We've all heard the numbers. 54% of us check our smartphones when in bed. Our phones are within arm’s reach for 95% of the day. We check our smartphones on average close to 100 times a day (I'm personally contributing to that number).
They all add up to one thing: our mobile phones are our constant companions. We refer to them continuously, and for many of us they have become a personal assistant. They help us make decisions every hour of the day. One survey recently suggested that 80% of purchases are influenced by the mobile channel. And that’s what makes user experience - and a/b testing - so vital on mobile.
The Importance Of Impulse
If there’s one lesson to be learned from all that data, it’s that on mobile, impulse matters. Mobile supports impulse purchases, and it does it fantastically well. And of course it’s not just about money changing hands - it’s about anything you want it to be. If you produce a pure entertainment of lifestyle app, the only impulse you might need to accommodate is a desire for fun - and that’s okay.
But there’s one thing that kills impulse purchases - and that’s poor user experience. If a friend mentions a book and I rush to a retail app to order a copy, poor user experience stands a good chance of stopping that happening (that’s one reason why Amazon invested so much in their one click ordering process). And this is specifically a mobile issue. If I was buying a new car, it’s unlikely that poor user experience would stop me in my tracks. Although it wouldn't help, I'd be likely to find a way around it. That just isn’t the case for many mobile purchases. We can take them, or leave them. And as a mobile business - you cannot let that happen.
So if your mobile business relies on meeting user needs right there and then, you need great user experience, and you need A/B testing.
Why A/B Testing?
Simple really - when it comes to identifying and resolving issues in common workflows (like purchases), nothing succeeds like A/B testing. There are other elements to the process of course. You should use mobile analytics to take a good look at where exactly issues occur, and who they affect - funnel analysis can be helpful in this instance. You can and should watch real users in your app and let them tell you what makes sense and what does not.
But there’s no substitute to using real user data to support decision making. Without real data, it is just too tempting to end up listening to the dreaded ‘HiPPO’ - the highest paid person’s opinion - and making decisions on that basis.
When user experience has to be perfect - like it does on mobile - you need to be A/B testing. Starting with the most common screens and workflows, you need to build alternative experiences and identify which ones work. No more guessing!