tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/web-apps Latest Web Apps content from Econsultancy 2016-05-20T11:51:44+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67866 2016-05-20T11:51:44+01:00 2016-05-20T11:51:44+01:00 Five implications of Android Instant Apps for marketers Ben Davis <h3>A game changer for NFC?</h3> <p>The whole debate around customer experience with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67705-what-s-now-next-for-digital-technology-in-retail-stores/">iBeacons</a> comes down to the app. Marketers can only target those with their app installed and the challenge is providing genuinely useful functionality that also happens to be interruptive.</p> <p>So far, iBeacons haven't been a success. But in the world of Android, neither has <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65307-five-retailers-using-nfc-and-rfid-to-enhance-shopping-but-do-they-work">NFC</a>.</p> <p>Yes, NFC has different use cases, downloading an app or launching a web page with customer intent (they need to tap). But problems still exist - the user has to trust the web experience will be seamless.</p> <p>Implementations of NFC thus far haven't always been successful.</p> <p>But one of the demonstrations of Instant Apps from Google is the parking meter shown below. The experience is started by NFC, which launches the Instant App, and allows a customer to pay for parking within a slick 'native' environment.</p> <p>The implications for NFC could be dramatic, providing implementation is as smart as this example.</p> <p><img src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mVhKMMzhxms/VzyKg25ihBI/AAAAAAAADEM/dJN6_8H7qkwRyulCF7Yr2234-GGUXzC6ACLcB/s800/Park%2Band%2BPay%2B-%2BDevice%2Bwith%2BMeter%2B%2528Final%2529.gif" alt="nfc launch app" width="360" height="728">  </p> <h3>A gamechanger for payment?</h3> <p>One of the beauties of launching an Instant App is the ability for customers to pay via Android Pay.</p> <p>This is part of what makes the example above (the parking meter) even more compelling. Payment details are already stored and checkout occurs quickly.</p> <p>Allowing Android users to pay within apps they have never installed opens up a world of services. Think of the convenience in mobile commerce.</p> <h3>A gamechanger for app discovery?</h3> <p>No navigating the app store. No waiting for download then cancelling.</p> <p>Metrics such as the percentage of downloaders still using the app after a set time period should improve because the user can preview the app and have more of an idea of whether they like it or not.</p> <p>Most importantly though, the GIF below shows what a boon this will be to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66977-eight-reasons-to-kill-your-native-mobile-app">app discovery.</a> The users will potentially do the job for you, sharing an Instant App link with friends via a social network or messaging app.</p> <p>And, of course, the app creator can also promote in this way, sharing the link through <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census/">email marketing</a>, brand messaging, SMS etc.</p> <p><img src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-q5ApCzECuNA/VzyKa9l0t2I/AAAAAAAADEI/nYhhMClDl5Y3qL5-wiOb2J2QjtGWwbF2wCLcB/s800/BuzzFeed-Device-Install%2B%2528Final%2529.gif" alt="messaging android app" width="360" height="728"> </p> <h3>A gamechanger for UX? </h3> <p>Apps are more immersive, use more smartphone functionality and are often more beautiful. The problem is that we can't be bothered with them.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67783-five-key-findings-for-marketers-from-ofcom-s-media-report/">Ofcom's recent media usage study</a>, 42% never download new apps (see below).</p> <p>Now that we might be bothered, using Instant Apps to access modular functionality, will the days of poor mobile experiences be forgotten.</p> <p>And what will Tim Berners Lee think? Is this open web or not?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4277/Screen_Shot_2016-04-25_at_13.06.11.png" alt="ofcom stats" width="615"></p> <h3>A gamechanger for customer service?</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I'm not entirely sure about this, but I needed a fifth point.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The messaging GIF above, what if that was an interaction with a brand (e.g. through <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67864-vr-messaging-or-assistant-which-is-the-best-bet-for-google/">Allo</a> or Facebook Messenger)? The brand could use Instant App links to better serve customers.</p> <p>For instance, a bank could offer a link to a loan calculator in-app. I can't think of too many examples of this, but it does seem like a possible improvement to cross-channel service, above and beyond deep linking. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67683 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 2016-03-30T11:06:00+01:00 How typography will help your responsive website stand out James Hopkins <h3>Be responsive, accessible and different</h3> <p>When someone uses the term ‘accessibility’ in the context of web development, they’ll likely be referring to the practice of ensuring that users who require assistive technologies are able to use your website.</p> <p>However, the topic of accessibility is far wider ranging than the aforementioned scope. Rather, it is ensuring that <em>anyone</em> regardless of device is able to use your application.</p> <p dir="ltr">With such a wide-ranging array of internet-enabled devices (phones, tablets, etc), it’s important that your application caters for these devices in seamless way.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!”</h3> <p dir="ltr">Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen image? Check. Scroll prompt? Check.</p> <p dir="ltr">Did you ever get <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67408-web-design-convergence-what-why-and-does-it-matter/">a sense of deja vu</a>?</p> <p dir="ltr">Chances are, the website you’re looking at is ‘<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66081-responsive-web-design-15-of-the-best-sites-from-2014/">responsive</a>’ - meaning the same webpage will fit in different screen sizes nicely, with the same functionality on offer.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">But why don’t you make a separate m. website instead?</h4> <p dir="ltr">Chances are you’ve seen a URL in your address bar whilst on your mobile that is prepended with an ‘m’ subdomain.</p> <p dir="ltr">The vast majority of the time this’ll denote a standalone mobile-specific website, that is entirely separate from the desktop version.</p> <p dir="ltr">There are some major drawbacks with this model:</p> <ul> <li>Maintenance overhead and development costs associated with several disparate codebases.</li> <li>Reliance on potentially brittle device detection.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">In contrast, a responsive website incorporates the same underlying codebase, with its responsive nature coming from adaptations of its user interface based on environmental variables.</p> <p dir="ltr">These include screen resolution, aspect ratio, and orientation. This concept provides a leaner approach throughout the project lifecycle.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to the technical decisions when constructing a responsive website, design considerations are also incredibly important.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>A typical responsive website, with hamburger menu and 'big picture'.