Designing a multi-platform experience

by Foolproof

I’ve recently been involved in an exciting research and design programme for a major online booking service. It included not only a website redesign, but also building from scratch a mobile site and an iPhone app.

Designing these platforms at the same time is challenging, but you’ll be surprised by how much your corporate site can benefit from the insights collected while designing its mobile little brothers, and vice versa.

Multi-platform and multi-channel are definitions that don’t really exist in the customer’s head

For this project, the aim was for the customer to book an appointment - or to learn more about the business - through the website rather than over the phone or on a mobile site. The role of the website is to intercept customer needs and to put them on the right path, but also to allow a seamless switch to other platforms whenever they ask for it. Start first with what they really want, and then adapt their experience to different media, channels and technologies.

If your customer can make a booking quicker on their mobile than on a pc, your site probably needs a redesign

However, sometimes these constraints allow us to focus on what is really important or what really matters to your customers. Designing with mobile in mind can provide invaluable insights on how to improve and streamline customer journeys on your main site.

If your mobile site looks like an App, it’s a hit. If your App looks like a website, it’s a miss

Apps have spoilt mobile users with eye-candy interfaces, smooth interaction and fast response times. They have raised the bar of the user experience so high that customers expect them to be able to perform any kind of trick. So, if a mobile site that only offers basic information on your company and contact details makes absolutely sense, would you download an App that does the same?

Before spending time, money and resources on developing an App, try to find a reason that would make it better than a mobile site. Access to hardware like camera and GPS, offline browsing and gesture interaction are all great things, but only if you can really make them work.

Author: Andrea Agueci

What do you think?