Fulcrum Development

Blog

What We See

Your Users Have Phones

Photo by GeorgeRudy/iStock / Getty Images

Your users have phones.   It is such an obvious statement that it almost sounds cliché, but it is true.  According to Pew Research, 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, with 77% owning smartphones.  These numbers are particularly important when contrasted with the number of people who own desktop or laptop computers, which has stagnated around 73% according to the same article.  For the first time, we are seeing greater cell phone ownership than computer ownership.  Those numbers ought to shape our thinking around the customer journey, customer engagement, and usability.  Here are 3 ways to account for mobile on your next project.

Think Mobile First

Odds are, the first time a consumer engages with your application, it will be using a mobile device.  What will that first impression be like?  Can a user see value in your application without having to switch devices?  If so, users are far less likely to abandon your application.  It can take some time to design your application in such a way that mobile users don’t feel limited, but the investment is worth it.  It is entirely possible there are features that you cannot effectively implement on mobile devices.  That said, mobile phones are more feature rich than ever before.  With the ability to take pictures seamlessly with built in devices, scan barcodes, integrate with installed applications, and even print, the feature gap for mobile devices is narrowing while creating a feature gap for the larger form factor devices.  Once you take into account all the things a mobile device is capable of, you may find that it is easier to design for a mobile device than it is for a larger form factor.

Smartphones Are Still Phones

Smartphones manufacturers are hard at work making sure their features outweigh those of their competitors.  With facial recognition, virtual assistants, brilliant cameras, compasses, and the fast internet speeds of modern smartphones, it can be easy to forget the basic concept that a smartphone is still a phone.  What workflows in your application could benefit from that concept?  Whether it is a reminder that your medication is due to refill, a callback that was requested to avoid holding, or a conversation with an SMS bot that helps pay a parking ticket, the possibilities with telephony in modern customer engagement are endless.  What’s more, they are easier than ever to implement.  Today’s application developers can leverage platforms like Twilio to create strong customer engagement platforms without having to invest heavily in hardware, software, and maintenance to maintain a telephony stack.

Be Personal

Now, more than ever, users are expecting application to know them, to greet them, and to anticipate their needs.  This is particularly true when using mobile devices.  Whether it is a simple “Welcome Back” on the login screen or helpful, contextual guidance during a complex user flow, users want to feel known and understood.  Foster that feeling by putting yourself in their shoes.  Don’t assume that users know your industry, use plain language instead of industry terminology where possible.  Anticipate users’ reactions to your engagement attempts.  Would you answer a call from an area code you don’t recognize? Would you provide personal information to a chatbot that reached out to you without context? Finally, be professionally persistent.  Over-communication with an actively disengaged user is often worse than under-communication.

When you are thinking mobile first, using all the phone features available to you, and being personal with your users, you will find that your user base starts to change.  You will find a happier, more engaged, and more dedicated user base full of active promoters. If you need help defining or implementing these concepts for your organization, feel free to call or text 262-417-7611 or email us at info@meetfulcrum.com.

Brian Prigge