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0005/9589/IDA.png" alt="responsive website" width="615"></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Mobile first</h3> <p dir="ltr">Another buzz word in the responsive design sphere is the term ‘mobile first’. Essentially, this means that you should be designing for the smallest device size envisaged, and progressively increasing support for larger resolutions.</p> <p dir="ltr">On larger screens such as a desktop monitor, you can have content elements side by side. There is enough room for it. You can have several items displayed almost at the same level.</p> <p dir="ltr">However on the narrowest possible screen, you have to reduce the number of columns, which forces you to organise your content in a much more linear fashion. Moreover, it forces you to think in terms of information hierarchy and single priority order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once you work out the order, going back to a larger screen is a much simpler process. And many choose to keep this single order; even keep the hamburger menu (it’s the icon with three lines stacked up and usually reveals a site navigation in some way).</p> <p dir="ltr">They reason “you might as well put beautiful massive images on it. Or make it a video. Nice simple layout. Clear hierarchy. Job done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Except, that is what a lot of other people are doing. How can we achieve a responsive website that doesn’t look like everyone else’s?</p> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr">The best responsive designs come with good, considered typography. As far as I am concerned, there are two factors for great typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first one is personality. Is the typeface appropriate for what you’re trying to communicate? You don’t warn people of death in Comic Sans (unless it’s for comic purposes obviously). Does it represent the brand? Does it have right level of authority?</p> <p dir="ltr">And the second one is semantic. Typography has to convey the right relationship between each word, sentence and paragraph.</p> <p dir="ltr">To illustrate, this example is stripped off any typographic consideration:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="593"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p dir="ltr">It’s all about typography.</p> <p dir="ltr">How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">And the same text, with some of those considerations added back in:</p> <table style="border-collapse: collapse;"> <colgroup><col width="590"></colgroup> <tbody> <tr style="height: 0px;"> <td style="vertical-align: top;"> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s all about typography</h3> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How personality of typeface and semantic affects how you communicate through words</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh, here is another big picture website…!” Hamburger menu? Check. Full screen...</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p dir="ltr">The second example makes it clear that these are heading, subheading and extract, rather than three equally weighted paragraphs in various grammatical styles.</p> <p dir="ltr">It may seem that this is simple stuff that everyone does but awareness of relationships between content and style are critical in achieving a good responsive layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once style and content are tied together so they are ‘semantic’, layout can be a lot more flexible.</p> <p dir="ltr">This is the same principle as the relationship between HTML and CSS, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67625-making-your-html-accessible-for-the-visually-impaired/">which have separate functions but linked meaning</a>. HTML displays the ‘meaning’ of your content and CSS displays how it ‘looks’.</p> <p dir="ltr">Typography displays the ‘relationships’ of your content and layout changes how it ‘flows’ without changing the order.</p> <p dir="ltr">Having strong typographic principles allows you to move your content around more freely without breaking what it means.</p> <p dir="ltr">Good typography combined with clear prioritisation of mobile devices will allow you to be more flexible with layout at different screen sizes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>An example of bold typography from agency land.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67376-13-examples-of-websites-with-confident-typography/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0452/Screen_Shot_2016-01-06_at_09.11.42.png" alt="bold typography" width="615"></a></p> <h3 dir="ltr">Think accessibility and beyond</h3> <p dir="ltr">How can you ensure your typography is semantic and communicates what it supposed to do? I found the best way to achieve this is to think in terms of accessibility.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are some stats around visual impairments you can consider.</p> <ul> <li>70% of UK population <a href="http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/utilities/document-summary.cfm/A60DE8E4-B6CF-49ED-8E0FE694FCF4B426">have mild vision impairment</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Factsheets/Later_Life_UK_factsheet.pdf?dtrk=true">17% (or 11m people) of the UK population is 65 or above</a> and many of them are tech savvy.</li> <li>3% (or 2 million people) of the UK population <a href="https://help.rnib.org.uk/help/newly-diagnosed-registration/registering-sight-loss/statistics">are living with sight loss</a>.</li> <li> <a href="http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/">4.5% has colour blindness</a>, and <a href="http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/">10% has dyslexia - 4% severely so</a>.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">To give you the sense of scale, current IE8 &amp; IE9 users in UK <a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop-browser_version_partially_combined-GB-monthly-201501-201601">are about 3.5% combined</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">As you can see, these are not trivial numbers. And on top of making all these new users happy (and hopefully buying your products), by considering them, you can design a better responsive website.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Semantic typography</h4> <p dir="ltr">The way to do this right is to think of semantic HTML. If it’s an article, call it an article. If it’s a button, call it a button.</p> <p dir="ltr">The same principle applies to typography, if it’s a heading, call it heading 1 &lt;h1&gt;, if it’s a subheading call it heading 2 &lt;h2&gt;, etc.</p> <p dir="ltr">It helps the browser to examine your content and really understand the position of each sentence.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Think large and spacious</h4> <p dir="ltr">For those with minor visual impairment, having large text definitely helps. I consider 14pt average sized, as a guide. Having plenty of space that complements typography helps dyslexic audience, as well as creating a clean spacious design.</p> <p dir="ltr">With so many different devices, thinking about ‘the fold’ is pretty much replaced by mobile first, single priority order, which means you can add more space between elements; in fact, as much as you need to create the right context.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Characterful typeface</h4> <p dir="ltr">Those with dyslexia may prefer having a font with distinct shapes for each letter. For example when d and b are just the mirror of each other, it’s hard to distinguish between them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Choose a font that reflects your brand well and works well for a dyslexic audience. Differentiate for yourself and for others.