To kill, or not to kill the hamburger, that is the question

I like to eat hamburgers and even turkey burgers. But we’re not talking about burgers that would make Jules Winnfield salivate. We’re talking app and mobile web experiences that have become the virtual junk drawer.

Thanks to Luis Abreu the conversation about the value of the hamburger has kicked up again. I don’t want to rehash what Luis has written. But in summary Luis suggests that the hamburger has become the place to stick all of the leftover stuff that couldn’t fit elsewhere.  Once you have relegated a feature to that area you run a significant risk of your users never finding it.

Many “big brands” consider themselves excluded from the discussion. Why? Take a look at the examples used by Luis? Facebook, Twitter or IRC chat are not going to be a strong sell to a Fortune 1000 company. The notion at those organization many times is that “we’re different” or “that might work for them but we have many more products/services”.

What to do then? How can a large corporate entity that isn’t a tech giant in social make sense of the UX pattern? How can consensus be built to avoid this pattern? Is this another blog post talking about a bunch of stuff that doesn’t apply to a corporate gig?

Stakeholders need to be reminded that mobile web/apps should not be treated like a website. Our websites have grown heavy with bloated keyword rich content, ‘sexy’ imagery, features and functionality that attempt to capture a long tail user. Repeatedly reminding stakeholders that mobile is a tiny screen where customers will view content in 60 seconds or less is going to be crucial in building a great mobile experience.

Companies may need to break the “concept” into different applications. This may sound like blasphemy, but it’s not unusual. Chances are you do it on the web already. Microsites are used all the time. But is anyone other than Facebook or Foursquare breaking up their apps? Yes!

There are 15 apps available for iPhone. They have made 7 of those apps available on the iPad as well as one iPad only app. That means ESPN, the “World Wide Leader In Sports” has 16 applications on iOS alone. Of these only three and a half use the hamburger menu. Couldn’t they just combine these into a “mega app”? Maybe but is anyone else doing this?

Ford has 16 apps available on iPhone and 9 of those work on iPad. They also made 8 iPad only applications. You might be able to argue that two of these apps have a hamburger menu. These two apps to have the icon, but it is presented in a different way than the typical location in the top left corner.

Others Examples
Rolex (4 apps, no burgers)
Amazon (15 apps, 4 burgers)
AT&T (40 apps, a few burgers)
Coca-Cola (40 apps, a few burgers)

In short, do not let the “hamburger menu” be the cure for all of your ills. There are ways around using this approach. Other large companies are doing it and so can you. If your direct competitors are lagging behind, champion a user centered approach that fits you user approach.

Next time we’ll explore some Pros and Cons to this approach and try to make some more sense for killing the hamburger menu. Sure it may be much easier to include a junk drawer to pacify stakeholders, but what about your users? Do you want to give them an easy experience that they keeps them coming back? Or do you make it a hassle that they despise?

Going Beyond Basic Push

Notes from Bottle Rocket Apps 2013 Client Summit (unedited)

Going beyond basic push by @ekrobi

  • 4B notifications/month
  • 1B active installs
  • 65K active developers
  • Personalization is key and inherent as part of the application and device experience
  • Average lifespan of an app is 1 month
  • Enhance your customers lives
    • Walgreens example of using camera to register prescription and remind people
  • Winning strategies
    • broadcast notifications
      • every user simultaneously
      • ex: update app, breaking news, sports scores
    • segmentation and targeting
      • Right person, right time, right message
      • preference center to tell what type of alerts
        • SoundTracking (email or push)
        • Rou la La (how far in advance? sound?)
        • Discovery News (top, earth, space, etc.)
        • 106 & Park
        • CoffeeTable asks users what they care about and delivers to users that want it
      • in app behaviors, define key actions, in the funnel
    • personalization
      • Deliver every user a message that speaks directly to them
        • airbnb – communication between the owner and customers
    • geo-targetting
      • Know where your customers live, work and play
        • where they are, where they’ve been
        • London 10M location pushes sent, 60% opt-in, 10X higher response rate
        • ABC News district segments, relevant and timely data
    • rich push
      • Message center inside the app
        • Onavo – 30% increase in social share
        • drive landing page content
        • 2-Bitbub companion to ParaNorman
        • Starbucks with music and information
  • Mobile relationship management best practices
    • Push is marketing – Rue lala
    • Mobile everywhere – adoption, sharing, opt-in
    • Measure & Optimize for your goals
    • Interruption better be good
    • Mobile is still emerging
      • 2013 predictions
        • Mobile in everyday life
        • big data convert to actionable data
        • mobile payment/commerce
        • privacy – you’re collecting data use it smartly
        • tablet/smartphone separation what do you do different

