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Skava CEO says user experience beats technology with mobile Web design

NEW YORK ? A Skava executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2014 said that marketers are paying too much attention to which type of technology to use when building a mobile site instead of focusing on figuring out the best user experience.

During the sponsored lunch keynote session, ?Pros and Cons of Responsive Design: What Retailers and Brands Need to Know? session, the Skava executive spoke about the steps that brands must take to build a mobile site. The executive also questioned the belief that mobile cannot be used for conversions as more consumers buy from smartphones and tablets.

?[Responsive design?s] value as a tool has been blown out of proportion,? said Arish Ali, CEO/cofounder of Skava, San Francisco.

?With this paradigm shift, it is imperative that you take the right priorities,? he said. ?That radical change in user expectation makes it very important that you think about these new user experiences.?

Driving mobile conversions
According to Mr. Ali, the ultimate goal for brands on mobile is all about conversion.

This is significantly different from the school of thought that mobile is used primarily for engagement.

The key is to figure out how to best understand what a consumer wants to do in mobile and design an experience that matches the same needs.

Customer insight should inform the design of the interface, and the interface should inform the design of the underlying system. While this may sound logical, it is contrary to the approach most system integrators follow ? designing the interface at the end of the process as if it were just icing on the cake.

Investing in mobile
According to Mr. Ali, one of the primary reasons that mobile has not taken off to the same degree that some expect is because marketers have tried to retrofit Web models onto smartphones and tablets.

Mobile users demand experiences that are more engaging than desktop customers, but are constrained by limited screen surface, time and capabilities. Marketers must compensate for these limitations with functionality that creates a compelling mobile environment that will engage and convert users.

Businesses must do more than simply have a mobile touchpoint. Mobile should be considered a long-term strategy, and an optimized experience is an investment as mobile becomes critical to overall brand strategies.

Mobile devices provide a new opportunity for companies to engage in an ongoing dialogue with consumers and for consumers to build new relationships with a brand.

In the past, the most popular solution was to create two versions of a website, for both the main desktop and mobile platforms. While this was an acceptable temporary solution, there are many shortcomings that come with having two versions of a Web site. The biggest is that you have to design and develop viewing experiences while maintaining one unifying look and feel.

From a marketing perspective, a company?s brand must have a consistent look and feel. Users who visit a Web site on a phone, tablet or desktop computer should be able recognize said brand, know what to expect, and easily find what they are searching for.

The idea is that user experience trumps deciding which type of technology that marketers choose to use.

?If you think about the user experience and get them to the point quickly, they will convert, and they will buy,? Mr. Ali said.

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York