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Make it work without colours</h4> <p dir="ltr">The principle “if it works without colours, it works anywhere”  is a good, plain old usability.</p> <p dir="ltr">Colours can be used to emphasise information and that can be a really powerful design element. However, if it works without colours, that is even more robust.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Mind the contrast</h4> <p dir="ltr">Good contrast helps mild vision impairment and make things much easier to read for everyone.</p> <h4 dir="ltr">Consider background colour</h4> <p dir="ltr">Dyslexic audiences may find it easier to read when the page doesn’t have the strong glare of a white background. A softer tone is easier to read from and it will help add a personality to your design. Added bonus.</p> <p dir="ltr">You can see this in action at <a href="https://www.fortnumandmason.com/">Fortnum &amp; Mason's site</a>, where we’ve used soft cream tones to differentiate the atmosphere of the site and create a warm and ambient feeling.</p> <h3 dir="ltr">Be different</h3> <p dir="ltr">Taking all these factors into account, you will end up with a clear, accessible, responsive website. And it doesn’t have to look like a wider, bigger version of mobile layout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Push yourself to think differently - as long as you don’t forget the all important accessibility, your responsive website will work well and stand out from the crowd. Give it a go.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This blog was co-authored by Sari Griffiths, Chief Design Officer at Red Badger</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67004 2015-10-06T10:05:59+01:00 2015-10-06T10:05:59+01:00 Are mobile apps bottom of the marketing funnel? Patricio Robles <p>As one prominent venture capitalist sees it though, there's little conflict between the mobile web and native apps.</p> <p>Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures, believes that the mobile web is top of funnel for companies while their native apps are bottom of funnel.</p> <p>In <a href="http://avc.com/2015/09/mobile-web-is-top-of-funnel-mobile-app-is-bottom-of-funnel/">a blog post</a>, he writes...</p> <blockquote> <p>I like to think of [it] this way. The mobile web is the window of your store. Users window shop on your mobile website. Getting them to download and install and use your mobile app is like getting them to come into the store. And that’s where the action is long term.</p> </blockquote> <p>Wilson points to comScore data as evidence for his argument. According to comScore, mobile audience growth is being driven by mobile websites.</p> <p>Across the top 1,000 native apps, year-over-year growth is 21% while year-over-year growth across the top 1,000 mobile websites is double that at 42%.</p> <p>ComScore credits this to advantages the web has in terms of "digital infrastructure." For instance, despite the fact that there is a growing amount of interest in and activity around deep linking, linking to content is far easier on the mobile web.</p> <p>But where native apps shine is in time spent. On both smartphones and tablets, comScore says that apps account for 87% of a user's time compared to just 13% for the web browser.</p> <h3>The native app lie</h3> <p>On the surface, these statistics seem to suggest that Wilson's top of funnel/bottom of funnel argument could be the foundation for a sensible mobile strategy. But is it?</p> <p>Unfortunately, the devil is in the details. A relatively small number of super-popular apps account for a significant amount of the time spent in native apps. According to comScore's data, <strong>in 2014 Facebook's app alone <a href="http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Major-Mobile-Milestones-in-May-Apps-Now-Drive-Half-of-All-Time-Spent-on-Digital">accounted for</a> 18% of all time spent on mobile.</strong></p> <p>The vast majority of native apps experience high if not painful levels of churn, and lots of companies use less-than-efficient techniques in an attempt to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66851-five-tips-for-reducing-mobile-app-churn">reduce this churn</a>.</p> <p>For instance, many companies spend significant amounts on new user acquisition, which can keep some metrics up, but at the end of the day, they still lack the highly engaged native app audiences that companies can deliver real value to and extract real value from.</p> <p>In reality, there's only so much time to go around, and most companies cannot and should not expect that they will be able to grow highly-engaged native app audiences. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't build native apps (although they should know <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66977-eight-reasons-to-kill-your-native-mobile-app">when to kill them</a>).</p> <p>But it does mean that treating a native app as the bottom of the funnel as opposed to a channel that can stand on its own is for most companies likely to produce disappointing results.</p> <p><em>To learn more about mobile marketing, book yourself onto our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-usability-and-ux/">Mobile Usability and UX Training Course</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66702 2015-07-15T14:38:42+01:00 2015-07-15T14:38:42+01:00 How DevOps is changing the business of IT consulting Jacob McMillen <h2>Overview of DevOps</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.jedi.be/blog/2010/02/12/what-is-this-devops-thing-anyway/" target="_blank">idea of DevOps</a> is relatively new, started by a group of like-minded IT professionals in 2009 in Belgium. It used to be more popularly known as “DevOps Days” in reference to the conferences conducted on the subject. For brevity’s sake and hashtag viability, the term was shortened to DevOps.</p> <p>What DevOps aims to accomplish is enhanced efficiency within software development. It intends to help organizations more quickly produce software products and services, in addition to boosting operations performance.</p> <p>DevOps enables cross-departmental integration with IT operations, connecting functions that have been traditionally separated. It connects software engineering (development), quality assurance or analysis, and technology operations. Moreover, DevOps covers the entire delivery pipeline, rather than limiting itself to a subset of functions or development stages. </p><p>DevOps most notably creates palpable improvements when it comes to product (software) delivery, feature development, quality analysis, and maintenance releases, all of which contribute to improvements in the reliability, security, and deployment cycles of the software products being developed.</p> <p>In terms of software release management, DevOps also creates benefits by standardizing the development environments.</p> <p>Finally, it provides developers with greater control over the development environment by establishing a more application-centered understanding.</p> <h2>A change in perspective</h2> <p>Your IT consulting professionals are typically the same people who make up the groups collectively referred to as “DevOps teams.”</p> <p>These include software engineers, system engineers, system administrators, operations engineers, infrastructure engineers, software developers, operations managers, IT managers, software architects, project managers, web developers, security engineers, QA engineers, platform engineers, security managers, and backend developers.</p> <p>Accordingly, there are easily noticeable changes in IT consulting that can be attributed to DevOps.