Living in a Mobile Bubble

I’ve been so entrenched in learning the mobile paradigms over the past few months, that I suddenly realized I’m living in a mobile bubble. I have come to the stark realization that most companies don’t get mobile. I don’t think it’s that hard or a long way to go, but I can see it’s not happening yet.

Lunch with my wife yesterday was a perfect example. It was a sub shop (that I love), and they had advertising cubes on the table. I picked one up, and was briefly excited to find a QR Code on the bottom. I immediately thought, “Wow, these guys are addressing mobile!”, until I actually scanned the code. The URL was a link straight to their home page. OK. I followed the link on my phone. The page opens and the main content is one single graphic, but at least the navigation and header are not. If you have a smart phone, you would know that you can’t scroll the page easily by swiping a big graphic, especially when the page/graphic is loading. So to scroll I had to carefully swipe the obligatory right “social media” box to scroll the page to find out there was nothing below the huge picture. The whole experience was disappointing to me. So lets enumerate the mistakes here:

  1. The QR Code
    1. It contained only the link to the home page. Huge opportunity lost. How are they tracking users coming from the code? They are not. No query string parameters, no redirection/click-through.
    2. No reward for scanning the code. Does this company use email promotions? Why yes they do. Did they give me some incentive to scan any of their QR codes again later? Nope.
  2. The web site
    1. The site is not mobile friendly, yet they made an effort to get me there on a mobile device.
    2. The navigation menus on the web site rely on hover. There is no hover in mobile.
    3. Big graphics load really slowly on mobile networks. Abandon the 1990’s, come to the present. One big picture might look good, but it’s not functional. If pretty pictures sell your food, why bother with mobile devices and QR codes?
    4. Of course the site isn’t formatted for mobile devices. It’s a fallacy to think that because it renders OK on the newer mobile browsers, that forcing the user to pinch-zoom to read anything is acceptable.

This brings me back to my bubble. I probably have unrealistic expectations of how companies are using or embracing mobile. The information on how to do this well is out there. Why aren’t companies finding it? Is it that the technical audience knows these things, but the marketing audience does not? Or is the mobile customer base really that small, and the companies just don’t care at this point? I think in this case they must care if they made the effort to put QR codes on their tables. So maybe I’m in a bubble, expecting these things because it’s what I’ve been immersed in for the past few months. Maybe normal mobile users don’t have that expectation. Maybe next year companies will get mobile.

Posted on: 2 Comments

2 Responses

  1. Ray Sutton says:

    Excellent observation David. Some people think that they’ve achieved "mobility" for their website if they do the QR thing… As you point out, this is a very disappointing experience. Developing sites for mobile consumption should become the focus instead of being an after thought as discussed in this post by Tom Milway

  2. Amit says:

    QR code is digital equivalent of calling card..
    and mobile opportunities optimization is about rewarding early adopters who are doing the right thing.. but not yet reached a point where there’s cost to doing wrong thing.. so it’s not just you.. we are ALL in mobile bubble.. once it bursts and rationalization sets in we will see better exploitation..

    There I go again.. hogging the mike :-))

    AND I just realized and am in Facebook+Mobile bubble i.e. you posed this link on google+ on Dec 23rd and I saw it just by chance .. while in the same period.. I find interesting stuff on FB daily 🙂