We all know the basics at this point: single column designs, bigger buttons, clearer calls to action and media queries/responsive designs that create as uniform an experience as possible across the seemingly limitless set of platforms and devices used to access email and the mobile shopping experience. However, there are other considerations to be had in the coming months and years regarding the mobile experience. Mobile experiences are about utility and understanding how mobile shoppers open, engage and convert. Questions that need asking include: Are they converting on the mobile, web or through an app? Are emails adequately deep linked into shopping apps to minimize the friction from browse to buy? What percentage of your consumers are using iOS versus Android? These are basic questions that you need to begin asking when the fog of 2019 clears and the sun breaks through the clouds of 2020.
Preparing for a more branded mobile inbox
A cross-industry coalition of companies are working on a new standard for improving the visibility of email in the inbox while providing incentive for the sending community to publish and enforce email authentication. Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) will allow legitimate senders to publish a trademarked logo in DNS that will be displayed by a participating mailbox provider such as Yahoo! or Gmail if they’ve properly set up and aligned their email authentication records.
Why should you care?
The inbox is under regular assault by bad actors who weaponize emails and hijack or phish brands in order to defraud recipients. For as much trust and utility that email has provided the internet, it has also created a massive gap in terms of security. Over the years, companies have tried to help educate and empower recipients through visual trust indicators such as lock icons and colored messages about the identity of a sender. Most of these don’t mean much to the average recipient – at the end of the day most people are not security experts. BIMI has the potential to change that by securing who can and can’t use a logo and then displaying that logo in the native mailbox provider, or next to emails that pass muster.
You have the opportunity to have your logo seen by a recipient before they even open an email, if you take the necessary steps to secure your sending domain through SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Brand impressions are important to stay top of mind—having the brand displayed in the inbox can be a massive differentiator. Consider the struggle of mobile apps on a device: the average mobile user has upwards of 90 apps on their device but barely uses a third of them. Over 20% of apps are abandoned after just one use – but email still remains one of the top three activities done on a smartphone. The inbox’s list view, or the view of all emails in the inbox, has been a completely unbranded experience until now. When that changes, a huge opportunity will open up for brands.
Google AMP for Email comes to mobile
In November of 2019, Google began to roll out the AMP for Email experience on Android and iOS. The interactive mobile inbox presents new challenges and opportunities for bold retailers and e-commerce companies willing to spend the extra time to code and test AMP MIME Parts. Like BIMI, taking advantage of AMP for Email will require senders to publish and align their email authentication records. A new mobile inbox that’s both interactive and more visibly branded will potentially be a more secure inbox, so long as companies understand that email must be protected from a whole host of phishers and cybercriminals actively working to exploit the channel.
Since interactive emails will allow recipients to get status updates, view fresh content, and respond directly in an email to things such as invites and comments, senders will have to begin tracking the efficacy of the new mobile inbox versus native mobile apps and mobile web sites. It’s one thing to deliver a mobile experience – it’s another to understand the impact of the experience versus existing mobile properties. Additionally, there will need to be parity in data that is displayed in emails versus that which is available in an app or on the mobile web. This has always been a requirement but the timing aspect has changed. As recipients, we’ve all experienced a situation where the offer we received, time-sensitive or not, either wasn’t available, had expired or wasn’t quite what we had anticipated when we clicked a link in an email. Now that the recipient’s experience will remain in the mobile inbox, and as it grows and becomes yet another source of truth, senders will have to take extra precautions to ensure that the curious and restless minds that switch liberally between an app and an inbox with dynamic content are given the same up to date information to prevent confusion and disengagement.
Mobile is everywhere – and it’s becoming more challenging. Smartphones introduced an incredibly small screen and format, and if the new Motorola Razr takes off the way it’s predecessor did in the early 2000s, we may have to tackle the nuances of foldable screens as well. What happens if Motorola decides to add a screen to the front of the device as the original had? Anything is possible in the mobile world, which is why it’s rife with opportunity.
Mobile’s impact on email is not to be underestimated – we need to understand that mobile email is simply an adaptation of what we’ve been doing all along, but in a compact form that requires channel and platform-specific thinking. Before mobile, we were worried about rendering across desktop and web browsers and how no two mailbox providers would render email quite the same way. Mobile introduced new formats and wrinkles, but it also put email in everyone’s pocket in ways we’d never before imagined. The thing about mobile is that you have to measure it on its own merits and think of it as a unique means of engaging with your customers. Measure, test, iterate, measure, test some more, and make sure that your email isn’t dismissable and forgettable – because if it lacks visibility and usability in the forthcoming mobile inbox, it will be forgotten in this hyper-interactive world.
More predictions for 2020
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
About The Author
Len Shneyder is a 15-year email and digital messaging veteran and the VP of industry relations at Twilio SendGrid. Len serves as an evangelist and proponent of best practices and drives thought leadership and data-driven insights on industry trends. Len represents Twilio SendGrid on the board of M3AAWG (Messaging, Malware, Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group) as vice chair in addition to co-chairing the Program Committee. He’s also part of the MAC (Member Advisory Committee) of the Email Experience Council where he serves as the organization’s vice chair. The EEC is owned by the Direct Marketing Association of America, a nearly 100-year-old organization where he also sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, Len has worked closely with the Email Sender and Provider Coalition on issues surrounding data privacy and email deliverability.
