It gives me great pleasure to announce that one of my last major projects at MIG has finally launched – introducing the New Look M-Commerce site!

It was a huge, exciting project, involving lots of collaboration and hard work (I began drinking coffee for the first time in my life as a result).  My role was to lead the UX and visual design.

In the UX process I gained some valuable insights into mobile commerce, having spent some time in the past reviewing data and trends on previous MIG M-Commerce projects such as Marks & Spencers, I had built up a pretty solid understanding of how consumers shop on their phones (and what phones generate the most revenue). Once I added data from New Look it really helped shape many of the design and content decisions.

Retailers are starting to see significant amounts of traffic coming from mobile devices and allocating budget for M-Commerce sites and apps. With the current influx of new mobile shopping sites, two things have always bugged me about the majority of them which I wanted to address when designing the site:

1) Treating every phone the same

You often see a ‘one size fits all’ approach where the same site is served to high-end and low-end devices, with no effort being taken to give devices like the iPhone and Android a enhanced experience.

These high-end phones have capabilities that can create a superior purchase experience and get the user to checkout quicker and easier. You need to treat these guys like your VIP customers.

Whether that’s using HTML5, Ajax or even the Gyroscope, it makes sense to play to their strengths because they’ll make up the majority of mobile traffic  (and what’s the point of the user having such a great device if you’re going to treat them like a Nokia N95 user?)

Here’s a couple of examples of how the New Look design adapted to high-end devices and improved the mobile shopping experience by using simple Ajax elements:

Reducing page loads:

Easier browsing:

2) Replicating crap online experiences on mobile

I never understand why retailers take problems with their online shopping sites such as checkout bottle necks, poor performing features, cryptic wording, forced registration before purchase etc and replicate them on mobile. If certain aspects of your site are causing drop off, why move them onto your mobile site? This will only amplify your problems.

In my mind there’s no reason why you shouldn’t attempt to make the mobile site better than the online version. We were lucky to have a client like New Look who were extremely flexible and allowed us to get rid of many of the barriers that existed in their online checkout process. If you really want to increase conversions then it’s more than just porting a online store to a smaller screen.

That’s why I think it will be interesting to see the battle pan out between screen-scraped mobile shopping sites vs ones built using APIs. Most people in the industry have no idea about this fight happening behind the scenes and it’s something I’ll cover in another blog post soon (drop me a line if you have any thoughts).

Anyway, enough from me, try it for yourself!

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