</p><p>For this discussion, DevOps professionals and IT consultants can be taken to mean the same information technology specialists who provide IT services that benefit businesses. However, the whole point of DevOps is to veer away from the traditions of typical IT consulting.</p> <p>DevOps has <a href="http://devops.com/2015/02/17/comparing-devops-traditional-eight-key-differences/" target="_blank">key differences from traditional IT consulting</a>. Members of DevOps teams work as one integrated unit, rather than separately performing individual functions. Instead of focusing on "getting my job done", every member of the team is focused on getting the project ready for deployment.</p> <p>The perspective change from "my job" to "our project" can result in massive benefits for the business.</p> <h2>Impact of DevOps on IT consulting</h2> <p>The benefits of DevOps can be summarized as follows:</p> <ol> <li>Pay (revenue) differences</li> <li>Team empowerment</li> <li>Tractability in deployment and maintenance</li> <li>Enhanced end product reliability</li> <li>Speedier time-to-market</li> <li>Greater efficiency</li> </ol> <h3>1. Pay (Revenue) Differences</h3> <p>For the most part, DevOps has allowed IT professionals to earn better. Figures gathered in this <a href="https://www.incapsula.com/blog/devops-salary-survey.html" target="_blank">2015 DevOps survey</a> look rather bright for IT professionals thinking of hopping on the DevOps bandwagon.</p> <p>Most DevOps professionals tend to earn better in comparison to the prevailing salaries surveyed by Payscale. DevOps system administrators, for example, earn a median salary of $86,000 compared to the $58,897 average of traditional sysadmins.</p> <p>DevOps web developers and security engineers also have a higher median pay,</p> <p>The median salary for all surveyed DevOps professionals is $105,600.</p> <h3>2. Team empowerment</h3> <p>Another excellent benefit of the DevOps movement is the empowerment of the different IT professionals who work together on a project.</p> <p>This is mostly due to the idea that all members in a DevOps team are allowed to offer input and across all areas of the project.</p> <p>Members are empowered to take ownership of the entire project, rather than being limited to a single set of tasks.</p> <h3>3. Deployment and maintenance tractability</h3> <p>Tractability means the ease with which individuals allow themselves to be managed - how receptive they are to influence and suggestion.</p> <p>Team tractability is a highly coveted benefit enable by DevOps' cross-disciplinary approach.</p> <p>Sysadmins and developers are no longer able to engage in the notorious blame game, where developers accuse sysadmins of creating an unreliable platform, and sysadmins complain that code from the developers is unreliable.</p> <p>With everyone working together at each stage of the process, problems can be solved by the team as they arise.</p> <h3>4. Better reliability</h3> <p>Because of the emphasis on communication, collaboration, integration, and automation, it is only logical to expect a better end product from the work done under the DevOps approach.</p> <p>As highlighted in point #3, since the entire team is working together throughout the development process, the vast majority of problems will be identified and solved by various branches of the team well before launch.</p> <h3>5. Faster time to market</h3> <p>There are convincing claims that DevOps results in faster time to market and continual improvement. The ratio, reportedly, could be at the vicinity of 1:30 (non-DevOps vs DevOps) in terms of deployment.</p> <p>This is because DevOps makes it easier to go from “idea” stage to a working software at the initial project development stage. This benefit allows developers to experiment on what can be done with the project and to continuously introduce incremental improvements.</p> <h3>6. Greater Efficiency</h3> <p>Enhanced efficiency is perhaps the major advantage of DevOps. It makes almost everything faster and leads to less resource wastage. </p> <p>This improved efficiency, in particular, can be observed in how companies no longer have to assign greater priority to stabilizing new features. In a DevOps setup, there is one team that takes responsibility for ensuring stability while creating new features.</p> <p>The team is able to do this efficiently because of the advantages afforded by a shared code base, test-driven techniques, continuous integration, automated deployments, and smaller change sets.</p> <h2><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="http://i.imgur.com/pFw42L4.jpg" alt=""></h2><p>Is DevOps the future of IT consulting? </p><p>It’s still early to claim that DevOps is the revolution needed in the IT consulting world. However, it is doubtlessly a promising approach businesses should consider adopting.</p><p>While some critics see it as a ploy by northern European sysadmins to establish prominence in their field, at the end of the day, a development approach centered around cooperation and communication is the type of idea that solves longstanding problems in the software and IT consulting industries.</p> <p>Whether you want to adopt the "brand name" or not, when working on a given project, increasing communication and cooperation across all departments involved is, in my opinion, ALWAYS a good idea.</p> <p><em>For more Econsultancy content from Jacob McMillen, check out this <a href="https://www.incapsula.com/load-balancing/high-availability.html" target="_blank">article on website availability</a> or this <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66101-five-mistakes-marketers-make-when-using-social-proof/" target="_blank">post on social proof mistakes</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66486 2015-06-01T10:00:00+01:00 2015-06-01T10:00:00+01:00 Stats: The growing and enduring appeal of messaging apps Luke Richards <p>The app-related stats which jumped out at me this month, however, concern those from the messaging category.</p> <p>Key services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SnapChat are increasingly becoming household names, and I wanted to delve deeper into their growth and their ongoing appeal.</p> <h3><strong>Young people driving growth</strong></h3> <p><a title="Pew Internet Teenage Messaging App Use" href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/" target="_blank">Recent US-focused data from Pew Research Center</a> digs into the popularity of messaging apps among teenagers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3394/Mobile_northamericaapps_PewInternet_Apr_2015.png" alt="" width="318" height="746"></p> <p>Their research finds that 33% of teenage cell phone owners use messaging apps including WhatsApp and Kik. Girls are more likely to use them than boys (37% versus 29%) and those living in urban areas are more active in the category than suburban and rural dwellers.</p> <p>Additionally, <a title="ComScore Messaging Apps US" href="http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Reports-February-2015-US-Smartphone-Subscriber-Market-Share" target="_blank">recent data from comScore</a> highlights just how popular messaging apps are in the market overall. Facebook Messenger is the fifth most popular app in the country (reaching more than 51% of smartphone users) and Snapchat is the fifteenth most popular (reaching more than 19%).</p> <h3><strong>Messaging apps are connecting people in growth markets</strong></h3> <p>While messaging apps are clearly proving important to young people in the US, recent research from Ipsos and GlobalWebIndex looks at the popularity of these apps across the MENA and APAC regions respectively.