Is Your Business Website Missing the Boat on Smartphones?

Even a casual survey of small business websites reveals the painful fact that many, if not most, are still not mobile friendly. Websites appear that require extensive finger gymnastics to uncover basic information, where is the business located, what are its hours, what kind of services does it offer. Continue reading

Customer Engagement in Product/Service Development – new hints from Nokia

It is widely accepted that the more closely tied, integrated even, customers are in your development process for new products and services, the more likely success will follow. An April 13, 2008 article in the New York Times Magazine, “Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty – why a corporate ‘user anthropologist’ is spending so much of his time in the shantytowns of the world” (by Sara Corbett) sets a new standard. Nokia has Jan Chipchase wandering about the world seeking out what the next three billion cell phone users desire.

The first billion cellphones sold in 20 years; the second billion in four years; and the third billion in two. 80% of the worlds population live within range of a cellular network. The uses cell phones are already being put to in the underdeveloped world are quite unlike those in the developed countries. The only way to understand these and to begin to elicit input from new users is to go out and ask them, face-to-face. So, Nokia has full time personnel, on the ground, sending reports back to headquarters and trying out mockups of potential new products with real people.

It would serve everyone who is envisioning a new product or service to ask themselves:

  • “Have I actually asked real customers what they want or need?”
  • “Have I tested my ideas and received direct feedback that my product actually delivers a value someone wants to pay for?”
  • and so on.

Don’t let your engineers, marketers, sales people, or worse, you own enthusiasms, substitute for live human feedback.

“Management Notes – the blog” Goes Mobile

Last night I attended a meeting of the Web Innovators Group here in Cambridge. Among the new businesses that caught my eye was a mobile site creation company.

As I have been learning, the next phase of the Web is emerging on hand held devices. There may be 600-700 million PCs in the world, but there are already over 2 billion cell phones and the forecast is for 3 billion soon. Most of this growth will occur in the developing world. With the next generation of devices looking more like mobile computers, this means that most human beings will, in one generation, go from no telephone service to full-blown access to everything on the Web. I will restrain myself from further imaginings about the impac this will have on how and what we do.

Looking shorter term, I clicked over to the Mofuse website and hooked up my Management Notes blog to their mobile site creator. If you have a suitable mobile device you can now read this blog on the go at:

I do not have a suitable mobile device so I am waiting for feedback from this distant universe.