Contributor and SMX speaker, Duane Brown, explains in this video why 2020 is the year to get a handle on your mobile experience as well as find the platforms your customers are on and experiment if they’re new to you.
Below is the video transcript:
Hey, my name’s Duane Brown. I run an agency up in Montreal, Canada. We focus on kind of two areas, paid ads, PPC, Google, Facebook, stuff like that. We also do CRO for clients, we’ll often have to figure out how do their websites convert more. And a lot of our clients are in e-commerce.
There’s a lot of trends I think happening for next year. I think there are two areas we all need to focus on. One is that more people are going to spend time on like Pinterest and Snapchat and even Tik Tok. And so figuring out, do you have customers on those platforms? And does it make sense to test those out in 2020? You know Google, Bing, Microsoft, Facebook – those are all great places to be. But I think spending more time on those other platforms makes sense if your customers are there.
I think the bigger issue for next year is we still don’t have a great mobile experience, especially your on e-commerce. You see people with pop-ups, people with experiences that don’t match the desktop, and with more and more traffic being on mobile, I think it makes sense to look at 2020 as the year to go through your website and figure out if this is the experience we want customers to have, especially on a mobile device. Is this the experience we want customers to have, and does this match your desktop?
If we go into a recession and people spend less money next year, you need to make sure you maintain all your customers. Or if the opportunity presents itself, grow your customer base in market share. Mobile is a great way to do that because the mobile experience is still not where it needs to be and 2020 can be the year to make mobile even better.
More predictions for 2020
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
About The Author
Duane has been called an international man of mystery and digital nomad by friends. He has lived in 6 cities across 3 continents and visited 40 countries around the world. He uses his curiosity for people and love for people watching to run better marketing campaigns for clients. After leaving Toronto in 2011 to gain an international view of the world. He has worked for Telstra in Australia and brands including ASOS, Jack Wills and Mopp (bought Sept. 2014) while in London, UK. He now lives in Montreal, Canada helping brands grow through data, CRO and marketing at Take Some Risk Inc.
Our global journey to rethink, redesign, and align our mobile experiences
In Seattle, an engineer thumbs through a Mumbai-based coworker’s edits while walking between meetings. In rural China, an artisan uses their phone to sell their creations. In Johannesburg, a lawyer texts back a client before catching the bus. These real-life snapshots show the diverse and evolving workflows of today’s 5 billion mobile users worldwide.
In many ways, mobile productivity is still a code waiting to be cracked. Beyond mobile-first and mobile-only markets where necessity mandates it, we can rarely accomplish as much on a phone as we do on our PCs. However, we believe in empowering everyone to be fully productive on any device. Our teams’ focus on emerging markets, inclusive design, and accessibility has broadened our aperture as we create more tailored, intelligent experiences across Microsoft 365.
Today, we’re excited to unveil redesigns to our flagship mobile apps! We’ve redesigned Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also expect new versions of Teams, Yammer, and Planner soon. These redesigns contribute to broader company efforts to take mobile productivity to the next level. At Microsoft Ignite, we publicly previewed our beta Office app and Fluid Framework. Office combines multiple Microsoft 365 mobile experiences in one app, and Fluid is a new technology that breaks broad experiences into dynamic, real-time components ideal for mobile scenarios.
Beyond the public eye, we’re also conducting global research, designing a mobile-born version of Fluent, exploring scenarios for dual-screen experiences, and creating mobile UI toolkits for external developers to build this mobile future alongside us.
Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at our research, design process, and future vision for Microsoft 365 mobile experiences.
Human-centered research underpins great design, and our teams dove deep to understand how people think, feel, and act when getting things done on the go. Research in mobile-first or mobile-only markets like India and China allowed us to study everyone from students to factory floor workers. We also leveraged pioneering work by Jaime Teevan and Microsoft researchers around “microproductivity.”
Microproductivity exemplifies meeting users where they’re at: the modern world has increasingly fragmented work. Instead of solely pushing people to focus more, however, we explored whether those fragmented slices of time could be more productive with “microtasks.” A microtask is a bite-sized piece of a bigger task, like writing one paragraph instead of working on an entire Word document. Research showed microtasks increase feelings of productivity.
This aligned with our observations of mobile behavior where, despite spending up to four hours a day on the phone, sessions average just 20 to 30 seconds. Moving forward, we began redesigns by asking two things: What are the most valuable actions that someone can perform on their phone in less than 30 seconds? And how can our intelligent services enrich these actions?
As it turns out, helping people be as productive in 30 seconds as they usually are in 30 minutes unlocks myriad opportunities, and we’ve released several new features designed with mobile in mind. In Outlook, the new Play My Emails feature lets you listen to your inbox as you would a podcast — ideal for making productive use of idle time. In Word and Office apps, Read Aloud offers a similar benefit. The mobile-first experience of quickly scanning docs and tables with your phone’s camera has been added to Office, OneDrive, and several other apps. Microsoft intelligence enhances each of these features to present context-specific, relevant, and personalized information.
Fluent for iOS and Android is a mobile-born interpretation of our Fluent principles that ensures experiences will feel both distinctly Microsoft and at home on mobile devices.
