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Applying Customized Mobile Design and Development Strategies

Ross Higgins, Senior Director, UX & Design, Newegg
Ross Higgins, Senior Director, UX & Design, Newegg

Ross Higgins, Senior Director, UX & Design, Newegg

In my role at Newegg, I oversee design of our mobile and desktop platforms. This requires me to examine the customer experience from all angles. Customer shopping behavior is dynamic, and we’re always looking for ways to remove friction from the experience, and make it as effortless as possible for customers to research products and make purchases.

First and foremost, our mobile design team doesn’t work in a vacuum. Mobile designers work hand in hand with desktop designers to ensure a consistent shopping experience, regardless of the platform.

Among our customers, a majority prefer the desktop shopping experience. Purchasing technology products online almost always involves a good deal of research and product comparison – something that’s much easier to do on a laptop or desktop computer with a full-sized monitor.

When customers are signed in to their Newegg accounts, we are able to sync their shopping carts across all platforms. This is important, as we find that customers often utilize multiple platforms. They typically conduct rigorous research on desktop – comparing features and specs side-by-side – before finally deciding which products to place in their cart. If a purchase isn’t made on the spot, the customer may come back at a later time or date – often on their mobile devices – to complete the purchase. In this case, it’s a great convenience for customers to place items into their cart using their desktop computer and not have to start all over if they transition to their mobile device to finalize the purchase.

Developing on multiple platforms requires tough choices about how to deploy engineering resources. The traditional question is whether to develop natively for Android, iOS, mobile and desktop, or to build a responsive website that adapts the customer’s experience based on the device being used. Developing one codebase that automatically supports both a desktop and mobile experience comes with tradeoffs that negatively impact the customer experience, and for this reason we built our app, mobile browser and desktop browser experiences separately. The up-front investment of this approach pays dividends in the long run, as we’re able to deliver a shopping experience that’s perfected for each platform.

That said, we are always looking for ways to streamline the dev process. For example, last year we moved our mobile development to a framework called React Native, which enables the team to “modularize” chunks of content at a time, while later rendering natively to the various platforms. We tested this approach initially in select countries with great results, and we will be replicating this new workflow in other global regions in the near future.

Finally, I’d like to stress the importance of listening to users to understand where they spend their time. At Newegg we have a keen understanding of where our customers are at various points within the purchasing journey. But customer behavior varies depending on the market segment. Different businesses require different approaches, and you’ll only be successful when applying a mobile design and development strategy that suits your business and reaches your customers most effectively.

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