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3395/Mobile_MENAapps_Ipsos_March_2015.png" alt="" width="747" height="435"></p> <p><a title="Ipsos MENA Gareth Deree Presentation" href="http://www.slideshare.net/IpsosMENA/digital-media-forum-2015" target="_blank">Ipsos data presented by Gareth Deree in March 2015</a> looks at key apps as used By MENA smartphone users throughout an average day.</p> <p>WhatsApp clearly accounts for most daily app use, especially during the evening and late at night. Skype, texting apps and social media also see significant use throughout the day.</p> <p><a title="GlobalWebIndex APAC Messaging Apps" href="https://www.globalwebindex.net/products/chart_of_the_day/17th-november-2014-wechat-dominates-mobile-messaging-in-apac?utm_campaign=Chart+of+the+Day&amp;utm_source=hs_email&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_content=14925676&amp;_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8NDNG-s5tnLt8I5fcenL830Wz09JPoSYGTNg4dUeXkbbDvRZISbvfG-CQx6GUqyVUbMKLe363zlNLK0ajn6Coc_KHIPAi_j6yRwylmzd3aF8dAywQ&amp;_hsmi=14925676" target="_blank">GlobalWebIndex also looked at APAC messaging app popularity in late 2014</a>. WeChat leads the market reaching 39% of internet users, followed by Facebook Messenger at 16% with Skype and WhatsApp not far behind.</p> <h3><strong>Messaging apps lead other categories for retention</strong></h3> <p>While messaging apps may be leading the sector in the growth stakes, research from <a title="Flurry/Yahoo! Messaging App Retention" href="http://yahoodevelopers.tumblr.com/post/114492418503/messaging-apps-the-new-face-of-retail-banking" target="_blank">Flurry and Yahoo!</a> also looks at how the category is performing better than average when it comes to retention as well.</p> <p>On average, after an app has been installed for 12 months only 11% of users will open it again. For messaging apps this proportion of users is far higher at 62%, a rate the same as that seen at six months after download.</p> <p>Messaging apps perform much better than others even when looking at use within the same month an app has been downloaded. With retention rates peaking at 68%, and those of average apps only hitting 36%.</p> <h3><strong>The messaging app sub-category is a fascinating one</strong></h3> <p>The current data highlights that for an app type where the purpose at first seems very narrow, numerous services are offering an increasing degree of messaging diversity – whether that’s short video clips, or being more geared toward contacts in a specific social network.</p> <p>The growing mobile audience is truly embracing the range of messaging apps on offer, using respective services for different means, conversation types and different contact types.</p> <p>It will be exciting to see how the sector develops further and whether the big messaging names such as Facebook and Skype can hold their own against the WhatsApps and SnapChats of tomorrow.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66474 2015-05-21T14:59:01+01:00 2015-05-21T14:59:01+01:00 Six ways mobile can ease traveler stress and increase bookings Carin Van Vuuren <p dir="ltr">In order to reduce travel stress and bolster brand loyalty, brands should:</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Optimize travel trust</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Mobile provides consumers access to the world right at their fingertips.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a few quick taps, globetrotters can scope out destinations and amenities halfway around the world -- yet according to <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">research we recently conducted</a>,<strong> 41% refrain from researching on mobile,</strong> a stark contrast from the whopping 87% that browse by tablet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the swarms of mobile-centric travelers, many travel sites are not properly optimized for mobile. Photos and videos are difficult to view, navigation is flawed and filtering is insufficient.</p> <p dir="ltr">To optimize travel trust and ensure experiences are seamless and consistent on all channels, brands are advised to carry out an audit of their customer experience and see where consumer pain points lie.</p> <p dir="ltr">By ensuring content is consistent across all touchpoints, brands can minimize the risk of unnecessary misunderstanding and eliminate the frustration associated with planning a trip.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Use visuals to drive excitement</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">To make the mobile experience more conductive for researching trips, <strong>brands should pay special attention to high-quality visual content. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Images and videos are the selling point during the research and booking phases and often greatly impact travelers’ decisions. Yet, visuals are a key aspect travelers feel is missing from their mobile experience.</p> <p dir="ltr">To drive excitement, brands must provide a visual representation of the experience they will be receiving.</p> <p dir="ltr">Engage travelers with rich visual content throughout the experience, leveraging location-specific videos and user-generated reviews.</p> <p dir="ltr">By incorporating best UX practices, which also include eliminating “pinch and zoom” and pixelated  images,  users will feel more confident about making a booking decision on mobile.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Soothe insecurities</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Research shows that insecurity is a prominent emotion during the booking stage of the consumer journey.</p> <p dir="ltr">During this phase, travelers worry whether sensitive information is safe over open and unsecured connections, a factor that can drastically affect one’s willingness to book and pay on mobile.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, <strong>51% of travelers are not likely to use mobile payment while 58% of travelers are apprehensive to book by mobile.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">To ease such concerns, travel brands should incorporate feedback and security elements throughout the journey, such as progress bars and visual security cues, and embrace language ensuring users their personal information is safe.</p> <p dir="ltr">By adding UX elements that increase the users’ sense of reassurance, brands can reduce stress and increase traveler confidence.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Fight frustration with feedback</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Nobody likes sparring with tech support. While researching and booking trips, travelers are frustrated by slow load times and fear losing connection in the midst of transactions, anxieties heightened by the crucial role these stages play.</p> <p dir="ltr">To soothe tension, <strong>brands must gauge if their sites are user friendly and aptly designed for performance. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In particular, users crave timely feedback on their actions; the use of a spinner indicates the system is working, addressing dreaded lag times.</p> <p dir="ltr">Including a numbered step indicator throughout the core booking stages also helps users maintain a sense of progress.</p> <p dir="ltr">By paying attention to technical issues that may arise on mobile, and updating the user during their experience, brands can eliminate frustration and decrease the number of drop offs on mobile.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brands should also streamline operations by reducing the number of lengthy pages and streamlining forms to include only those fields vital to checkout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Designing functionalities tied to user activity can diffuse frustration while increasing performance and decreasing the likelihood of technical issues.