Leveraging native platform conventions also lets us tap into built-in accessibility technologies. This ensures an equally great experience for people who prefer an auditory experience like Android’s talkback screen reader, or low vision customers using iOS’s dynamic type.
Moreover, any update we make to the system populates to all apps that use Fluent mobile. For example, when we recently updated our color palettes to match the latest accessibility standards and introduce dark mode, all changes automatically updated in each of our app UI components.
When designing Fluent for mobile, we focused on consistently designing seven signature elements to create a great end-to-end experience: the app icon, splash screen, cells, cards, typography, people, and file lists. Now, tapping the app icon takes you to a branded splash screen, which leads to your content, neatly framed by a brand-colored header and a simple bottom bar featuring our brand-new, beautiful and friendly Fluent mobile icons ready to take action.
For all Microsoft 365 experiences, coherence is an important design tenet, but it’s particularly vital in mobile environments. While on the go, we often switch between apps and have shorter attention spans, sharper time constraints, or are in more distracting environments.
When mobile apps seamlessly connect and feel similar, it reduces cognitive burden by eliminating the need to re-learn app patterns and navigation. This is especially important to us as we’re investing in side-by-side productivity scenarios on iPad and Surface Duo.
As part of the Fluent Mobile effort, a team of over 40 designers created mobile UI toolkits that enable all designers at Microsoft to build experiences using the same shared components, and collectively evolve the design system over time. These toolkits are also available to external designers and developers to ensure our mobile experiences stay aligned and scale with our customer and platform needs. Start building your own best-in-class apps today with our Fluent toolkit.
When it comes to mobile productivity, we’re just getting started.
We’re excited to build entirely new mobile experiences with Fluid, whose dynamic components foster microtasking by updating in real time and making it easier to collaborate. As phones increasingly bridge into augmented- and mixed-reality spaces, we’ll be evolving Fluent mobile to design 3D experiences that are especially promising for firstline workers and students. Finally, expanded investments in inclusive design propel us beyond leveraging existing accessibility technologies and toward designing entirely new voice interactions for innovative experiences on Surface Earbuds.
So, the next time you’re on the move, grab your phone and give our new mobile apps a whirl. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
It’s been a record-breaking several days online, and the holiday season is tracking at 14.5% growth in online sales compared to last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 retailers in the U.S. Online revenue for November was up 16.5% year-over-year, reaching $68.2 billion, Adobe Analytics reported.
Online-to-offline drivers. Meanwhile, in-store sales were off 6.2% on Black Friday according to ShopperTrak. A bright spot is “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) and curbside pick-up services. Since November 1, these online-to-offline orders have grown 43.2% year-over-year, according to Adobe. “These services are breathing new life into physical stores, and we expect growth to climb as we get closer to Christmas,” the company predicts.
Black Friday topped expectations. Retailers generated $7.49 billion in online sales on Black Friday, Adobe Analytics reported. That exceeds the company’s prediction of $7.4 billion for the day and is an increase of 19.6% over last year when consumers spent $6.22 online on Black Friday.
Looking at the impact on smaller e-commerce sites and direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, Shopify reported the 1 million merchants on the platform generated more than $900 million on Black Friday, with sales-per-minute peaking at $1.5 million at 3:01 PM ET.
The mobile impact. Smartphone traffic has eclipsed desktop in traffic for a few years now and continues to make gains in conversion impact. Smartphones are also changing when consumers buy. “Digital buying on Black Friday was more evenly spread throughout the day, with shoppers less inclined to take a break in the mid-afternoon, thanks to the convenience of their phones,” Salesforce reported.
While Salesforce and Shopify both reported mobile sales surpassed desktop, Adobe Analytics reported desktop accounted for 60.4% or $40.3 billion in online sales in November while smartphones generated 34.5% of online sales.
Shopify merchants saw 69% of sales come from mobile and 31% from desktops on Black Friday. And Salesforce reported 60% of Thanksgiving Day online orders came from mobile. This perhaps highlights performance and consumer differences of DTC and merchants that have come up in the mobile-first era compared to more legacy retailers that have had to go through digital transformation.
Smartphones accounted for 41.2% of e-commerce revenue on Small Business Saturday, up 22.2% and higher than the overall seasonal trend, according to Adobe Analytics.
For the retailers captured by Adobe Analytics, desktop conversion rates continue to be significantly higher than on smartphones. On Black Friday, for example, desktop conversion rates were 6.9% compared to 2.9% for smartphones, Adobe Analytics reported.
Discounts and rising CPAs. The profit story may not look as rosy as the revenue picture painted in the latest reports from Adobe Analytics, Salesforce and Shopify, however. All those discounts come at a cost: Salesforce reported the average online discount was 28% on Black Friday and expects discounts to be even steeper on Cyber Monday. Salesforce data represents the activity of more than 500 million shoppers globally.
Over 45% of retailer marketing investments went to paid social over the holiday weekend, generating nearly 33% of all revenue, according to digital marketing agency PMG. That’s an increase from just 16% last year. Stiffer competition on digital advertising platforms, and social in particular, is driving up the cost-per-acquisition for many advertisers.
While many reported great revenue numbers from Facebook campaigns over the weekend, ROAS may look quite different. David Hermann, a paid social media buyer who works largely with direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, said competition on Facebook has cut deeply into profits even as revenue appears to be growing.
