May 27, 2011
I hang my head in shame as I am about to let you in on a secret, "I, Alisa Thwing, only joined the wonderful world of smartphones a little over a month and a half ago." Now that that is out in the open, let's focus on how my life has changed in the last 6 weeks, rather than why in the world did I not have a smartphone before then?
The first thing I did with my new iPhone 4; I immediately started downloading apps. Words With Friends was the very first, Facebook and Tweetdeck were next. Then came Pandora, Southwest Airlines, AroundMe, Groupon, ESPN's ScoreCenter, PGA Tour, Instagram, and many many others. In less than an hour, I became that person I have loathed for more years than I care to admit: I became the person always looking at their phone.
The more and more I played on my phone, learning it's functions and features, the more flashbacks I had to webinars and conferences I had attended focused on the mobile web. I realized I truly didn't understand those messages and best practices until I actually owned and used a smartphone. As you may recall in my recap from Online Marketing Summit earlier this year, one of the things that stood out to me was the "15 second rule - Can they figure it out in 15 seconds? If not, you've lost them." While that is not a hard concept to grasp, it wasn't until I was trying to look at a local restaurant's menu on my iPhone screen that I said, "You would think this restaurant would realize a lot of their guests are looking at their menu on smartphones and they should make it a little easier to access it rather than have this super teeny tiny button on the left nav ..."
I had become a smartphone snob.
But with over 100 million smartphones sold in the first quarter of this year, I find my newly acquired smartphone snobbery to be somewhat acceptable. The thing is, I am usually a very loyal person. Loyal to brands (I've worn the same brand of running shoe, Saucony, for 14 years), loyal to restaurants (since moving to St. Louis one year ago, I've gone to the same Mexican food restaurant once a week ... I'm a sucker for Mexican food). Basically, like most people, when I find something I like, I stick with it. However, since I became a smartphone snob, I've started questioning certain loyalties. I've realized my own consumer behavior is easily swayed by how easy it is to navigate a website on my phone. If I can't click on or read your menu easily on my phone, I am moving on to another restaurant on my list. Simple as that.
We all know this is the era of mobile. From smartphones to tablets, the mobile web experience is one that will define consumer and customer behavior for years to come.
The question is: is your mobile site up to par? Are you losing customers, clients, consumers, whatever your goal is, because your mobile web experience is less than satisfactory? Have you visited your site from your mobile phone? Was it an experience you were proud of?
I promise to keep my smartphone snobbery at a managable level ... that is, if you promise to evaluate your mobile website.
Author: Alisa Thwing
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