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Mobile Experiences July 16th, 2011

Mobile has exploded over the past couple of years, initially as a result of mobile apps and the many high profile success stories of developing content for the iPhone. If we look at these successes most can be categorised as entertainment - Angrey Birds - or social media - Tweetdeck - these are predominantly games and moment fillers. Brands and publishers can and do created successful branded games and moment fillers that may or may not directly support user needs when interacting with the organisations services. Often these are only tenuously connected to core business activity and often serve a post sale activity as the case of the BA iPhone app. This app allows you access to your booking details and additional information if you are an executive club member. App such as this may increase brand affinity but are limited to the realms of marketing activity.

Brands with physical products that consumers want can and do profit from providing mobile experiences for ‘the moment’ and successes include that of Dominos Pizza. Dominos Pizza recently achieved 10m worth of sales through its iPhone ordering app, launched in September 2010, and which has reached an astonishing 500,000 downloads to date. Dominos aims to replicate this success with the launch of an Android version. Even without downloading an app just point your browser to and you’ll get a feel for a mobile experience optimized for mobile context and ease of use.

Dominos Pizza is an excellent example of ‘for the moment’ mobile experiences and I’ll use it as a case study to illustrate what makes for a successful mobile experience.

Successful mobile experiences are often described as being ‘in context’ and I agree with this statement when context is describing device context. By this we mean taking account of the constraints a device and the environment it is used in enforce upon the user when interacting with the mobile experience.

Content also plays a huge role in this context discussion; content needs to be made available in context of how a user can interact with it via a mobile or even small screen devise. Considering all devises are not equal we need to cater for some being touch screen others will have a qwerty keyboard and a rudimentary pointer, fewer still may have a number key pad and rely upon T9 input methods.

Delivering exceptional mobile experiences requires a detailed understanding of both Device Context namely hardware, OS and environment and Content Context that of relevance accessible and structured information.

Taking context both device and content what does Dominos get right?

Working through the purchasing journey Dominos Pizza has optimised for mobile in a number of ways taking a pragmatic approach to a number of issues. The journey a user takes to order a pizza can briefly be described in the following steps.

  • Navigating to results in some form of devise detection taking the users to the correct destination for their current situation - Device
  • The assumed task - ordering a pizza - is optimised for mobile use - full site available from a home page link Content
  • Well-considered user journey to allow effortless ordering of a pizza, first question ‘where are you?’ that answered via post code search not devices location for simplicity - Content
  • ‘Start Ordering’ primary call to action a bit red button - Content
  • Menu with latest promotions clearly ordered as a result of editorial involvement - Content
  • The menu is offered in the form of a drill down list navigation derived from a well considered Information Architecture that’s suitably supported on many devices and accessible in most environments - Device
  • Product images are available on demand and so saves on network data costs for the user whilst also keeping performance (speed) high - Device
  • In only 5 steps (4 for a promotion) I have a pizza in my basket and can place an order at my nearest store - Device
  • Basket screen offers upsell of sides and drinks keeping the initial task simple - Content
  • A simple (as can be) payment process is applied and for a returning user is much simplified - Device

Taking all this into account how has Dominos been able to get to this position and profit from mobile. This is unlikely solely a technological win; however technology obviously plays a part. Dominos Pizza has been at the forefront of digital sales for many a year, for example red button purchasing and sponsorship of The Simpsons on Sky 1 first considered way back in 2003.

The ability to deliver on so many platforms, form in store self-service touch screens to digital TV and a simple online web presence that’s optimised for mobile suggest that Dominos have customer experience at their core. They understand what their customers want and how best they can seamlessly deliver on their demands in the most efficient manor at that precise moment in time.

Looking back at the list above half of are content related, in that Dominos are able to identify and deliver content that answers each stage of the user journey to successfully deliver a transaction. This insight often (only) comes from a User Experience design processes, the creation of Personas that help illustrate User Scenarios that the experience need to support.

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