Cyber Monday predictions. Today is expected to be another record-breaker at $9.37 billion in online revenue, up 18.9%, according to Adobe Analytics. That would be an increase from $7.9 billion spent online last year.
Salesforce pegs U.S. sales for Cyber Monday at $8 billion, up a more modest 15%. Globally, online sales are expected to reach $30 billion, according to Salesforce, an increase of 12%.
About The Author
Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.
If you want to create a mobile app with a great user experience, you should always start your project with a wireframe. In this post, we share a collection of modern mobile app wireframing templates to help you get started in your design process.
When using a wireframe template, you won’t have to spend hours crafting layouts, buttons, image placeholders, and all the other elements that take hours to create from scratch. All you need to do is edit the templates and rearrange the elements to make your own app wireframe design.
We’ve handpicked some of the best mobile app wireframes you can use to design both iPhone and Android app user interfaces, all in various file formats.
High Fidelity is a massive collection of wireframing templates that includes layouts for designing Android and iOS app user interfaces.
This bundle features mobile wireframe designs in 7 different categories. You can edit and fully customize the templates using Adobe XD, Sketch, and Figma as well.
Why This Is A Top Pick
This wireframing kit is quite special. Not just because it has lots of professional layouts. Mainly because it includes layouts for both iOS and Android apps. And it also comes in multiple file formats.
Baseframe is another huge bundle of wireframe templates. This pack comes with more than 200 unique layout templates. It supports both iOS and Android mobile app designs and the templates are available in Sketch file format.
If you’re a fan of Photoshop, you can use this mobile wireframing kit to design unique app wireframes using your favorite app. It includes 150 unique templates you can easily customize using Photoshop. The UI kit is also available in Sketch and Adobe XD format as well.
Don’t let those bright pink colors confuse you. This is not a wireframe kit made just for designing feminine mobile app designs. It’s also suitable for many other app user interface designs. It includes 26 easily editable mobile layouts in Adobe XD and Photoshop formats.
Pride is a collection of minimal mobile wireframing templates featuring various user interface templates for crafting mobile app experiences. The bundle includes more than 30 unique interface designs in Photoshop PSD file format.
Another big collection of wireframe templates. This kit is designed for iOS mobile app layouts. It comes with more than 200 templates with layouts in 22 different categories. You can customize them using Adobe XD.
If you’re looking for a mobile wireframing kit with a simple design, this bundle of UI templates is for you. It includes more than 90 unique mobile app wireframe templates featuring simple and clean designs. The templates are also available in both Sketch and Illustrator file formats.
Sketchy is a bundle of creative wireframing templates for designing iOS app interfaces. It comes with 218 app interface templates that are made up of over 500 elements. The templates are available in 29 different categories.
This collection of mobile wireframing templates are fully optimized for crafting iOS 13 app interfaces. In addition to dashboard and chart wireframes, this series also includes templates for walkthroughs, settings pages, and more. Be sure to download them all.
A unique wireframing kit for designing iOS apps with dark color themes. This bundle comes with more than 100 unique app screens in 16 categories. You can download the lite version of this wireframing kit here.
Liberty is a modern wireframing kit you can use to craft trendy and stylish app designs. The bundle includes 125 app screen layouts in 9 categories. The templates are also available in Sketch and Photoshop file formats.
Another wireframe kit for designing modern mobile user interfaces. This kit comes packed with 23 different app layouts with organized layers and free fonts. The templates are available in PSD file format.
This kit if iOS app wireframes it most suitable for designing blogging and magazine app interfaces. It includes 90 screen designs that are compatible with iPhone X and iPhone 11. You can edit them using Sketch.
Turbo is a bundle of iOS wireframe templates that comes with layouts in 9 different categories. It includes a total of 100 mobile UI templates. You can easily edit and customize them to your preference using either Sketch, Illustrator, or Photoshop.
Being able to print your wireframe designs can be quite beneficial. It will allow you to show off your wireframe designs in meetings and to clients. This bundle includes 55 templates for both desktop and mobile interfaces with printable designs.
Have you ever briefly turned on your phone, glanced at it, found whatever needed to find, and then turned it back off? That’s an example of a microsession — a quick session with minimal interaction that completes a user goal.
Definition: Mobile microsessions are mobile sessions shorter than 15 seconds.
The word “microsession” follows the terminology introduced by an article by Ferreira and his colleagues, who coined the term “microusage” to refer to mobile usage that is shorter than 15 seconds. They found that a little more than 40% of the mobile usage was microusage.
While the exact time threshold may be arguable (and may vary depending on the population — for example, another study, coauthored by researchers from Stanford University and Apple, found that for elderly adults, the microsession threshold moves up to 22 seconds), it does not really matter. What matters is how to design your apps so that you can allow users to complete certain tasks quickly.
Microsessions are good for the user experience. Generally, time on task is inversely proportional with usability. Time translates in interaction cost, and low interaction cost leads to good user experience. A microsession means that users were able to reach their goal very quickly — likely, because the mobile design supported them.
Supporting Microsessions Benefits Even Apps with Complex Tasks
There are many mobile tasks that we do every day and that are so simple that they can be easily completed in a few seconds. Setting an alarm, checking whether you have any new emails, looking up the calendar for the day usually involve just a quick glance at one screen and maybe 1–2 button presses. These are most likely to result in microsessions.
