The future of search is certainly going mobile (MW 21 July). Research from Google shows that 79% of people use their smartphones while shopping and 70% use them while they are actually in a store. Projections suggest that mobile searches could outnumber desktop searches as early as 2013.
However, most companies still send a desktop website to mobile devices. These companies need to think carefully about the mobile experience that they offer customers.
To fully exploit the possibilities of the platform and create something compelling, companies need to focus on context. Mobile devices are used in a much wider context than a laptop computer when walking down the street, in stores, at competitors’ stores, or while watching TV.
Mobile websites need to be designed around all likely situations. Companies should also bear this in mind when they are rushing to commission apps it’s not a very good experience to force people to download an app when they perform a mobile search.
For those businesses able to adapt to mobile, the opportunities are exciting, with better targeting of customers with disposable income. For those that are unwilling to do so, it is inevitable that they will fall behind their competitors that have planned for mobile users.
Head of design, Head London