Emotional about mobile

Rob Borley

Smartphones are emotive devices. They are extensions of ourselves. Your online services need to play nicely with them or you will offend me.

My mobile phone is an extension of me. Everything I do in my day to day life is through my phone in some form. It holds my photos, my music, my videos, my calendar, my email. I interact with my social networks through it, I answer life’s little questions with it. I kill time with it and I catch up with distant friends with it. I even make the occasional call. It’s always on my person, never out of reach. And I’m sorry to have to admit that it’s the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in morning. But I’m guessing I’m not alone.

This time it’s personal

You must have had that sinking feeling when somebody, for whatever reason, asks to have a look at your phone. Or even worse, use it to “check something”. You know that you have to allow this. You have to pass your shiny device into the hands of another. There is no socially acceptable way to not. But as you do, you know that a little piece of you is now at the mercy of an outsider. They have access to your world!

Because of the amount of time we spend with our smart devices, and the things that we use them for, we form an emotional connection with them. We are protective of them and do not tolerate lightly anything that may interfere with the normal running of them.

This is why your organisation must consider mobile when developing an online strategy. We are using mobile devices to access services and interact online with increasing regularity. Very soon (some estimates place it at 2014) there will be more people interacting online via a mobile device than via a traditional desktop / laptop. Our online behaviour is changing and this time it’s personal.

If I attempt to use your services or access your content and it doesn’t play nicely with my smartphone it is quite possible that I will not only find it frustrating, but I will offended by it. How dare you break my shiny device? This may sound a little strong but the emotional connection that I have formed with my device, that is an extension of myself, could lead me to place a black mark against your organisation if you didn’t deem it worth your time to consider me when providing your services.

Blue screen of death

If you are developing apps then they need to not crash my phone, access or share my data without permission, or negatively impact my experience of using my device in any way. When software produced a “blue screen of death” on windows then, no matter what happen or why, it was the stupid computers fault. If your app “breaks” my phone, no matter how or why, it’s your fault!

If your website is unreadable or unusable on my touch screen device then it shows that you were not interested in me. Forcing me to use a traditional internet access method (if I still have access to one) means that I am not important to you. And fobbing me off with a poorly implemented mobile alternative site that leaves me thinking that I’m missing something and looking for the “show full site link” makes me feel like you just don’t care.

It’s been emotional

Mobile device use invokes an emotional reaction. This means that the damage that can be done to the image of your organisation is greatly increased. If you have not yet considered mobile in your online strategy then do so soon. Before you do any more damage.