Mobile A/B testing and what retailers can learn from Uber– the latest UI/UX trends in e-commerce

Interview with Randy Osborn of DailyLook

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of mobile computing and the early signs of its future significance. Smartphones and tablets represent a rapidly-increasing share of our online activities. Anyone who sells anything on the Internet must design their shopping experiences from a mobile-first perspective. This is especially true in light of research that shows mobile shoppers spend more than desktop shoppers.

To talk about these new design priorities in the e-commerce world, we interviewed Randy Osborn, product management consultant at DailyLook and formerly head of mobile product at JustFab.

Regarding your product and UX, what’s changed, what’s new, what’s exciting?

I don’t know if this is directly product related, but the ease of A/B testing these days is incredibly important. ‘Always be testing’, I think that’s a huge factor. We use Optimizely at DailyLook, and now they’re starting a new native mobile version. The importance of these SaaS companies that make it easy to go in and test simple things along the way is huge. They make it really easy.

What kind of mistakes do you think people are still making today?

People are still porting everything they have on their desktop version to their mobile version. One specific example is form fields. Form fields on desktop are not nearly as big a pain point as on mobile.

Obviously, mobile is huge. It’s going to overtake desktop, and it already has in some markets. If you have 10 form fields that you require people to fill out, you’re going to lose them. Every form field is a chance for people to jump off (which is also true on desktop, but the numbers aren’t nearly as drastic).

I think a lot of organizations aren’t considering that they need a mobile optimized version of their site. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an app all the time. Product people must take into consideration the viewport, or the medium, that users are consuming through. We see that all the time. I know it costs money to build a mobile-optimized version, but you’re probably losing a lot more money by not creating a good user experience.

What have you seen that you think has been done right recently?

Honestly, Uber. Uber’s onboarding process is super simple. It steps through everything very quickly and easily. It tells you why for each step (‘take your photo so that your driver can recognize you – this helps!’). That sort of handholding is where they’ve done a good job – keeping it super simple, getting the bare bones, and just letting you go. They’ve really removed all of the pain points.

Obviously, you’re getting a user from some marketing channel – word of mouth, Facebook install, etc. When you’re developing your product, how do you think about gaining and keeping user trust so that they actually want to convert and become a customer?

Simplifying the process. I think keeping the brand identity visual [consistent?] throughout is very important. It can be as simple as just keeping a logo on the page.

The other point would be to ramp up your questions. Start with the easiest ones that people want to give up. First name – I’ll give anyone my first name. Email – ok, maybe. Stepping through it so that you’re not saying, ‘hey, give me all of this information right now!’

Going down the pipeline, how do you balance setting conversion points without driving away users?

It’s funny because the balance is you need to get the important information, so a first name alone is not going to help you. Again, this goes back to A/B testing. You can easily test if you just want to get that email right away – that’s how you create an account, and then you can remarket, retarget and all of that later.

Or, and again, it has to be tested, maybe you temper the process with a slow buildup. There’s definitely a fine line and depending on the market, it could go either way.

Aside from what we’ve talked about, do you think there’s something people should be focusing on over the next year? A/B testing and mobile are probably the two bigger ones, but what else is out there in your opinion?

To combine the two, it would be A/B testing on mobile. That’s a very young space, and there are only a handful of companies that are doing it. Also, with flat iOS 7 design, really just keeping the UI super clean. There’s definitely more of a practice these days – especially on mobile – of creating these really fat form fields. You can just punch the screen and know what you’re hitting. Simple design decisions like that just make it very easy to step through.

More on mobile optimization best practices on our blog:

Optimizing content for a superior mobile experience

6 tips for a fast and seamless mobile shopping experience

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