For mobile, context is not only based on location. Consumers are in a different mindset when they put down their phone just before bed and reach for it as soon as they wake. Users on a mission to book travel, research for a purchase, look up the hometown of their new favorite band, play a game while waiting in line, or navigate to an appointment all have very different contexts for their usage of their handheld devices.
Context relies on a variety of circumstances such as culture, environment, goals, tasks, connection, or device. Context is the user’s intentions while using the device and the marketer can influence how the user is affected. Mobile devices are continuously used in the consumer’s life. It is up to marketers to provide user friendly (contextually relevant) content with little disruption to the user’s “flow.”
Companies are able to meet consumer needs and improve the user experience by understanding them.
Terry Allen, the Lead UX Architect at AgencySparks mobile experience partner, Dragon Army, states,
“A few ways experience designers can better think through different contexts is by physically putting themselves in the scenario and experiencing what the users will feel—this includes anything from sound pollution to visual stimuli that alter the screen-only experience. Also, think beyond typical contextual considerations, including environmental, cultural, or even temporal contexts, as it helps to extend thinking beyond the device.”
Having trouble thinking of the consumers perspective? Evaluate their:
Location. Where is the consumer and what are they trying to accomplish?
Emotions. What is their emotional state currently? A quick temper can cause a user to lash out and become frustrated with the interface. Practice empathetic marketing on the site and ensure an easy-to-use interface to ease interactions.
Time. The user has a finite amount of it, don’t waste it or they will not visit again. Keep site messaging simple.
Consumer journey. Know where the consumer is in their journey and cater messaging based on their past or current behaviors. Data analytics helps track returning users, retargeting methods help diversify call-to-actions, and detailed personas determine the wants/needs of the consumer.
Influencers. Review sites, celebrities, and personal relationships play a hand in a consumer’s purchase. Be mindful.
Preferences. How much time do they spend on their mobile device and what features are critical to their experience?
Richard Makerson, from mobile experience partner, BlueFletch, says that "The goal is to become user focused instead of addressing the task or feature only. When developers have a high level of context and practical experience with use cases the quality of the work output is superior."
Knowing how to pinpoint the user’s headspace is important when creating necessary features.