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Build anticipation through apps</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">Once travelers arrive at their destination, they yearn to explore their surroundings, not wait on a lengthy check-in line.</p> <p dir="ltr">More and more, hoteliers are embracing functionalities like mobile check-in and keyless entry, streamlining the admissions process.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mobile is truly a one-stop shop for travelers; devices could be used to order room service, request housekeeping and access other amenities.</p> <p dir="ltr">Opportunities exist to create apps that focus on specific use cases, such as Virtual Concierge, Food &amp; Beverage, Beauty Services, or Banqueting.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, rather than carry guidebooks, <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">61% of travelers value local information</a> on a brand’s mobile site to help plan their stay.</p> <p dir="ltr">A well-trained staff could support and complement new technologies while user testing can find the right balance between human interaction and automation.</p> <p dir="ltr">By providing a personalized experience, users will be more eager to use mobile throughout the journey.</p> <h3 dir="ltr"><strong>Incentivize sharing, streamline redemption</strong></h3> <p dir="ltr">After getaways, travelers return home with stories to tell, yet smartphones seldom do the sharing. </p> <p dir="ltr">Fewer than four out of 10 travelers share mobile photos on a brand’s social media pages and nearly all said they would not be inclined to share their travel experience unless it was beneficial to them.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is a prime opportunity for brands to offer customers incentives to share and book directly through their site. Getting customers to interact directly through your site creates a sense of excitement in travelers and increases the likelihood they’ll return to your site in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">Loyalty programs are also a massive missed opportunity. Though the majority of travelers collect loyalty points, programs as a whole are underleveraged; <a href="http://pages.usablenet.com/WC2015-03TraveleBook_Registration.html?_ga=1.162818812.1968264689.1425913433">less than a third redeem points on mobile</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brands must take measures to incorporate loyalty into mobile and market it as an extension of their brand. Design sites that allow travelers to seamlessly access their points and stress that interactions will be beneficial to them and their wallets.</p> <p dir="ltr">JetBlue, for example, allows loyalty members to pay for flights using acquired points. By clearly depicting this option, travelers see the value of such a program and can seamlessly claim their reward.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/3368/jetBlue_Loyalty__1_.PNG" alt="" width="600"></strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While brands are accustomed to understanding a traveler’s practical needs and personal preferences, it is also valuable to respond to the emotional states of their customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">From the earliest rounds of research to boarding the flight home, emotions play a key role in travelers’ mobile experience; how brands cater to these sentiments can make or break relationships.</p> <p dir="ltr">Travel brands should proactively conduct a UX audit to see how see how functionalities perform. To best engage audiences, invite users to browse and book with compelling visual navigation, advanced search options and rich visual content.</p> <p dir="ltr">By <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65347-10-essential-features-for-mobile-travel-sites">improving the user experience of mobile offerings</a>, brands heighten the overall travel experience for guests and inspire repeat business.</p> <p dir="ltr">Implementing simple fixes can help ensure a user’s next vacation won’t be their last vacation with you.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3773 2015-04-29T11:30:00+01:00 2015-04-29T11:30:00+01:00 Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Quest for Mobile Excellence <p><strong>The Quest for Mobile Excellence </strong>briefing, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with <strong><a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/solutions/digital-marketing.html">Adobe</a></strong>, provides data and insights for those wishing to benchmark their own activities around mobile, and to elevate the importance of related business initiatives within their organisations.</p> <p>This research comes 12 months after Econsultancy and Adobe published the <strong><a title="Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-finding-the-path-to-mobile-maturity/">Finding the Path to Mobile Maturity report</a></strong>, giving us a great opportunity to assess the progress that companies have made in the intervening period.</p> <p>This year’s research is based on a global survey of nearly 3,000 marketers and digital professionals, providing another robust data set with which to compare last year’s findings.</p> <p>The following sections are featured in the report:</p> <ul> <li>Companies rise to the mobile challenge</li> <li>The desktop bias</li> <li>Investment and experimentation</li> <li>The need for mobile measurement</li> <li>The rise and rise of mobile apps</li> <li>Measuring, testing and optimising apps</li> <li>Ownership of mobile in a multichannel world</li> </ul> <h3> <strong>Findings</strong> include:</h3> <ul> <li>Almost two-thirds of companies (62%) are planning to <strong>increase their mobile investments in 2015</strong> compared to only 3% who are decreasing budgets. </li> <li>Around a fifth (19%) of companies now <strong>regard themselves as ‘mobile-first’</strong> compared to 13% last year.</li> <li>A third of companies (34%) said they had <strong>‘a defined mobile strategy that goes out at least 12 months’</strong>, down from 36% who agreed with this statement last year.</li> <li>The vast majority of respondents (71%) say that <strong>the desktop website is their top priority</strong> when it comes to providing a consistent customer experience, ahead of mobile site (16%), smartphone applications (10%) and tablet apps (3%). </li> <li>Only 11% strongly agree that they understand <strong>how mobile fits into the customer journey</strong> across devices and channels.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> <p>A <strong>free sample</strong> is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.</p> <h4> <strong>Econsultancy's Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings, sponsored by <a title="Adobe" href="http://www.adobe.com/uk/marketing">Adobe</a>, look at some of the most important trends affecting the marketing landscape. </strong><strong>You can access the other reports in this series <a title="Econsultancy / Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefings" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefings">here</a>.</strong> </h4> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/65596 2014-10-16T10:50:00+01:00 2014-10-16T10:50:00+01:00 iPad app review: Manchester City's digital ambition is clear to see Ben Davis <h2>Home and consistency of UX</h2> <p>In line with the BBC and other design leaders, the homepage swipes left to reveal content. It works incredibly well, the pictures are crisp, the interface is responsive and there's the right amount of content on offer.