Mobile engagement seminar – Charity Comms

A summary of Charity Comms’ Mobile Engagement seminar, 23 March 2016. I attended via Periscope, and share a few observations on this experience at the end.

In August 2015, OFCOM announced that smartphones are now the most used internet device
“Mobile is not the future – mobile is happening now”

“Where are they now? Probably not in front of a computer…” – Tim O’Donnell, operations director, Precedent

Mobile isn’t just about access to the internet – it’s about location services, and functionality like sending text messages.

“It’s not your sector that sets the benchmark.”

Rising expectations are set by the best experiences. e.g. people pay for coffee or the tube using their phone, so they expect donating or signing up for a fundraising event to be similarly easy or they’ll just leave. (I think there’s also a potential for competitive advantage if you do a better job than other organisations in adopting.)

Mobile is different as a channel and a technology to desktop. People think about, and use it, differently.
Use is often more casual, time poor, and relaxed. Perhaps copy needs to be custom-written for mobile, to be shorter and snappier.

Thinking with your thumbs – catering for your users on the move – Chloe Bryan-Brown, web manager, Coram

Coram’s mobile strategy covers

  1. Design (have clear call-to-action boxes; make forms as easy as possible to complete)
  2. Content (make your content easy to scan. Chunk it.)
  3. User journeys

SafetyNets – innovative support for sex workers via smartphones – Matt Haworth, co-founder, Reason Digital and Hannah Shephard-Lewis, safety outreach digital lead, National Ugly Mugs

Reason Digital worked with National Ugly Mugs to create a decentralised, real-time, location-based information sharing system that sex workers can use to share ‘dodgy punter’ information with other app users nearby. This avoids an organisational bottleneck. People can contact the police if they choose, but they are in control.

A good example of the usefulness of user testing in generating insights that a design team would probably never think of: one user remarked that as the background was white, it would illuminate her face. This would mean that she wouldn’t use the app. So they knew that they had to change the background colour to black, so that use was more discreet.

The Big Pathwatch – crowdsourced data gathering – Daniel Brett-Schneider, head of engagement and Eleanor Bullimore, engagement manager, Ramblers

The Ramblers built an app to generate information on the accessibility and state of repair of the country’s path networks.

Lessons learned building the app:

  1. Give yourself lots of testing time. The app was set to launch on Monday, but limited testing time meant that it wasn’t ready in the app store when they left the office on Friday night.
  2. Check that registration is easy-to-use and that it doesn’t have problems
  3. Location services were faulty

The user base was a challenge:

  • Fewer than 50% of app users were already members of Ramblers. This wasn’t expected. (I wasn’t sure if they’d planned to convert this new audience into members.)
  • Existing members of Ramblers weren’t keen on the app. Most didn’t have smartphones, and often weren’t sold on the idea. I wonder how early on in the project this was known.

Favourite jargon for the day: “onward supporter journey development”.

Attending via Periscope

This was my first periscope event. Here’s what I thought:

  • At the start of the event, there were around 15 people. By the end, there were about 10 people.
  • We lost connection for a few minutes a few times during the afternoon event. Everyone seemed to be re-invited, though, so most stayed in the broadcast.
  • The picture quality was a little grainy, so text on slides had to be large to be legible. Audio quality was quite good.
  • You could share messages with other people watching the periscope broadcast, but they disappeared after a second.
  • There wasn’t really a back-channel, like you’d have on twitter. I was on twitter at the same time and there was more engagement there.
  • Charity Comms did a good job resourcing the periscope feed, reinviting people when there were connection troubles, and scanning for questions to be asked during the in-person question-and-answer sessions. If you are thinking of hosting a periscope session, I’d recommend having someone dedicated to inviting people and handling the logistics.