To finish up our Design for Mobile Commerce series, I asked four of my colleagues to participate in a brief survey of mobile retail sites. Our goal with this survey was to investigate actual user experience and functionality on mobile devices. Not what the top 10 or 20 retailers are doing, but what happens when someone has a need and tries to meet that need on their mobile device.
To that end, I gave each of us a task to accomplish on a specific site and a short list of questions about the process. We’ll publish one survey every day this week.
When I started this series, I thought responsive design was the way to go, hands down. After conducting multiple interviews and reading through the results of this survey, I’m less enthusiastic. Read on to see why.
What is your task today?
I was trying to use my mobile phone to design a T-shirt and then sell my design through the unitedpixelworkers.com site.
Did you accomplish it? How easy was it?
No. I found out that you can buy a template for $20 that allows you to design a T-shirt, but it appeared that I’d need Photoshop, which I don’t have on my phone. The annoying thing about this site was that it took me 15 minutes of clicking to figure this out.
Part of a FAQ (which was linked to at the bottom of the page) makes it sound like once you’ve designed the T-shirt, you have to convince United Pixelworkers of the coolness of your design/brand before they’ll sell on their site.
But, the FAQ was also confusing, because at the very bottom of the page it said that the company was actually “an unspoken alliance of web workers… dedicated to building a better Internet.” By selling T-shirts? Don’t really get it.
Also, while the pages looked great once they had loaded, the pictures were very slow to load. And since I didn’t know the site, I wasn’t sure if the blank boxes contained important info, or just photos.
Did you do anything else on the website?
I read a blog post about United Pixelworkers’ advice for selling lots of T-shirts online.
Do you think this site is responsive, mobile-specific, or something else? Why?
I think it was supposed to be mobile-specific, as it had a fairly stripped down look on my phone. (Editor’s note: this site uses responsive design.)
If you had reason to, would you use this website again, or go to a competitor?
Yes, but I’d use the desktop version. I went to it afterwards and found it much easier to navigate.
What device did you use?
I used an LG Optimus phone running Android.
Conclusion: Design geeks dream big but sometimes miss the mark.