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How can mobile strategy create better digital experiences?

Mobile experiences are poised to become increasingly personalized and interactive, but that requires sound information architecture on the back end.

Web users have migrated en masse to mobile and, in many ways, Web content management is playing catch-up with the evolving demands of users on the go.

Traditional Web environments focus on publishing content that users can find, but that approach doesn't always translate to smaller, mobile screens in the hands of active users. Increasingly, mobile strategy is focused on integrating different data streams to provide timely information that helps users accomplish specific tasks, but that often requires revisiting Web content management from the ground up. What factors should Web content managers consider when it comes to making mobile experiences more interactive?

The central challenge facing Web publishers is making the transformation from Web experiences to digital experiences. This is a big problem, because we're now faced with multiple channels and multiple delivery environments. The main issue is finding the best way to exploit this digital environment with mobile content that's smart, flexible and comes from some kind of back-end environment.

First of all, it's not just about shrinking existing apps or making them responsive. It's certainly an important first step, but responsive Web design is predicated on a full screen experience and does not really exploit the full capabilities and flexibility that come from a mobile experience.

A good example of a mobile strategy that takes experiences to the next is step is weather apps. With a weather app, you don't need to tell it your location. Instead you expect it to automatically give you the local weather first. Weather apps are doing that right now, but you don't see that happening with local search, local news or even local e-commerce, so that's a challenge.

The second part is trying to design for mobile first and we're just now working through what that means. A lot of conversations here are based around the realization that there are certain things we can gather from a mobile environment -- such as location when we want a taxi -- that can influence that whole experience. The challenge for businesses is to envision what their particular mobile environment will be like, what information they'll want to push to users and how to build that experience.

For the people investing in Web content management, I think it points at the importance of having a well-understood and well-documented information architecture, so you can be ready for the incredible amount of integration and access to content that these mobile-first experiences are going to require. Every mobile-first experience is going to be building on a very rich and contextually sensitive back end, so it's time to get your back end in order and really prepare for the future.

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