However, not all tasks can be completed in 15 seconds, even with the best possible design. Researching and buying an air purifier, watching a video, reading and following instructions, composing an email to your boss are all fairly complex activities and most users will take more than 15 seconds to complete them.
But even if your app involves several convoluted steps, reducing the time to complete the task will improve the user experience. A good design will often translate into a reduced interaction cost and thus low task time. Yet, it is not enough. You can do more.
To understand why, let’s think of a user who is trying to check in for a United Airlines flight on the phone. First, the user must find the app on her phone, launch it, wait for the splash screen to load, bypass a login wall or sign in if she does not notice the Continue as guest button, then find the Check in button on the United homepage, tap it, and eventually start the login process. In other words, she has to spend a lot of time to locate an entry point into the task.
Designers can provide users with quick, outside-the-app access to the tasks that they perform the most. Doing so can save users the need to locate the entry point by themselves, and if the task is significant enough, can substantially improve the overall user experience.
Designing for Microsessions
Of course, the first worry that you should have is to design your app so that the entry points to these tasks are easily discoverable within the app and the flows are simple and easy to understand. However, you can go one step further and allow people to start these tasks (and sometimes even complete them) without launching the app. Here are 4 common ways to design for microsessions and thus accommodate external task entry points:
Notifications are the main way in which apps today support microsessions. About 60% of the microsessions in the Ferreira study involved reading or interacting with a notification.
Although notifications do provide at least one entry point to the app (tapping on the notification opens the app), in many cases their function is to update the user on a state of affairs. When a notification is well-designed, users can often get all the information they need from the text of the notification and may not need to launch the full app.
In order to design a successful, notification-based microsession, create notifications that are self-sufficient: that convey a fully formed idea and do not require the user to go elsewhere to understand what the notification is about. Text that is truncated or that does not include enough information forces people to gather additional context for the notification, and that action not only lengthens the session, but also degrades the user experience
If it’s not possible to create a notification that is entirely self-sufficient, at least give users enough context to decide if they are interested in the notification.
Make sure that tapping on the notification not only launches the corresponding app, but it takes users to the corresponding page in the app (for example, for a news story, that may be the article page). And, because most users are familiar with this functionality, it’s unnecessary to have an additional Open up in app action present in the notification.
Consider supporting the main actions that apply to the notification item within the notification itself. Doing so presents the user with the opportunity to complete the task without launching the app. For example, for a news article, an appropriate action may be to save it for further reading, whereas for an email notification, deleting the message may be a good one to support.
In some cases, consider providing entry points into typical flows that the user may take from that notification. For example, the Weather Channel’s Android app notification allows people to access weather info in different formats (Hourly, Daily, Radar).
Widgets are compressed views of the app that usually present a single piece of data that represents the state of the app. They are ideal for tracking frequently changing information (such as weather) and are typically accessed from the phone’s homescreen (on iOS, from the Search screen), if the user chooses to add the respective widget to the screen.
In iOS, widgets can also be accessed through a long press or 3D touch gesture on the app icon, even if the user has not decided to install the widget.
Widgets are helpful because they allow users to quickly inspect data from the app and track if something has changed. Like notifications, widgets should be self-contained and preferably not truncated. For example, the CNN widget should not display a truncated title; instead, a full sentence should describe the story even at the smallest widget size.
Widgets are, however, more powerful than notifications. They allow simple interactions within the widget itself. For example, the user can scroll vertically within the Gmail widgets or can tap the lateral arrows to move through news stories in the CNN widget. And sometimes widgets simply offer a list of entry points to tasks in the app (similar to quick actions below).
The key issue for widget usability is whether you can indeed identify the one thing people will want to track, and if so, whether you can compress that information into a concise unit for display in the widget. If there are several items of potential interest, s, then a collection widget that shows them may be a solution, although the same general problems arise: can you reasonably focus on those few items that your users will want to see, and will they remain useful even after being seriously compressed to fit within the widget space?
3. Quick Actions
Recent versions of iOS and Android support accessing actions within an app directly from the homescreen, through a long press or a 3D Touch gesture — essentially an implementation of a contextual menu. (Note: the 3D Touch is no longer supported on iPhones XI and it was replaced by the long press.) In iOS, the gesture can also display a widget alongside the quick actions.
The quick actions save users from having to launch the app and find the within-app entry point for the task they want to accomplish. The quick actions don’t need to include only tasks that can be microsessioned — instead, they should link to tasks that are important to your users.
There is only a limited number of quick actions that can be displayed in the quick-action contextual menu, so don’t waste the space with actions that are likely irrelevant to your users. Instead, focus on the top tasks — the tasks that are performed often by many users. For example, inviting friends to Airbnb is likely a rarely performed action, as is contributing to Google Maps — none of these actions need to be included on a quick-action list.
4. Through an Intelligent Assistant (Siri or Google Assistant)
Both iOS and Android apps can take advantage of intelligent assistants— Siri and, respectively, Google Assistant — to allow users to quickly interact with the app using voice.
In iOS, applications can provide shortcuts to Siri that enable users to perform certain frequent tasks or tasks that are appropriate at certain moments of time and in certain locations. For example, upon noticing frequent payments to a certain person, the PayPal app can suggest a shortcut that enables the user to do that action directly through Siri. While the user has to accept these shortcuts, it’s still important for the application to identify them and suggest them to the user (ideally, even within the app).
