By Carin Van Vuuren
These are the key trends we’ll be seeing over the next twelve months, and what brands can do to stay ahead of them.
1. A picture is worth a thousand words
Consumer experiences are becoming more visual as social networks like Instagram and Pinterest continue their reign. Users will seek out and spend more time browsing images and watching videos on mobile. Tablets will play a pivotal role in driving this trend. As smart mobile devices inevitably become more affordable, they will become more ubiquitous to consumers, who will begin to have an array of devices to hand at any one time.
2. The ‘age of impatience’ will take hold
Consumers will lose patience if sites are not optimised. Spinning wheels, slow load times and clunky user journeys just won’t be tolerated – mobile sites must be designed with the needs of the user in mind. This user experience will make the difference between brands that win with their users and those that lose out to the competition.
3. There’s power in personalisation
Brands need to appeal to a market of one; the individual consumer. Users will demand a more immersive and individual experience, so data and knowledge needs to be applied to each consumer and used in context in order to create this. 2014 will be the year in which investments in customer analytics become mission-critical.
4. A life more mobile
Activities that are traditionally less suited to the small screen, such as travel bookings and personal health management, will be embraced as the convenience of doing these tasks on-the-go outweighs privacy concerns. Expect a growing demand for mobile in every sector as consumers abandon the desktop in favor of the ease and immediacy of mobile.
5. Quality over quantity in apps
Apps will continue to grow in popularity, but consumers will become more critical and demanding. As consumer demand for apps increases, so does the expectation. Apps with less than four star ratings (even for updates) will not survive. To remain viable and in demand, apps must provide innovative and entertaining experiences, accepting that mobile sites are better-suited to quick actions and transactional tasks.
About the author
Carin Van Vuuren is CMO of Usablenet.
Usablenet is a global technology leader for mobile and multi-channel customer engagement. Usablenet’s powerful platform enables leading companies in all sectors to create compelling experiences for their customers across multiple channels, including mobile, tablet, social, and in-store kiosks. Usablenet customers include ASOS, Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, SportsDirect.com, Carphone Warehouse, Virgin Money Giving, Travelodge and British Airways. Founded in 2000, Usablenet is a private company headquartered in New York City with offices in Los Angeles, Italy and London. For more information, visit us at http://www.usablenet.com or on Twitter @Usablenet.