Action-Oriented Analytics

Notes from Bottle Rocket Apps 2013 Client Summit (unedited)

Action-Oriented Analytics

  • Outlook 2013
    • 2.6B events per day
    • 1.3B smartphone/tablet devices (estimate)
    • 2-5 Billions potential smart device owners
    • Upside, is dropping prices, replacement for computers
    • China is the largest smart device users in the world as of Feb
    • Media, shopping and productivity are increasing at an increased rate
    • Loyalty by app category
      • travel low frequency and 45% retention over 90 days
    • Tablet vs. Phone
      • Phone are good for in/out, tablet is leaning back to consume
    • Apps use about 120 minutes per day
    • App usage during Super Bowl
  • Measure your audience & pinpoint the actions that matter
    • Starts by tracking events
    • Add parameters to get further detail
    • User flow through the application
    • Create funnels
  • Identify your most valuable users
    • segment the audience
      • demographics or persona
    • understand and track users
      • monetize users that don’t spend
    • daypart segments
  • Acquire and monetize users
    • cross promote
    • user acquisition through ads
  • Wash, rinse, repeat

The Path From Mobile Engagement to Monetization

Notes from Bottle Rocket Apps 2013 Client Summit (unedited)

The path from mobile engagement to monetization

  • The first date
    • Initial impressions are extremely important to mobile users
  • Meet the friends
    • use the graph to learn behaviors and trends
    • social engagement varies by channel diff b/w FB and Twitter
    • what are the triggers for opening the app
  • Getting serious
    • shared experience – what are you going to do inside the app to tell their friends
  • Finding the fun (gamification)
  • Reminding them you care (incentives & notifications)
    • not intrusive, but still need to find ways to get users engaged
  • Cashing in
    • Virtual achievements for real world items
  • The big day (monetization)
    • has to be relevant
    • ads are not settled yet

Twitter – Building Social/Mobile Experiences with Twitter

Notes from Bottle Rocket Apps 2013 Client Summit (unedited)

Twitter – Building social mobile experiences with Twitter

  • Introduction
    • Gartner study huge opportunity for free app downloads
    • Social users on mobile
      • 53% followed link to web
      • 53% read post from brand/org/event
      • 33% collected a coupon
  • What is Twitter?
    • (visify in Portland)
    • Growth 400M unique/200M active/400M tweets per day
    • Global townsquare
    • Mobile since inception
      • 60% access via mobile
      • 40% quarter over quarter growth
    • Identy
      • Twitter for Web
      • Cards
      • API – Rest, Stream, Search
    • Key things
      • 1. Drive downloads
      • 2. Drive engagement
  • Twitter in Mobile apps: Identity, Social Signal, Distribution Channel
    • Identity – Namesspace
      • single sign on
      • cheap
    • Social Signal – Realtime interests
      • Personalization
      • Distribution for content into the network
      • Share and discover
    • Marketing
      • Get users engaged
      • Plan ahead, build buzz and drive “tune-in”
  • Planning a successful app launch with Twitter

Facebook Moves Messaging

You’ve probably seen or read about the move by Facebook to move the Messaging function out of the core application. 

Why is this important? 
The rationale shared by ReadWrite suggests that the the experience is not ideal for users. In TechCrunch, the quote from Zuckerberg goes on to say that messaging was “second-class” causing more “friction” and they want to provide a “more focused experience” for messaging through the Facebook platform.
I would suggest that this move is a good ammunition for clients that want to cram their entire digital experience into a single mobile application. It is a practical demonstration that Facebook recognizes that, to quote Michael Griffitha focused and guided experience is the best way to extend their brand and meet the needs of their users. 
Does this mean every app by every client should have multiple applications? Obviously the answer is no, but you can also look at this as an opportunity to guide the core experience the client is trying to provide for their customers. Are they focused on the right thing? Are they asking for features/functionality “because”? Are they deriving their decisions with data to back the assumptions? Do they want to be a Jack of all trades and master of none? Do they understand the risks and rewards that go with the complexity of one app to do everything?