Matthew Bruce Team : Web Production Tags : Mobile Web

Annoying your customers through bad mobile design

Matthew Bruce Team : Web Production Tags : Mobile Web

A few months ago I was at my local Bunnings hardware store buying an outdoor furniture setting. I was looking at spending around the three-hundred dollar mark, so not the kind of purchase that I would normally make without doing a bit of research. I’d already jumped online to check out the prices and had my exact setting picked out. Couldn’t be easier, so I thought.

Unfortunately when I arrived at the store, my confidence to buy was tested for a number of reasons. The exact outdoor setting that I was after was not on display, leaving me wondering if indeed they even had them in stock. Wandering to the back of the store, I found the area where outdoor furniture was flat packed on high shelves, and rows of chairs were stacked ready to wheel to the checkout. After finding the item that I wanted, the price tag was incorrect – fifty dollars more, from memory. There were no sales staff to enquire to, so I fired up the mobile internet and discovered much to my delight, not only did I have good Vodafone reception in store, but also Bunnings appeared to have a decent mobile site. Unfortunately it was completely useless. The Bunnings mobile site – despite having a mobile catalogue of all the products covered on their full site – did not show price points. I could find no way of accessing the full site, and so I left Bunnings, not convinced I had to pay $50 more than I should have. A lost customer.

Thankfully, it would appear that somebody at Bunnings was paying attention, and now their mobile site has been improved – this time with price points for all products. For me, Bunnings was a clear lesson that you really do need to pay attention to what your customer needs from a mobile website (at Wiliam we much prefer sites over apps, that’s a different blog topic altogether!). Was there a tactical or strategic reason for this information not being displayed in the first place? Or was it simply an oversight?

One thing is for sure – as much as anything else, bad mobile site design can really impact your brand. Just because I was accessing their website from a mobile device, doesn’t mean that I wanted or expected any lesser functionality. If anything, it should have been a quicker, more pleasurable experience than traversing the information on their cluttered full site.

At Wiliam, we’re currently producing a new mobile site for Camera House, one of Australia’s leading photography retailers. We’re looking at the way consumers are interacting with the Camera House website and have found that more and more people than ever are accessing the site from a mobile device. It has reached the tipping point where this audience share cannot be ignored, and these customers want features they can access on the road. We need to identify ways to specifically enhance the mobile experience.

In the past 12 months, Google Analytics have shown us that the portion of Camera House web traffic attributed to mobile devices as grown from 6% to 16%. The last 3% growth happened in the past 3 months alone. The graph is pointing upwards and before long we expect that 1 in 5 people who visit will be from a mobile phone or tablet device.

Research has shown that tablet users have high expectations of a website. Large, vibrant screens with awesome colour and clarity; fast 3G/4G networks providing excellent wireless connectivity; a touch screen interface and the impression of ‘capability’. A tablet is seen by consumers as so much more than just a large ‘mobile phone’. There is nearly an expectation that one should be able to surf the net and perform online tasks just as easily on a tablet, as I can on a laptop or PC. Perhaps it should be an even faster, easier and better quality web experience? Given this mindset, and the increasing audience statistics, it makes a lot of sense that any serious player in the online space should be wanting to ensure that their mobile website is at the top of its game, or risk reducing revenue, increased costs and a negative brand perception.