In the Android ecosystem, it’s also possible to define shortcuts, or, in Android parlance, routines. For example, one such routine can ask Google Assistant to report the Weather Channel forecast for San Francisco whenever it hears the word Weather.
Most users are not familiar with the tools available for microsession support — widgets, quick actions, Siri shortcuts, and Google Assistant routines don’t yet get widespread usage (the only notable exception is notifications). Yet, these actions can offer significant speedups for those users who know about them, and are thus an example of usability heuristic # 7: flexibility and efficiency of use. And more and more users will discover them accidentally — for example, long pressing an app has long been the gesture for rearranging apps on the screen in both iOS and Android. Because now long press also shows quick actions, people will uncover them while trying to clean up their screens, and thus they will eventually get used to them. Or, if apps advertise their Siri suggestions inside the app, users will notice them sooner or later and may take advantage of them.
Normally, if a design change or innovation will take a lot of money to implement but will only benefit a few of your users, we don’t recommend it. Its ROI is likely too low. But unlike other fringe design innovations, support for microsessions is easy to implement. Take advantage of these features in order to improve the overall user experience.
If your mobile users can quickly finish what they want to do in your app, it means that you’ve done a good job of designing it. You can save users even more time and effort by allowing them to circumvent the launching of the app through self-sufficient notifications and widgets or by providing them with external task entry points through quick actions and voice-assistant shortcuts or routines.
D. Ferreira, J. Goncalves, V. Kostakos, L. Barkhuus, and A. K. Dey. 2014. Contextual experience sampling of mobile application micro-usage. MobileHCI ’14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2628363.2628367
Athletes, sports teams and their coaches always look for ways to get better results and guarantee victory. New technologies are a great advantage for professional athletes to improve their techniques and estimate the pros and cons of the practice.
AR can become an indispensable tool that all athletes will handle to obtain real-time data on each hit, running distance, thrust, throw, jumps and more. With this information, athletes can correct their actions, change the technique and make the right decision.
AR Users Feedback
In the absence of user surveys, I took the initiative to study the various comments and views on existing users of the various store platforms to download applications from both Google Play and App Store, to identify the main pain points and challenges that users find in AR apps. The pain points that users exposed were:
Poor use of the user interface design because it caused confusion on how to use certain features
Poor reliability in measuring distances
GPS and location issues and failures
Problems to register for buttons that appear inactive
Excellent performance for one type of device and for other devices app does not work
The most recurrent pain point in all reviewed apps was confusion when using the user interface. Users felt that more instructions were needed one even had to contact support to figure out how to an app. That being said extensive research was put into user interface legibility and readability in an effort to avoid these challenges AR users have experienced in other apps
The applications which user reviews were taken into consideration for this evaluation were Strava, Jefit, Nike Run Club, Argus, Houzz Home Decor (ar), TapMeasure — AR utility, AR Civilizations, AR Fitness
User Interface Legibility for outdoor or bright lights
daylight readability assumes negative contrast polarity will degrade readability.
This information lays a crucial role in the development of the user interface hence users will be using the app in varying lighting. This is why UI efforts will focus on contrast. The more contrast the more visible in varying light. Earthy, pastel and desaturated colors are to be avoided. The color palette will focus on bold, saturated, complementary colors to maximize contrast.
Readability and typefaces in AR
Although no conclusive research can prove if san serif or serif fonts are more legible between each other recent studies have proven many sans font are legible but not readable. Much of it has to do with the letter shapes themselves. Monotype and MIT AgeLab conducted a study that found that the style of a sans-serif typeface can affect how long a driver’s eyes fixate on a dashboard screen and off the road while driving. The study tested humanist and grotesque typeface styles against each other and found that humanist typefaces were significantly quicker and easier for drivers to read.
“There was a 12% difference in average glance time, which represents approximately 50 feet in the distance when traveling at U.S. highway speed.”
The research has shown that the glance time difference between the two sans-serif typeface styles is too great to ignore. Hence the preferred font for increased readability in order to enhance the overall user experience within an Augmented Reality app is a humanist sans font.
UX Audit — App testing
Since there is an existing app to test I like to conduct a UX audit. Where I create a document outlining a usability inspection and the recommendations from UX best practices. The existing design was not visually appealing and lacked the fundamentals of user experience design and user interface design for augmented experiences. There were many areas to improve from a visual standpoint as well as a usability point areas such as:
AR objects should engage with and reflect their environment. Using shadow planes, reflection, lighting, and textures help emphasize the objects in place making use of realism.
Identifying how far away a cone was difficult even though they included distance markers. In AR experience, it is best to create depth by properly using shadow planes, occlusion, and perspective. It would help to place larger objects closer to the user and smaller objects further away to define depth.
Just about all the controls in this app are buttons. Avoid on-screen control under all means in AR experiences. Content selection, scaling and rotation should all be done through gestures. Example multi-touch gestures:
Rotation — support both 1-finger and 2-finger gestures
Scaling — Pinch to scale
Not all was terrible focusing on usability the app did 2 aspects very well.
Nchworm encouraged movement which is a key element that is often overlooked when designing for AR the app clearly reminded users they can move around through guided steps. It also places objects cleverly encouraging them to move toward it.
