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April 2009
Customer Interaction “On The Go”
By Kip Cozart

     Web interaction is quickly moving beyond the desktop. Through emerging mobile technologies, today’s Internet is almost always within arm’s reach, always accessible, delivering just-in-time content whenever and wherever it might be needed. The Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Google Android G1 and other wireless devices are dramatically expanding the reach of online communications, and savvy businesses are taking note.

     To get started, consider constructing a single “micro page,” perhaps specifically designed to serve the fast growing Apple iPhone audience. A micro page could encapsulate your customers’ most immediate and common communication activities. Think “MOBILE.”

     Consider how your customers will initially utilize your mobile micro page. Web-enabled mobile phones serve as constant travel companions, providing instant just-in-time access to information on an as-needed basis. Since the viewer is in transit, micro page interaction tends to be in brief bite-size bursts, requiring abbreviated keystroke data entry by the visitor and other time-saving short cuts.

     Take advantage of the unique features within the Web phone itself. Utilize the device’s built-in GPS capability to present convenient maps and directions that lead from the user’s current location. Post a “call now” button within the micro page that will automatically dial the user’s phone and quickly connect the call to your office. Offer onscreen live chat as an alternative method of communication for the visitor. Provide a preset “buy now” button that allows established customers to more quickly place product or service orders directly over the Web phone, without the need to reenter payment and delivery information that may already be on file. Add an option to “e-mail a copy of this page,” so that the viewer may retain your content for future reference when later returning to the desktop. Include an image upload tool or designated e-mail forwarding address so that customers may send you a descriptive photo snapshot taken with phone’s the built-in camera.

     Design considerations for your mobile Web site. Keep it simple, displaying information to be read with just a quick glance. Remember that content will be presented on a very small screen, so brevity is essential. List topics vertically, one item per line, presenting the most important content and links  at the top of the screen. Limit image sizes to not larger than 60 x 120 pixels. Avoid use of Adobe Flash (Apple iPhone’s Safari browser does not support it) as well as cookies, frames, tables and other common page formatting techniques.

     Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company. Contact him at 704-543-1171. For additional information on iPhone micro page design tips and sample programming code, visit www.ccommunications.com/bizXperts.

Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company.
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