August 25, 2010, 10:47 AM

A good mobile site design starts with knowing the customer

Constructive criticism helps mobile site designers give the visitor a unique experience.

Lead Photo

Danielle Leitch, Executive Vice President, MoreVisibility.com

The key to designing a successful mobile commerce site that draws traffic and generates sales is summed up by MoreVisibility executive vice president Danielle Leitch with a simple phrase: “Give the customers what they want.”

Leitch, who will speak at the Mobile Commerce Forum 2010, Oct. 12-13 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, in a session titled “Live, on-the-spot critiques of mobile site designs and apps”, says visitors and shoppers will react positively to a mobile commerce design that is visually appealing, built to accommodate a wide variety of smartphones and web-enabled handheld devices, and makes the visitor feel like she is having a unique experience.

In this session Leitch will critique the best and worst features of several mobile apps and sites suggested by forum attendees. She will offer constructive criticism and share best practices that show attendees how to design or redesign their own winning mobile site.

“At the end of the day, no matter how a visitor is accessing the mobile site, the design and functionality need to make that shopper feel like the whole thing is personalized,” says Leitch. “You begin the design process by digging deep into your web analytics to see how and with what mobile device customers are accessing the e-commerce site and what pages they find most important.”

In designing a mobile commerce site that will satisfy even the toughest and pickiest shoppers, web retailers should keep the look clean and simple, make prominent such elements as the site search box, deal of the day link and shopping cart, and make the content relevant.

“I can see taking as long to design a good mobile commerce site as it does an entire web redesign,” says Leitch. “Retailers need to see their mobile design as an entirely new way to engage customers on the go.”

Mobile retail sites that click with shoppers should emphasize the merchant’s brand and use the same look and colors as the main e-commerce site. “You want customers to know it’s you,” says Leitch. “You want the design to be intuitive, but not overwhelm the site with too much imagery and functionality that could slow down performance.”

Leitch, who will conduct mobile commerce site critiques based on suggestions and requests from the attendees, says the mobile sites deployed by major banks such as Wachovia Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp. offer retailers some good design best practices to follow. “These sites do a good job of emphasizing the brand, making each visit feel personal and getting consumers where they want to go quickly,” says Leitch.

 Why the editors asked Leitch to speak:

Leitch, who oversees client strategy and operations for MoreVisibility, an interactive marketing and search engine optimization agency, knows web site design from both a consultant’s and retailer’s perspective. Prior to joining MoreVisibility almost six years ago, Leitch led online and offline marketing for two different e-commerce companies, as well as more traditional organizations. As a design expert, she conducted  site critiques during a session at IRCE 2010 in Chicago in June.

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