The app effectively shows users how to find a surface using their phones. It used illustrations to show users how to scan properly and gave instant feedback to show the surface was detected.
From idea to MVP and 10 000 registered users. The total valuation of products on Merkato’s marketplace exceeded 1 000 000 PLN.
From idea to MVP and 10 000 registered users. The total valuation of products on Merkato’s marketplace exceeded 1 000 000 PLN.
From creating MVP to more than 12 500 registered users. From 0 to total valuation of products on Mercato’s marketplace exceeding 1 000 000 PLN.
The Idea was born. You’ve probably experienced it before…
It’s quite uncommon for 3 people to come up with the same idea in the same week but that actually happened, and I’m going to tell you the story of how it started.
Few phone calls, few chats, we were pumped! You know how it goes, you probably experienced it before.
You think about an idea and you are really excited about it….you get the dopamine & endorfines flowing in your blood stream when you talk about it with your friends and they share the same vision….coincidence? I don’t think so! 😉
You are waking up the next day and the idea is still there and it still sounds reasonable. Ok, let’s do it!
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility…” – Ben Parker, the Spiderman
Each of us have expertise in our field. The combination of our skills made us self-sufficient and the project sustainable in the long run.
Strategic decisions were made always together and each of us had freedom & their own responsibilities in their own area.
On the high level approach we had the same vision & drive for the project.
Research, do your homework first!
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” ― Abraham Lincoln
We conducted research to better understand and learn more about the filed. We collected a lot of data – extracted insights and benchmarks. We were taking deep dives into this subject from the angle of each field (business, technology, design)
From the high level perspective, during that stage we found answers for following questions:
For whom we are solving the problem? (Target audience)
How big is the problem we are trying to solve? (Market)
Are there other products that are already solving it? (Competition)
if so…..how are they solving the problem? (Products)
Many findings from this stage were added to the presentation that was created months later.
Few slides from the presentation
The bird’s-eye view of the solution – the backstory
Personally I’m a sci-fi fan. In the “Eva” (2011) movie, Daniel Brüh is playing a genius which was employed by his former university to design AI for robots. There is a scene when he is at home in his workshop.
He has this really cool tool to design AI.
Think about it as a Lego bricks visual programming language fully interactive holograms gesture UI.
In an instant he is able to zoom out and see the bird’s eye perspective of his project.
And zoom in to see the smallest tiniest details…
He can see how different systems are working together. Everything is interactive & interconnected. He can change each module, he can play with it the way he likes.
I wrote this long introduction because user story mapping for me is what this design tool is for the main character from the “Eva” movie.
Sure it’s a little different, two-dimensional and not so interactive and high-tech. Instead of holograms there are sticky notes and instead of gesture UI there are pens and pencils 😉 but it’s just a great tool to envision new ideas and explore their dynamics.
PS. If you are working on an interactive hologram version, please contact me right away! I am your perfect early adopter 😉
Clarifying the idea – User story mapping
I always see value in doing user story mapping.
It’s build from the user perspective. Every feature, every interaction is built on top of the user journey.
It helps everybody get on the same page. It fosters discussions and helps to get the same understanding about high level features & every little detail.
It’s great for MVP & Lean development. Based on it you can craft your first release, first version of your idea. It’s a reference during every and each of your next iteration.
It’s great for most projects. Personally I believe it’s useful 90% of the time. It’s a design tool that you can use whether you are creating a new app or planning your 1 month of traveling through Indonesia.
Below you can see the user story map of our app.
All user stories – User story map of our app.
MVP – The way we crafted first release
“If You’re Not Embarrassed By The First Version Of Your Product, You’ve Launched Too Late” ― Reid Hoffman
We distilled the experience down to the core functionality – core value proposition.
Releasing something into the world (in the early stage) is always exciting and a little scary at the same time.
However it is the best way to test assumptions and get early feedback.
We got four 1-star reviews on Google Play. Below you can see one of them.
Screenshot of the review from Google Play console
Those four reviews were a little painful but it was something we knew could have happened and it was fair. In MVP version you could add only one photo of your item (no ability to add title, description, category or more photos) so people had to send messages to each other and ask about everything – it’s understandable why they were upset.
There is no such thing as “bad feedback” and to be honest we were kind of happy that somebody cared enough to let us know what’s the most important for them.
Also, we had already prioritize the features that were mentioned in the review to be built in the next releases – those reviews were another thing that confirmed our roadmap.
During the first release we were able to get answers for many questions, here are just a few of them:
Cost of acquisition from Facebook & Google Adwords (CPC, CPI, CP added products)
Conversion rate on app install from Google Play & App Store
Conversion rate on registration in the app (Continue with Facebook)
Engagement inside the app (% of active users who visit item, add item, send message)
After the first release, we learned that this idea about the app can actually work.
Each new release – Lean development
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” ― Peter Drucker
We were crafting each release having in mind the value that we are bringing to our users.
Hypothesis – Assumptions – The way we are going to measure it. Learn – Build – Measure loop.
We weren’t able to conduct an A/B test at that stage but because we were doing it step by step we were able to double check each feature and make data informed decisions.
We were tracking our core KPI’s and with each new release we were adding events to track new features. After a while we started learning from the data we had been collecting.