</p> <p>Adding great consistency, each content section accessed from the menu, be it news, match reports, gallery etc, follows the same format of swipeable thumbnails. This is the sort of behaviour that makes an app usable. It makes sense to the user.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/j95YCUqoVew?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> <h2>Content, internal linking and sharing</h2> <p>The emphasis of the app is content. That's refreshing to see, when far too many sports clubs use apps as a barefaced sell. City takes the opportunity to promote match tickets and competitions where needed, but the focus is on team news, match reports, interviews etc. It's what the fan wants.</p> <p>I delved into the last match result and thought the interface and the available material was pretty impressive, with a selection of video highlights and some articles. There's also some useful gestural instruction on how to close articles once I've opened them.</p> <p>The articles I found slightly difficult to skim read because of the choice of white text on a dark blue background (see below). It fits the club palette but isn't particularly easy on the eye.</p> <p>On the plus side, the photos are great and there are fairly prominent share buttons not just within the articles and highlights, but on their thumbnails, too. This is fairly smart, seeing as research has shown that many people share content without even reading it, especially on social platforms, but also from web content.</p> <p>Notice the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/100-practical-content-marketing-tips-a-how-to-guide">internal linking</a> in the article, too. This is a nice touch, allowing me to easily read a match report and then jump to a player's profile and stats. Yaya Toure, for example, shown below.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/5050/photo_2-blog-full.png" alt="city app" width="615" height="461"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/5047/photo_3-blog-full.png" alt="yaya toure city app" width="615" height="461"></p> <h2>Design</h2> <p>Taking the example of the Premier League table and upcoming fixture calendar, I think the City App team has done a great job of laying out information.</p> <p>This section is so easy to use and pleasurable, too. Again, each fixture links off to a results or preview page (where, crucially, tickets are sold). The only slight annoyance is the absence of a back button, to get back to the calendar and table after exploring a fixture.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLAbTK0A9iY?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> <h2>Bugs</h2> <p>I enjoyed the way video clips can play at thumbnail, within a match report dashboard, or be enlarged to full screen. It made me feel like I was using some of Sky Sports' fancy studio equipment.</p> <p>However, there are bugs here. See the video below for a crash that happened to me reliably when I played a video and then touched the same panel again.</p> <p>This is a pretty major flaw considering most fans are interested in game footage, but to give City their due, this is listed as an outstanding issue in the App Store and should be fixed soon.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wjhom5vy69k?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> <h2>iOS gesture conflict/enforcement?</h2> <p>It's nice that when I first open the app, there's a quick tutorial on how to swipe up on the app to reveal first team fixtures and the league table. I naturally assumed this would be a swipe up from the bottom of the page (despite the text that says otherwise - this is a lesson in how we use the web), in the same way iOS surfaces utilities and settings.</p> <p>One can swipe up anywhere on the City App page and it took a few seconds of trial and error to understand and get this right. I don't think a few wasted seconds is a problem, of course.</p> <p>It's very difficult to make an entirely consistent/predictable interface, but I thought this was worth mentioning to highlight the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-web-design-and-development-best-practice-guide">issue in UX</a> of what to imitate. It can be difficult to know exactly what is a fully adopted behaviour, even for iOS users.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0005/5048/photo_1-blog-full.png" alt="gestural instruction on city app" width="615" height="461"></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/govGjDOcL8g?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="461"></iframe></p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>It's the simplicity of this app that makes it great. Even with a few creases to iron out, it's all about content and enjoying accessing that content. This is what building a global brand is about, striking a balance between the magic of football, watching it and reading about it, and selling stuff, too.</p> <p>The less said about the £61.95 football shirts, the better.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/64978 2014-06-10T10:13:28+01:00 2014-06-10T10:13:28+01:00 Three mobile marketing trends that didn't live up to the hype David Moth <h2>QR codes</h2> <p>QR codes have been around for ages but it’s very rare that you find anyone with a decent word to say about them.</p> <p>Occasionally we come across case studies which show that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9777-six-qr-code-campaigns-that-actually-worked">QR codes can be successful in the right circumstances</a>, with the right CTA, a powerful incentive and when someone forces you to scan one at gunpoint, but in general they haven’t justified the time wasted on them.</p> <p>I’m not saying that smartphone users will never be persuaded to scan advertising, however it will take something more alluring than a QR code before the technology catches on. </p> <p>And if you're still unconvinced that QR codes have failed to live up to the hype, then check out these <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9777-six-qr-code-campaigns-that-actually-worked">10 examples of QR code madness</a>...</p> <h2>Augmented reality</h2> <p>Back in 2010 the MMA predicted that a new wave of products which combined location-based services and augmented reality would "<a href="http://mmaglobal.com/news/mobile-marketing-association-outlines-top-ten-mobile-marketing-trends-watch-2011-december-2010">not only fuel adspend but also transactions</a>."</p> <p>This obviously hasn’t proven to be the case, and I’m yet to see any truly convincing uses of AR for either practical or marketing purposes. But that obviously hasn’t stopped me from fueling the hype by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9842-seven-awesome-augmented-reality-campaigns">knocking out regular list posts of AR marketing campaigns</a>.</p> <p>Anecdotally, we receive far fewer press releases about AR marketing campaigns now than we did a few years ago.</p> <p><em><strong>Top Gear Magazine's AR trial</strong></em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VGwH9guifhk?rel=0&amp;wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>This could suggest either that fewer brands are experimenting with AR, or that it has lost its PR value. I think it’s probably the latter as the use of AR is no longer newsworthy in itself. </p> <p>Instead people want case studies on successful uses of AR in marketing, which are very difficult to come by.</p> <h2>NFC</h2> <p>At Econsultancy we were as guilty as any of over-hyping the potential for NFC to radically alter the way in which consumers make payments and interact with advertising.