On Tuesday some of the team were along at Glasgow for Business Week taking part in a session on mobile marketing and m-commerce.

Rakesh Davda opened the session with an interesting introduction on the evolution of the digital landscape and technology, and the growing pertinence of mobile web. He concentrated on how mobiles have impacted the way we, as consumers, use and access information online, and how this effects the way companies need to present data.

Our Senior Designer, Aidan Martin, then took to the floor to illustrate how After Digital and the digital industry have responded to such changes. Most importantly, the ability to respond effectively to change relies heavily on our ability as an agency to remain agile and fully understand shifting browsing habits and technological advances.

To demonstrate his point Aidan then introduced After Digital8™, After Digital’s trademarked eight step process, which looks to gain a more holistic understanding of the client’s needs and build in measurability from the offset. This process considers the end user and content in the initial stages to ensure the digital strategy applied best fits the client’s original objectives and the design concept grows from there. It’s what we refer to as ‘content leading design’.

The same applies to going mobile. With a number of possible mobile solutions your digital agency can only best satisfy your needs by understanding your business and your customers.

Furthermore, we must all continue to learn and adapt if we want to safeguard our online presence against the continually shifting digital environment. To do so, we must look to provide tailored browsing experiences across all devices and browsers. Nowadays, most agencies would agree that the best way to do this is through responsive design. What’s more, Google advocates responsive design for enhancing search performance of mobile web content. And, as the world’s leading search engine and a pioneer in the digital sector, what Google says goes.

Aidan’s top design tips for going mobile:

  • Go back to basics – Make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and how this will satisfy your business objectives. To do this it is important to clearly define your business goals and monitor performance continuously, so as to respond to change.
  • Remember that content is king – Never underestimate the importance of your site’s content. It is your content that will support better performance in search engines, attract and engage your online audience, and encourage conversions online. Content should Always lead design.
  • Be flexible – Leverage your brand’s strengths whilst also considering functionality.
  • Providing an optimal user experience is essential – By understanding your end user’s needs and using your content to form the basis of your mobile web design concept you can ensure you present the best possible experience online (across all platforms) for your users.

Aidan wrapped up his presentation by highlighting the difficulties involved with delivering your business objectives via m-commerce (also known as mobile ecommerce). It takes considerable investment and consideration of the user experience to create an effective m-commerce platform, which customers will trust and return to. Having adopted m-commerce early on, Amazon is one company who have mastered this approach and who provide a fantastic case study of best practice. After Digital applies similar principles across all mobile solutions provided for our customers, ensuring ease of navigation and an intuitive user experience.

Our client Lesley-Ann Cardow, Group Marketing Manager at Somerston Hotels, then introduced the Somerston Hotels Mobile business case to showcase an effective mobile web solution in action.

The Somerston Hotels group own and operate 32 Holiday Inn Express hotels across the UK and required an innovative digital solution that better represented the brand and catered for an increasing volume of mobile web traffic. The company challenged After Digital to future-proof their suite of sites, in order to retain brand values and respond to technological advances.

The solution implemented responsive design to present the same high levels of service online (through maximum across-platform user experiences) as customers receive when they visit the hotels themselves. Operating in such a competitive environment hotel and hospitality companies cannot afford to ignore the demand for online booking and information provision on mobile platforms. Responsive design allows the Somerston Hotels websites to render appropriately no matter what device or browser is used to view them, allowing the company to efficiently market its hotels online, increase brand visibility and promote user-friendly interfaces.

The consistency provided by responsive design strengthens Somerston Hotels’ brand image and corporate message. Through well-thought-out content and clearly established business objectives, the design was able to best meet the hotel groups needs, whilst also satisfying the end user’s online goals.

Having undergone the move to mobile Lesley-Ann’s top tips are as follows:

  • Plan and prioritise content – Make sure it works to achieve your business goals but also meets your customer’s expectations.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of the wireframing process – This process aims to map out the user journey and deliver the best possible user experience.
  • Be consistent – Ensure coherence in communications across the board, in order to promote your brand message.
  • Test, test and test some more – This process takes a lot of patience but is essential to success.
  • Work in partnership with your digital agency - You know your business best so help your digital partner to understand. Ask questions and stay in regular contact, and together you will produce the best results.

Thanks to all those who came along to listen, we had fun and received lots of great feedback. If you have any questions about making the move to mobile or m-commerce, or enhancing your performance online please do no hesitate to contact us.

Read our blogs below to find out more about designing for mobile browsing and responsive web design:

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Responsive Design vs Mobile Specific for SEO
  • Mobile Web Design & Responsive Web Design
  • After Digital Responsive Tool