mobilized: An Insider's Guide to the Business and Future of Connected Technology - S.C. Moatti (2016)
Conclusion. It’s Your Turn Now
Now that you have an understanding of the mobile revolution, let’s get to work. How can you make your own mobile product successful?
If you already have a mobile product, test it against the Mobile Formula. The Mobile Formula is “it,” folks. It’s all encompassing. It fits together cohesively.
Remember what we said earlier: what we wish for ourselves as human beings is what we wish for our best mobile products. We want those products to look beautiful, to help us focus on the things that matter to us, and to constantly adapt to our environment. Isn’t that what we want for ourselves, too? An attractive body, a meaningful impact, and a masterful mind? Body, spirit, mind—what else is there?
However, reality is the ultimate truth, and only users decide what works for them. You can only focus on improvement in your product if you can spot the gaps in your product.
Does your product pass the thumb test? Are you using personalization to make your users’ daily lives less stressful? Do you have a systematic way to receive and incorporate feedback into your product? Those and many others are the sorts of questions you need to be asking yourself and your team.
Revisit this book’s Remember and Share sections. They should give you a framework for identifying gaps and areas of improvement.
If you are just getting started building a product, where might you start to transform your business and make it mobile?
To answer this question, I’m going to discuss two case studies: Uber and Sonos.
Uber is the darling of the mobile revolution and one of the leaders of the sharing economy. We’ll see how it has nailed the Mobile Formula.
Sonos, a fabulous music and sound system for the home, doesn’t seem at first like a mobile product. However, the company has transformed its product from a music device into a mobile-first offering. The main reason people buy it is because they can operate it from their smartphones. It makes listening to and discovering new music every day a pleasure.
What about your company? How can you think of it as a mobile-first business? In business, there are no guarantees. Lots of things must go right for a new business to succeed, and building a great mobile product is just one of them.
Let’s run Uber’s design through the Body Rule: beauty. Uber is one of the most beautiful smartphone apps out there. It clearly passes the thumb test: it’s well laid out, and there is no wasted space or overly crowded area. It employs focusing design elements to make using it super simple and easy. When I signed up, the tutorial made it very clear when and why I would find Uber useful. And it only took a couple of taps to enter a destination and order my first car. Uber also uses expanding design elements. For instance, it asked me for permission to use my base location before I finished signing up. Knowing my location is necessary for Uber to personalize my experience. As a result, Uber is completely integrated in its environment. It works everywhere.
The Sonos speakers, too, have a gorgeous design, as does the app that controls the entire system. The first time I started using it, I was in awe. I was sitting on the couch and all my music was right in front of me, on my smartphone. My mother came to visit me soon after that day and played with my Sonos. She loved it so much that she bought one for herself. I’d say Sonos passes the mom test with high marks. It’s beautiful.
We discussed that beauty in mobile comes from efficiency and wow. Is your product efficient? Does it pass the thumb test? Does it wow your users? How does it score on the mom test? Is it easy to operate in any environment? What are the focusing design elements you can use to help your users focus? What about expanding elements? Go back to the examples we discussed in chapter 2 to learn from the successful pioneers what makes well-designed mobile products beautiful.
How does Uber fare with the Spirit Rule—meaning? The best mobile products are with us every day, so they should do what they can to make our lives easier. Uber makes it easier for us to get to the places we need to be. For many people, it’s a lifesaver. They no longer use their car to commute to work. They get to work relaxed and energized. (Remember how stressful it was for me to get a cab on a rainy day?) They feel taken care of. On the way, they even meet new people, drivers or passengers. They join the growing community of ride sharers.
Sonos partners with thousands of radio stations around the world, so I can listen to French radio in just a couple of taps and feel connected with people in my native country. I can also link Sonos to my Pandora account to play my personalized channels on the high-quality speakers without having to get up and walk to my computer. What a treat! Listening to music is now pure pleasure and no stress.
Meaning from mobile comes through personalization and community. Which of the internal filters we discussed would you use to make your users’ experience personalized? What about external filters? What compromises do you need your users to make in order to comply with the social norms of the group? What can you do to make them feel like they belong?
Last, let’s see what’s up with Uber and the Mind Rule: learning. Great mobile products get better with time. The people behind Uber comprise one of the most ambitious teams I’ve ever met. They constantly observe how their users like to use Uber, how their behavior changes from one month (or day) to the next.
Some people may recall that Uber started as a high-end black car service. Then it expanded to offer a taxi service and, soon after, a carpooling service. It started in San Francisco; it’s now operating in dozens of cities. As if this wasn’t enough, Uber realized that people wanted more door-to-door services than just a car pick-up, so it recently started to offer food delivery. It’s hard to find a company that matches Uber’s level of mastery.
Sonos, too, has embraced the Mind Rule and taken to heart the cultural transformation that becoming mobile-first requires. It now operates like a mobile-first company, with a big back office that handles a whole lot of things such as logistics and device manufacturing.
What about your company and the Mind Rule? Regardless of the maturity of your business right now, you continually need to find ways to adapt if you want to survive. Are you rewarding impact and results over effort? Have you implemented iterative processes such as agile methodologies? Maybe you need a growth team to help you keep up with the pace of innovation? Consider the examples and the approaches that work to achieve mastery at scale and at speed.
It goes beyond smartphones and their apps. Mobile products will soon be embedded into our clothes, jewelry, watches, and glasses. Are any of those products on your drafting table? Like Uber’s ridesharing and Sonos’s music system, they’ll still have to observe the Mobile Formula’s three rules to connect with our humanness and be successful.
I have no doubt the mobile revolution will change our lives for the better. Remember what I said at the beginning: this book may seem like a book on technology, but really, it’s a book about humans. Great mobile products replicate and amplify human behavior and interaction.
The Mobile Formula is based on an unyielding attention to humanity as opposed to the machines that serve it. Always remember that.
Have fun. And good luck.