</p> <p>It seems like an easy and convenient way for consumers to receive data – they tap their <img style="float: right;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0004/8883/nfc.png" alt="" width="173" height="200">phone, the information is transferred to the device, and they can go on their merry way.</p> <p>There have even been some high profile trials of the technology involving global brands. For example, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9824-visa-confirms-mobile-payments-trial-with-galaxy-s3-at-london-olympics">Visa used the Olympics to showcase NFC payments around London</a>.</p> <p>Furthermore there are plenty of NFC-enabled handsets on the market, notably from LG, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung.</p> <p>However as yet the technology seems to have been kept away from consumers, as if tech companies feel we’re not yet ready to experience it’s awesome power.</p> <p>The more likely reason of course is that the technology is not yet ready for widespread consumer adoption due to the complexities of setting up a secure eco-system that relies on the cooperation of several different industries (e.g. mobile operators, finance companies, card issuers).</p> <p>And now that Apple has decided to focus on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63478-ibeacons-what-are-they-and-why-should-marketers-care">iBeacons</a> rather than NFC it could be that the latter’s never fulfils its promise.</p> <h2>And to finish...</h2> <p>Here are two trends that I’m glad we’ve hopefully seen the back of forever...</p> <h3>Apps vs. the mobile web</h3> <p>Back in the bad old days people used to genuinely debate whether it was better for companies to go for a mobile app or a mobile website, as if each different business and industry should be bound by the same one-size-fits-all approach.</p> <p>Thankfully we seem to have moved on from this debate, thanks in no small part to the advent of responsive design and HTML5.</p> <p>The line between apps and mobile sites is becoming increasingly blurred, and marketers largely accept that decisions on mobile platforms should be driven by business objectives and user needs rather than simply trying to adopt the latest trendy technology.</p> <h3>“There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world”</h3> <p>Not a marketing trend as such, but if you’ve ever been to a conference then there’s a 100% chance you’ve heard someone trot out this utterly unprovable and ultimately pointless catchphrase.</p> <p>Admittedly this is a rather niche bugbear, but if we work together we can ensure that the trend of using this go-to buzzphrase will also die a death.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/64521 2014-03-17T13:54:49+00:00 2014-03-17T13:54:49+00:00 WiFi’s role in digital innovation and marketing in 2014 Gavin Wheeldon <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotspot_(Wi-Fi)#Hotspot_2.0">Hotspot 2.0</a> will support this growth by enabling any end-user to land in a foreign country and look for a WiFi network, rather than a phone network, based on their roaming agreement.</p> <p>This is already available on iOS7 and will soon be available to Samsung Galaxy S4 owners and other manufacturers by the latter half of this year. </p> <p>Additionally, as innovative product developments such as Google Glass become more mass-market, WiFi usage will accelerate further, and by 2020 both cellular and WiFi frequency will become completely saturated.</p> <p>This, along with the increase in mobile data usage, is expected to put huge pressure on 3/4/5G networks, creating a need for more blanket coverage whilst leading to changes in frequency.</p> <h2><strong>What will change from the user’s perspective?</strong></h2> <p>The user’s experience of WiFi often begins with a very long list of SSIDs. All this really tells us is the name and whether it is locked or not.</p> <p>You certainly can’t rely on the name because anybody can broadcast an SSID and of course the SSID could be spoofing a real one. </p> <p>If it is unlocked you have to ask yourself: “what’s on the other side?” It could be paid for, it could be looking to hijack your information or it simply doesn’t connect because it’s oversubscribed.</p> <p>The best case scenario is you connect, and then you have to open a browser and go through a registration process.</p> <p>With Hotspot 2.0 the WiFi provider will broadcast much more detail; is the WiFi open? Is it paid for? Does it require registration? Is it oversubscribed? You can then make informed decisions about the network very quickly.</p> <p>This will also create a seamless experience where you never have to interact with the network if you already have credentials in place.</p> <p>That means, if your mobile provider, broadband provider, hardware provider or anyone else has a pre-agreed roaming agreement with the network, they can make all those decisions in the background and just connect you.</p> <h2><strong>WiFi’s role in marketing </strong></h2> <p>The online world has been spoilt for many years with a wealth of data and analytics about how we interact with websites. WiFi is now paving the way for this same rich data to be available in the offline world.</p> <p>With mobile devices constantly beaconing (looking for a WiFi connection) we are able to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62353-more-reasons-for-retailers-to-offer-wi-fi-in-stores">use this data in-store</a> to capture footfall, average duration times in a venue, frequency, recency of visits and many more valuable insights.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/5759/in-store-blog-full.jpg" alt="" width="615" height="340"></p> <p>Combine this with users who connect to the WiFi and you have a powerful marketing tool, which lets venues understand the environment, identify visitors and interact with them in new and meaningful ways.</p> <p>Real time and highly relevant coupons or information for events are just two small examples.</p> <h2><strong>WiFi’s role in innovation </strong></h2> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64143-why-is-the-internet-of-things-so-compelling">Internet of Things</a> (IoT), or Internet of Everything (IoE), is something that WiFi is going to play a major part in. As more and more devices and sensors have the ability to connect, they need a way of doing so.</p> <p>Wearable tech such as glasses and watches may use Bluetooth tethered to your mobile device, which will ultimately connect to the WiFi. </p> <p>Sensors will also become much more commonplace. An example of this are the sensors that will be inside nappies/diapers to notify you when your baby needs changing (they’re available now).</p> <p>This is one simple example of the thousands of use cases for sensors that will control our world and will need connectivity to do so. A more well-known example is smart meters which are being rolled out everywhere by utility companies. </p> <p>The development of WiFi will also place a stronger emphasis on the role of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62387-why-a-chief-digital-officer-is-a-bad-idea">Chief Digital Officer (CDO)</a>.</p> <p>These roles are fast becoming responsible for social and digital innovation, including WiFi initiatives, with many now being required to develop effective strategies as part of their remit, often using WiFi technology as the enabler.</p> <p>However, the consumerism of IT and the introduction of BYOD, encouraging employees to bring their own smartphones, laptops and PDA’s to the workplace, and connect via the company network is expected to raise various security and VoIP subscription issues.</p> <p>There will be plenty of challenges to face as the ongoing developments in technology and marketing increase the demands on connectivity. WiFi will need to continue its evolution to make these requirements a reality.</p>