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Archive for December 2011

How To… Get A Big Company To Listen

Have a malfunctioning gift? Can’t understand the instruction sheet? Frustrated by voice mail hell? Here are some tricks for rising above the noise and being heard.

Webchat – Customer service is normally available by phone or email. Some companies offer web chat/ instant messaging. The support reps that manage web chat are typically better trained (or at least speak better English) and usually work harder to please you. I have had great success in this area.

Facebook – Sharing your pain on Facebook can garner a response directly from a panicked VP (they hate negative press). At worst, one of your loyal followers may have a similar issue and already have a resolution for you.

Twitter – Sure, 140 characters does’t leave much room for griping… But if you direct your wrath at the right @account or use a clever, yet clear #hashtag – you’ll be off an running in no time. You may have to search for @account or see if others are experiencing #hashtag as well. Tenacity may pay off if you just stay with it.

YouTube – Turning your frustration into art may pay off. It certainly did for country singer Dale Watson, who after four months of complaining to Tiger Airways about lost luggage, posted a video. He soon landed a $2,000 reimbursement.

While these may or may not help you – you might just have some fun and meet some new friends with chasing down a resolution. It sure beats standing in a boring customer service line.


The Mobile Web Is Coming

Or… It’s Already Here

The mobile web is literally exploding in growth. It is common knowledge that there are more mobile devices that connect to the web, than there are desktop computers. Devices, such smartphones, iPads and iPod touches and other tablets are built with web-enabled browsers that promise and now deliver anywhere-connectivity.

The approach to accessing the web on smaller devices should be handled differently, mainly because there is a lot less real estate on the smaller screen. The websites that deliver content for the mobile web are designed very differently and the content is also delivered differently.

The key to enhancing the experience on the mobile web is simplicity. Information should be easy to access, and in this instance, less, may actually mean more.

There are tools available that convert current websites to mobile format, but it should be realized that access and options will be limited.

The type of searches entered will most like be restricted to much shorter terms, perhaps one word in many cases. Because of the smaller screen, no large keyboard, and no real mouse, navigation is minimal. Navigation could further be encouraged by included drop-down menus that actually present concrete choices, instead of asking the user what their preference is.

Large images should be avoided, and pages may consist primarily of text.

The sites that may work best, would give users lots of easy options and could include easily deliverable content, such as news that was designed specifically for mobile, sports, weather, email, instant messaging and photos.

The technology is improved to the point where it becomes viable to stream videos , movies along with television shows on mobile web, and websites designed with minimalist view, should be able to accommodate them. The services that are to accommodated would be accessed quickly and easily, at anytime and anywhere, so the mobile website design should be concentrated on receiving information, applications and services, when you are away from your computer

The system should emphasize the push data aspect, and should be able to offer amenities and include accessing condensed bits of smaller bites content and services.

Mobile websites can be used as a gateway to access points on larger websites, where small bits of data can be downloaded, giving users access to information that would normally require desktop access.

Offices are going mobile as are some retailers, but it remains impractical install a complete eCommerce website on the mobile web.

One option that retailers can use is to send discount shopping coupons or promotions to customers when they need them the most.

Another very useful option that can be included in designing mobile websites is the use of widgets. These can be specifically designed to give the web-like experience on the mobile phones without having to launch a mobile browser. They could offer the same convenience while consuming very little and much valued real estate.

Mobile web applications can provide a full rich range of content and features, but care must exercised in resisting the temptation to express creativity and provide what may be considered as unnecessary. The capability to do much more on the mobile web will most likely influence the design in the future.

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