Does Mobile Design and Development Matter for Your Business? How to Find Out.
by Josette Millar
Before starting mobile design and development, consider whether it matters for your business.
Mobile design and development considers the strategy, time, effort, and money it requires to implement a mobile website, app, or technology. From the book Mobile Design and Development, author Brian Fling appraises “with the wrong strategy, it can be hard to justify and even harder to monetize the costs of mobile.” When businesses don’t consider their specific needs, they lose time, money, and resources.
Consider your User Base
Many businesses focus so closely on what their competitors or industry leaders are doing that they forget to cater to their own audience. For businesses with a loyal customer base that access their site religiously, like Twitter or Instagram, developing a strong mobile design is a good use of resources. These businesses know that catering to customers on a mobile platform will increase customer satisfaction and their mobile site will be used frequently.
Other businesses attract customers who only visit their site for a specific need, like Zappos or Dharma Trading Company. These businesses fulfill a niche role for their customers and those customers don’t regularly visit their site without making a purchase. Once customers are ready to purchase, they perform the purchase on a laptop or tablet. While a mobile site would benefit browsers, companies that are starting out may not want to sink significant time and resources into mobile design and development because only a small customer base would access their site using a mobile device.
Think about Function
Mobile design can yield some exceptional apps and sites. The Target Cartwheel app draws in customers by offering coupons and savings to shoppers wandering the aisles with their smartphone. Target considered it’s customers needs and resources and offered a wanted service via app. Businesses that make smart mobile design and development choices truly consider what their function is when developing a mobile design. Businesses that understand the role they play in their customer’s lives can optimize their mobile design and development to fulfill that need.
How Far Down the Rabbit Hole Should You Go?
Mobile design and development encompasses a large array of mobile technologies, including applications and responsive sites. The upfront costs can be minimal to exorbitant. Many small businesses with a solid website would benefit most from a simple reconfiguration of their primary site into a mobile site. This no-frills, low-cost approach ensures that mobile users have a usable site and it is ideal for businesses that don’t have much to offer on mobile technology.
Most businesses are choosing to implement responsive websites that adjust to the size of the viewing screen. These designs are expensive but clear up a lot of the search engine issues associated with maintaining a primary and mobile site. In addition, responsive websites offer users a consistent brand experience across all platforms.
Finally, developing an app can be done in conjunction with a mobile or responsive site. It’s a “bonus” feature that needs a specific function for customers. That can be a way to increase savings or a natural outreach of your services. Apps are a specialized service meaning that not only do businesses need a message that is best served with an app but customers must be engaged with the business enough to download and utilize it.
Most businesses would benefit from some type of mobile design and development but there is no “one size fits all” approach to implementing mobile design. Businesses need to assess their customer base, their commitment, and their specific needs to determine what mobile design and development would work best for their employees and their customers.