices, check out these resources.

Tailor your search ads for the mobile shopper
As search is the most common starting point for mobile shopping research, it’s important to have mobile ads running so you’ll be there when consumers are looking for you. You can help consumers get the information they need by designing your search ads with mobile-preferred creatives, such as “Call now” or “Visit our mobile site.”

Use location extensions so consumers can find you
Location extensions allow you to attach your business address to your ads, which lets consumers know how close they are to your business and provides directions for consumers to get to your store.

Facilitate faster checkouts
Showing local in-stock inventory with local PLAs, enabling click to call and building fast, seamless mobile checkout experiences with tools like Google Wallet Instant Buy are several ways advertisers can help consumers complete their purchases quickly.

Measure conversions across channels with cross-device conversion tracking
Consumers purchase across channels, often times starting their research on mobile, then buying in-store or on their computers. Advertisers can better understand how mobile ads drive purchases by using estimated cross-device conversion to measure conversions that start from mobile research.

To explore more of the findings from the Mobile Path to Purchase research, view the full presentation at the Think with Google site.

From Inside Adwords, posted by Bao Lam, Performance Ads Product Marketing Manager. 

1 Google & Ipsos Our Mobile Planet, 2011-2013

Mobile is Eating Our World, Russ Whitman, SIC 2013

I recently attended a talk given by Russ Whitman of Ratio Interactive during Seattle Interactive Conference (#sic2013, #sicmobile). Russ and I actually worked together in the 90’s on a product called the “icebox” – an internet enabled kitchen appliance. (Basically, a TV with the internet on it with a washable keyboard and mouse). Oh, how far we’ve come in 15+ years. (And where are we going?)

The industry is now:

  • Big and Micro data; the small things and moments build big data – don’t discount micro-data
  • Personal and Enterprise data
  • Native and Web
  • Cloud and Local
  • Multi-screen beyond smartphones and tablets – TVs, cars, airplanes

Our world is made up of touch, mouse, controller and gesture interaction. Design and UX matter. The shift is worldwide, particularly with rapid adoption.

Consumers have a series of devices, no longer just one computer that stays in one room and does everything:

  • Tablets for reading, browsing
  • Smartphones for staying in touch, killing time, searching
  • PC/laptops as workhorses, transactional machines

The reality is we have screens in front of us every day, and we need to make them more useful. Whether it’s on your wrist, in your hand, on your desk, or in your car. Smart TVs are coming on strong. 67m Smart TVs were sold in 2012; 90m are projected to sell in 2013. It’s time to start thinking about branded, second screen experiences.

Digital video consumption grew exponentially through 2012 on non-PCs; more people are bypassing cable. Brands recognize this and are going digital only. Consider Netflix. They are the first non-TV network (cable or broadcast), to receive Emmy nominations (and awards) for their original series, “House of Cards.”

App downloads drive everything, they are not going away. Brands are working to build their own connected ecosystems through features and capabilities while keeping other brands out – aka “The Walled Gardens”  of Apple, Windows, Kindle/Amazon, and Android.

Why do people seem to use the same 5 apps? It’s a question of viewability and access. Consider how many app tiles/icons a user can see on the screen at one time, and how many screens do they have full of apps? What’s first, what’s last? We need to be smarter about bringing content forward – such as in contextual format, or time of day.

Also bear in mind that not all apps are created contextually equal. For example, a user may have and use up to 3 different note-taking apps, depending on the environment, the device, their immediate needs and goals.

When choosing between contextual experience over consistency – contextual experience always wins. A user won’t use your app or site if it doesn’t work for them in a a particular, preferred context.

The reality is that it’s software and it’s going to break. You can only test so much. Get real people in front of it, using it, as soon as you’re able and as much as possible.