Top Mobile Trends Beyond HTML5, According to Usablenet VP [Q&A Series]

Mobile has become an ubiquitous experience these days, as companies seek consumer access across platforms and devices.  Usablenet recognizes the need to have a strong mobile presence through design and uniformity, crafting strategies for some of the biggest brands.  With a focus on HTML5 and a penchant for innovation, Usablenet’s led the charge in mobile’s revolution.

In today’s Snapshot series we hear from Jason Taylor, Usablenet’s VP of Platform Strategy.  He share’s mobile’s biggest trends beyond HTML5, identifies the biggest mistakes brands make when pushing a mobile strategy, and his favorite iPhone app.

What trends besides HTML5 are shaping the mobile industry?

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen in the mobile industry over the last several months has been the rapid smartphone adoption in Europe and developing markets like Asia and Latin America. In many cases, especially Asia, consumers in these markets are accessing the Internet via mobile first. As such, it’s important for brands to scale their mobile presence to support this new global audience, and in order to do that they must account for international differences in devices, mobile networks, currencies, and overall user behavior.

Additionally, we’re seeing a rapid shift in consumer expectations as they demand a seamless and easy to use customer experience from all channels — including their smartphone, tablet, or social media like Twitter and Facebook. With consumers more empowered than ever before, it’s now essential for brands to meet these changing consumer demands and deliver a positive user experience from all channels.

See the entire CEO Series with Kristen Nicole on Pinterest and Springpad!


The most surprising/interesting build you’ve done for a client?

One of the most exciting recent projects we’ve done for a client is the Style Online in-store touchscreen displays UK retailer Marks & Spencer deployed via our platform’s Agile Web Services.

In addition to its retail mobile commerce site, Marks & Spencer has also worked with us to develop touch screen Browse & Order Points which is integral to the Style Online project. It is made up of consumer-facing large screens and a touch screen Browse & Order Point along with iPads for the Style Advisors to aid customers. M&S is the first brand to leverage Usablenet’s innovative Agile Web Services to tie all these channels together, allowing consumers to browse in store, explore the wider range online, watch videos, create an outfit on the interactive screen and purchase online — all of which are achieved in store. Consumers are tracked on each channel, which allows M&S to better measure and understand the behavior of a multichannel consumer.

3 of the biggest mistakes brands make when building a holistic mobile strategy?

One of the biggest mistakes we see brands make when rolling out their mobile strategy is not thinking through what they want to achieve from mobile. Mobile should be part of an integrated multichannel strategy, and too many times we see brands deploy a simple mobile site that doesn’t match with the brand’s overall online experience — just for the sake of having a mobile site. Additionally, you should put a significant amount of thought into developing features that cater to the behavior of your customers.

We often see brands that choose to go with a one or the other strategy when it comes to native apps vs. the mobile Web. However it is important to view these two outputs as complementary pieces of an overall mobile strategy that can be used to reach both a broad consumer audience (mobile Web) and a smaller group of brand loyalists (native apps).

And finally, when it comes to building your mobile site with HTML5, brands must understand that while most new mobile browsers support HTML5, some older browsers still don’t. Therefore, when building a mobile site it is very important to make sure that you support HTML5 functionality for the newer browsers and also support the same core functionality without the new HTML5 enabled UI/UX, for older browsers.

Mobile is key to consumer interaction moving forward.  What gives you confidence in/for the future?

Mobile has clearly established itself as a primary gateway for consumers to navigate the Web. In fact, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population this year. We have seen an extraordinary number of mobile innovations over the last several months — from location-aware experiences to interactive scanning capabilities — and I have no doubt that we are at the beginning stages of a truly mobile future, with many more innovations in store.