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Your Mobile Experience Must Be Simple, Regardless of What Country You’re in

Your Mobile Experience Must Be Simple, Regardless of What Country You’re in

According to the GSMA there will be 5.9bn smartphones in circulation by 2020, at which time 69 percent of all mobile connections will be either 3G or 4G. With around 40 percent of all ecommerce transactions already taking place on mobile the implications are clear: to succeed brands must be able to deliver an exceptional mobile experience to their customers.

The key question facing brands is how they can create such enriching mobile experiences. With competitors just a few clicks away and customers more likely to switch brands than ever before, ecommerce and mobile content brands must look to deliver something different; to disrupt and innovate to make their mobile experiences as intuitive as possible for their customers.

From our work with companies spanning high-growth markets around the world one thing has become clear: creating disruptive mobile experiences has the same core principles the world over. That’s not to say there won’t be some regional differences; color is particularly important as meaning varies from country to country (orange, for example, is considered a positive and life affirming color in Asia, whereas in the US it’s associated with warning signs). However, these exceptions notwithstanding, the fundamentals of exceptional mobile design transcend borders.

These fundamentals have at their core the idea of simplicity.

The most disruptive mobile experiences, from Whatsapp to Uber, are also the easiest to use. Such apps quickly and intuitively allow users to complete the task at hand and to understand the purpose and process flow of an app within seconds of loading it for the first time. They are also sticky; providing compelling reasons for customers to keep coming back.

Crucially, the business goals and metrics of the company are completely aligned with the functions of the best app designs. Every part of your app design should be moving the user towards taking a specific action.

Let’s take Uber as an example. Regardless of whether you’re booking a car in Boston or Mumbai, the app is completely consistent and recognizable, with only small differences around coloring.

The same is true for Whatsapp, the world's most popular messaging app. It's ubiquitous across markets and it means that any person can quickly find and message both long term friends and new acquaintances. It's not confusing to find your friends and the value proposition of the app is easy to understand.

It is the same with many of the apps in the Naspers portfolio. As these apps evolve and the focus shifts to key metrics, our companies are moving to simplify. This is particularly true of the core flows in the apps, which have been refined. For example, they make it easier for users to invite friends and use clean, lean design to reduce confusion and increase usage.

Once again we see consistency across markets. Regardless of whether we’re looking at Playkids or iFood in Brazil or Flipkart in India the fundamentals are exactly the same. Simplicity is key to retaining users and getting them to leverage your app on a regular, ongoing basis.

Also an important note for design: storage capacity is increasingly important in the developing world. Many of the best selling phones in developing markets often have limited memory, so if your app isn't delivering immediate value to a user, there's a much higher chance of an immediate uninstall than would happen in more developed markets. Remember this critical lesson: immediately demonstrate the value of your app to the user to keep them engaged and installed. Your app design is critical to accomplish this.

Mobile design is hugely important to e-commerce and content delivery and can prove the difference between success and failure. The good news for businesses is that by sticking rigidly to the concepts of simplicity and designing everything with the needs of the user in mind they will be able to create a compelling experience that works in every global market.

Barron Ernst 
Chief Product Officer, Showmax 

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