First few releases were focused on the core functionality, mostly on the basic features with high value for users (add titles, prices, categories, visit other user profile etc) after that we were using RICE method to prioritize each release.
Below you can see what was shipped in the first six sprints.
First six sprints of development
3 pillars of user experience
Based on a research, competitive analysis and our gut, we wanted to focus on those 3 core elements right from the get go:
Flow of adding items for sale
1st – Flow of adding items for sale
For users – adding products, something that takes a long time on other platforms we wanted to be as fast as taking a photo.
For the platform – it’s the answer to the question “what came first the chicken or the egg” in the case of building a marketplace from scratch.
Also on the Polish market there are many products solving that problem but none of them are mobile only. It’s not only about the platform – it’s about how we believe this problem will be solved 5 years from now.
Win – win. For users & for the platform.
There was one major insight about adding/posting products for sale online. It was something that came up at interviews and was also seen in the reviews of our competitors online – Posting items for sale is time consuming.
Based on some interviews it takes about 10-40 minutes to post your item/items. This is how it looks like:
You have to find the item you would like to sell (often it’s at the bottom of your closet)
Sometimes (depending on the item) you have to clean it first to make it look good on photos.
You are ready to go online & create your listing. On most of the services in Poland it’s obligatory to fill in all fields, like: add Title, Description, Category (sometimes there are more things depending on the category) and at least one photo.
So as you can see it’s time consuming.
Also, based on our data 63% of people are adding 2 or more items to sell.
If you have more than 1 item for sale – you have to block even more time from your day to post all those products.
That’s why most of the time selling your unused stuff is tagged in your mind as “I will do it this weekend”. We wanted to change that perception. Eliminate unnecessary steps & brake the flow into small chunks – You don’t have to do it all at once.
Don’t wait for a weekend – it’s so fast you can do it now!
There is a good piece of advice from James Clear “Atomic Habits” book that can be applied here. The author is writing about taking small and incremental steps towards building a habit. He advises “make it easy for yourself” – even though that sounds obvious it’s not used so often. If you want to build the habit of drinking water always after waking up, just put the bottle next to your bed. Boom!….you just hugely increased your conversion to drink water after you open your eyes.
The same goes with adding your products for sale.
The most important step (the one that is moving the needle) should be the easiest one. Just open the app and take a photo. You take the photo & and your listing is live for sale – your chances of selling the product hugely increases.
Want to increase your chances even more?
Share it with your friends (you just increased your chances by 20%)
Add more photos (15% increase)
Add the title & description (10% increase).
All those things can be done later. The most important step is already made. Your listing is live for sale.
Easy way to enter the flow
Add an item button. This is the most important action in the app. CTA is highly visible and easily accessible from every main screen in the app.
Number of steps in the flow
The balance between number of added listings & the number of high quality listings (many great photos, well described item) is the most important.
Add listing selected screens
Below you can see some of the selected screens from Add listing flow. (awesome illustrations by icons 8)
2nd – Fostering trust between users
2nd – Fostering trust between users
If you think about it, trust has always been and still is the biggest currency in trade.
The most effective way to foster trust from the beginning was to use Facebook as a way to verify users. Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Poland and we were already using it to drive traffic to our app.
Fast and easy registration (Continue with Facebook CTA)
Legit users & their profiles (real photos, real names)
Possible lower % of spam and abuses from the beginning
Main elements to establish and foster trust:
Verified by Facebook sign in Profiles
Real names of the sellers and buyers
Large photos of sellers and buyers
Ability for instant contact
3rd – Product presentation
Right from the beginning we wanted to focus on an advantage that we had because we were creating a mobile platform. I’m talking about product presentation and the difference between vertical and horizontal listing photos.
All platforms of our competitors in Poland are designed in a way that product is presented horizontally (on the feed & on the listing detail.)
When you think about it, back then in 2006 when they were designing the platforms it made perfect sense – there was only desktop traffic. On January 9, 2007 the first Iphone was officially announced.
Since then mobile phones became more popular. Therefore mobile apps were created to take advantage of more and more traffic coming from mobile devices – but the framework stayed the same. They were designed having a horizontal photo presentation as a default. Once again it made perfect sense because their main traffic still was coming from desktop.
But the dynamic was changing, one mobile user at the time…Now in 2019 the mobile is huge and there is no going back.
Because we were creating a mobile platform we wanted to use that dynamic to our advantage.
Home screen – difference between horizontal and vertical.
Product detail – difference between horizontal and vertical.
Mobile conversions growing but less valuable. But while mobile conversions grew a significant 10 points from 2018 to 2019 (39% to 49%), the majority of conversions still come from the desktop. AccuraCast said, “overall, desktop visitors convert 60% more than mobile visitors, and conversions from a desktop device are worth 93% more than mobile conversions, on average. (For B2C companies, conversion value was calculated as the average order value, and for B2B it was calculated as the lead value and propensity to buy.)”
Historically AOV for desktop transactions has been higher than on mobile devices. This is backed up by multiple other studies and reports. As a generalization, consumers browse on mobile devices and tend to buy on the desktop — although that is changing.
A year’s worth of data analyzed. The firm looked at mobile and desktop ad clicks between August 2018 and and August 2019. Mobile impressions, clicks and conversions (e-commerce or lead capture) grew during the 12-month period.