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Mobile computing has come a long way, but there is still so much more potential for the industry. That was the topic of discussion in the most recent CXO Talk, led by Michael Krigsman and sponsored by Helpshift. Krigsman was joined by NYU Professor Anindya Ghose and Microsoft Partner Director of Engineering, Kevin Henrikson. Henrikson’s team has been using Helpshift for years, and today he leads Helpshift’s integration with Microsoft products like Outlook for Mobile. Watch the full video or read below for key insights from the talk.

1. Mobile Is Big In The US, But Perhaps More Definitively Dominant Elsewhere

The mobile space is huge in the US, but countries like China and India are arguably even more reliant on mobile technology. That’s because personal computers never became as common of a household item in these countries, thus never developing massive market share. However, mobile devices are much more accessible and affordable to the vast spectrum of different socioeconomic populations. In the US, people have had to transition from PC to mobile and are still in the process of doing so. But for countries that didn’t have as high of an adoption rate of PCs, there’s not as much of a macro-level transition period. Just a lot of love for mobile.

2. Cultural Norms Matter For Mobile

Also for countries where PC’s have not been as historically prevalent, neither has email marketing. Companies have taken marketing straight to smartphones in places like India and China, and bombard mobile users with notifications somewhat similar to how direct mail marketing is used in the US. Those international users may be accustomed to an influx of notifications, whereas American users are not. Businesses therefore have to take cultural differences like this into consideration when figuring out a mobile strategy.

3. Mobile Experience Should Be Smarter

Mobile apps are able to collect context about their users and users’ data. This can be very helpful for the user experience, as shown by Microsoft Outlook for mobile. When users need to attach a document or image, they might otherwise need to find it in their phone, download it, reupload it, and maintain a high-speed, steady internet connection in order to do so successfully. That can be challenging. But because of the way Outlook is setup, it allows users to seamlessly include suggested attachments based on context that has been collected by the app. This makes the user experience far more convenient and enjoyable.

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4. The ‘Lazy Factor’ Should Not Be Ignored

Users today are always on the hunt for the most frictionless option. Henrikson calls this the ‘lazy factor’ and highlights its importance for improving retention rates. All the marketing dollars and corresponding app downloads in the world don’t mean anything unless the users continue to return to the app. Improving the app experience makes the initial user acquisition investment a sustainable one.

5. Apps Should Be Adaptable

There are different types of users, and it’s important to accommodate those who don’t use the app the same way that the creator envisions. Think of friends and colleagues who have thousands of unread emails versus the ‘inbox zeros’ of the world. These user groups use email in different ways (ie. with folders and different organizational tools) and it’s important for apps to be mindful of different user habits.

6. Different Types Of Apps Should Have Different Objectives

It’s not just the users who are different. Social apps like Facebook want users to stay in the app as long as possible for additional ad revenue and such, as opposed to productivity apps that need to prioritize efficiency in order to retain a loyal user base. For the latter, prioritizing ‘one tap’ options, like being one click away from help, is a great tool to have. Creating a frictionless user experience with support, for instance, makes productivity apps more standout in the user’s mind because they are doing what they are supposed to: saving users’ time and energy. Social apps on the other hand have different motives, and therefore different priorities.

7. Apps Should Strive to Be Butlers, Not Stalkers

Software Development Kits are often able to collect user, app, and device data. This allows companies to be extremely helpful and efficient when working with their users. For example, this data provides for quick diagnostics and troubleshooting, allowing a lot of problems to be solved effortlessly. But it’s a fine line—it’s important not to abuse this information and make users feel like their privacy is being invaded: like they are being ‘stalked’.

Published August 16, 2017
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