A little while ago I was lucky enough to attend my first, but hopefully not last, Mozfest. I didn’t entirely know what to expect apart from lots of ‘open web’ information and ideas. The timetable wasn’t released until the day before and it was live updated through the entire weekend. It was a great mix of structured and unconference.
Quite a bit of my time was spent working with a team assembled on the first day on a project to simplify mobile giving. I won’t describe the final output as there’s a great blog post about Pass the App here. What I wanted to share is the striking difference it made by considering the problem from a platform perspective.
Thinking from a platform perspective really focuses you on the purpose and key features you need. A platform isn’t (primarily) a perfectly designed end consumer product in itself – it’s a tool that others can use to build their own version of something. This gives you an objectivity that quite often gets lost in projects where you’re building the finished public facing website or app.
I found focusing on empowering others through a platform is hugely empowering in itself!
As an aside: I also spoke to SourceFabric about why I was at Mozfest from UNICEF UK. Excuse the Ummms.
Yes – smart glasses are what many are talking about. They may still be a little bit glitchy and gimmicky but Pebble has already shown our appetite for wearable screens.
However that’s not where big change is expected next year. We still have far to go to understand and apply the full potential of mobile with cloud tech.
That’s why it’s so exciting …
My storify summary from Guardian Activate can be found here.
I was one of the keynote speakers at Media Trust’s Go Mobile conference this week, a few people have asked for my slides and notes so here they are…
Mobile is here
You have to think mobile for all of the experiences you are designing. It’s not going away and it’s not ‘on the horizon’, its well and truly here.
But it’s still evolving
Mobile compatibility is still not entirely standardised, it’s a bit like the www in the 90′s. Adoption of different devices is also changing rapidly. For example, in just the last year the UNICEF UK website has seen a big growth in iPad that has caught it up with iPhones, we also saw Google Nexus 7 appear as well as others.
Case: UNICEF UK Mobile Website
To make sure we had a mobile compatible site as quickly as possible we launched an interim mobile website of just a few key pages and the donation funnel. We’re working on optimising the whole of the site. To keep costs lower and give us increased technology flexibility we’re using separate ‘layers of tech’ to do the transformation rather than having a fully responsive site (for now).
Case: UNICEF Sweden website
Our UNICEF Sweden office, on the other hand, have created a fully responsive website. They were on the brink of a full website rebuild so it made sense to invest now and go ‘mobile first’. The site is designed for smartphones first and PC desktops last. They had to make some hard decisions on how to streamline content.
Forget about ‘mobile’
It’s easy to get obsessed about mobile devices, really what this change means is a change of behaviours. Remember behaviour first when you are designing user experiences. People are now using multiple devices, we don’t live in single screen households.
Time of day
This graph demonstrates a clear difference in behaviour that mobile has created. UNICEF UK non-mobile traffic peaks during working hours while traffic from mobile devices is consistent throughout the day, even into the early hours. This pattern is important when you think about how people are interacting with your brand.
Case: UNICEF UK Speak Up for Children
I’ve learnt the behaviour lesson. We (with an amazing group of partners) did a brilliant mobile campaign called Speak Up for Children, it was a great success in the end, but we failed at first. The original concept was to create the biggest voice petition in the world. It seemed to make sense that a mobile campaign should use the voice feature of your mobile phone.
We quickly learned that very few people wanted to interact this way, it was just a bit too intrusive / embarrassing. So we paused the campaign and replaced the petition with a simple email address entry field.
Case: Syria Emergency
We also know that SMS giving is really effective. It enables the immediate emotional response of a supporter who wants to help, it also gets funds for emergencies quickly. We even include the SMS giving number in search adword campaigns. You should be prepared for SMS giving no matter what charity you are.
Apps are hard
Finding a concept that works as an app is hard. UNICEF offices around the world have tried and success has been limited. You need an app that fits with an individual’s life, if you wouldn’t download it – don’t build it.
Email is important
Increasingly, email is consumed on mobile. If you have an email marketing programme or email newsletter it should be compatible with mobile now. Even if you have to create plain text emails, it’s better than emails that don’t work on a mobile.
It can be easy (sort of)
If you have very limited resources it can be very difficult to go mobile. But there are lots of platforms which are now mobile compatible which you could design your experience around. For example; using twitter, facebook and justgiving could give you a campaign experience which is mobile compatible without you needing to convert your own website for a bit longer.
And that was it!
15 mins really isn’t very long to talk about mobile. I didn’t even touch on UNICEF use of mobile in the field, there’s a bit about that in this innovation presentation.
This week I was one of a few charity and digital industry types at a roundtable discussion on the future of giving technology hosted by the Guardian. It’ll be written up by the Guardian as an article in mid-May but while my memory is still fresh I wanted to capture a few of my personal take-outs.
- Technology adoption by charities:
- Charities are behind the curve in contrast to commercial, partly due to expense of adopting the new while its less consumerised and partly because the technology expertise is missing in many charities.
- There’s also the technology industry view that the charity sector doesn’t have a strong business case for investment (see previous post by me on Spring-giving).
- Innovation in charity sector:
- Some interesting models exist but often innovation comes from the ground up, but only where those ground staff are empowered to express their ideas.
- In smaller charities the silos that stifle innovation don’t exist (mostly).
- Giving trends:
- There’s a question over whether digital channels are fund-catching Vs fundraising.
- No charity wants to swap a channel which has a higher average gift for one with a lower average gift so sometimes a more convenient channel is a less effective one for the charity.
- We need to separate the process from the reason, people don’t give because you have an SMS number they give because of the cause and key messages.
- Some insights from experiences shared:
- SMS giving has meant a lower average gift for certain charities, choosing ‘slumps’ as focus point for using SMS calls to action is a good mitigation.
- Unexpected ‘social media’ response as seen with the tragic case of Claire Squires mostly demonstrate that giving is easier than it was before. They pose speed of response and decision-making challenges.
Notes from Brand Republic event 17 April 2012