Will Mobile App Design Change eCommerce Website Design?

As mobile web usage grows so fast, and by nature is something that users use many times per day and get accustomed to – it can be an initial nuisance to come back to your home PC and find you can’t just click on the screen! That you need to grab the mouse – and that some of the buttons and links are a bit fiddly to click on.

The iPad and Android tablets mean that we become familiar with mouse-less usage on larger and larger screens.

Maybe there are some innovative eCommerce players, who are already redesigning their main website, so that it looks more like a mobile website or app.

A lot of eCommerce websites struggle to make their Check-Out process sufficiently focused, that users follow the process right through to completing their order, without being distracted by the rest of the site and menus.

The focus of a mobile app to Check -Out, facilitates the ‘Funnel’ approach to focus users.

Maybe eCommerce sites will respond when the user clicks on the CheckOut button, by shifting to a mobile-like interface, to facilitate that funnelling. Maybe other parts of the site will also do the same – maybe the Sign-IN and Check my order function. Maybe the goods return process.  Mobile user journeys could influence wider web user journey design.

Those new mobile-like areas could be equipped with big buttons, and maximum simplicity and be comfortable and trusted to users as it mimics the mobile interface they carry in the pocket all day

But before we get too excited there is a big caveat hanging over the rush to redesign everything to look and behave like and app. Over 300 000 apps have been developed in the past 3 years, and apps have been downloaded 10.9 billion times – but one in 4 apps is downloaded and never used again and demand is expected to peak in 2013.

The form must fit the function – and apps are not the solution to everything. Currently in Japan (the country with the most advanced mobile use) 54% use apps, 36% in the US and 28% in Europe. Most developed nations use a mixture of mobile browser and apps, only a minority use apps exclusively.

Even in developed nations (where smartphone penetration is higher), more people use mobile Web than mobile apps. Very few use either mobile apps or mobile Web exclusively. Only 6 percent of app users in the US and 7 percent in Europe don’t use their browser. While 8 percent of browser users in the US and Europe don’t use apps.

The lesson of the Internet – is that when technology standards are available, it allows much faster adoption: so building new mobile sites once-for-all on HTML5 is a huge advantage compared to going the App route where you need to develop for one purpose 2 or 3 different Apps to cater for the differing handset platforms such a waste of tech resources.

The mCommerce world is still relatively young and it will be an interesting journey for all of us to see where we are in a year’s time.