Today’s phones enable people to do most of the things they used to use computers for. It’s therefore worth considering how this affects communication.
Here are 5 issues to bear in mind when communicating with smartphones.
- Quick Response (QR) codes. Black and white boxes which when scanned by a mobile phone camera take the user to a weblink. Flourishing, because of the take up of internet-enabled phones. Do consider using them on your print items to provide an instant connection to your website. Watch out for them on the high street – Waitrose and Marks & Spencers are using them on marketing material.
- Two thumb typing = soundbytes. Get used to receivingemails such as this one from a client: ‘Hi gILl, I belive tyo learners shuld be mentnd in pack, CU L8r @ meeting’. The keyboard on a smartphone makes for two thumb typing, and lends itself to abbreviations and Twitter-speak and the use of soundbytes to communicate. Make allowances. Assume the sender is out-and-about rather than (as I did) that their computer’s been hijacked by a small child.
- Let the moment pass. Without a large screen separating you from your clients it can feel more intimate and less formal. With a phone you can easily respond. Who hasn’t had an email from someone late at night clearly the worse for wear? Ok, only me then…By the time you open up a laptop the moment may have passed.
- Teeny tiny website. Small screens continue to limit the usefulness of smartphones. And you’re losing customers if your website doesn’t display well on a mobile device such as a smartphone. Worth considering when designing websites.
- Don’t expect attachments to be opened. Or read. Bear in mind that one major weakness is not being able to see an email attachment easily.If dealing with a time sensitive issue it’s better by email to a computer. I know this from bitter experience. Proofs were circulated for approval as an email attachment. The print deadline was missed because a smartphone user couldn’t see the attachments and was commenting blind. She assumed we knew. We didn’t. A basic communication failure.
The general rule to remember is this. Smartphone users tend to be consumers of content not generators – smartphones are mainly used for surfing the web, checking contact address books details or social networking sites but not for working on documents (which includes reviewing them! see point 4).