Warm Gun: Designing for Mobile Commerce

by Luke Wroblewski November 30, 2012

In his Designing for Mobile Commerce: The Science Behind Moving Targets presentation at the Warm Gun Design conference in San Francisco, CA Sam Shank shared how Hotel Tonight design for the unique attributes of mobile in their travel applications. Here’s my notes from his talk.

  • You can’t buy your way into users for a mobile app like you can on the Web using Google SEM. You have to make users happy. It’s a different approach.
  • How do you make an excellent mobile experience? simple, efficient, merchandised, great support, and entertain.
  • Simple & Focused: get across what you do in 5 words. Not a sentence. 5 words.
  • Efficient task completion: everything is compressed on mobile, make it fast to get things done. Booking a hotel on Hotel Tonight happens in 3 taps and a swipe. This is a competitive advantage.
  • One way to solve the mobile efficiency issue, don’t make people browse around. Given them the best price up front.
  • Simplify & remove: instead of deciding where to put the share control on mobile, Hotel Tonight removed it.
  • Superb merchandising: on-brand, proprietary & mobile optimized. Many people use mobile as an entertainment experience.
  • Great customer support: it’s a marketing expense.
  • Entertain people, don’t just process transactions. Hotel Tonight updates the splash screen with each release. Little details matter and help create brand.
  • Hotel bookings on Hotel Tonight had a .2% accidental booking rate which caused a 4% impact to profits. The company added a new page where people had to enter their initials to book the hotel. Fat-finger complaints dropped to 0.1% but a new problem emerged: a 2% drop rate in conversion. The process felt really bureaucratic like signing a legal document.
  • The team replaced the initials with an “h bed trace” feature. Tracing the company logo to book. This resulted in a 5% improvement to conversion rate and also delighted customers.
  • Apple discourages A/B testing. Get your app to where you are happy with it, then send it over to App Store.