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 Chuck SchaefferCRM User Experience Best Practices for Mobile

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Lists. Smart lists are a part of effective content design, and have many special purposes on mobile devices.

  • Mobile CRM home pages often use lists of numbered links to accelerate navigation, reduce fat fingering errors and provide an alternate navigational method for those mobile devices that don't support pinch-and-zoom.
  • Lists facilitate scanning and improve readability as compared to placing multiple topics as continuous text. Research shows that scanning a horizontal (sentence based) list takes about 25% more time and effort than scanning a vertical list.
  • Another list technique is to insert clickable list topics above multi-page text so that users can quickly see what is included without having to scroll through the pages, and so users can hyperlink to the desired content. At the end of multi-page content be sure to insert a Back to Top link.
  • Make extensive use of lists, determine whether list order will be based on importance, logic or another method such as alphabetical order, and consistently follow your list order standard. Research shows that users scan lists and often stop scanning once they find a relevant item. This user behavior may favor creating CRM lists by relevance or importance rather than by sequence or alphabetically.

User Aides. Small features which collectively deliver big impact to the mobile CRM user experience include the following:

  • Pagination of CRM records. CRM pages often include hundreds or thousands of accounts, contacts, activities, opportunities or cases. It's important that these views be paginated (i.e. delivering no more than 25 or so results at a time) in order to maintain acceptable performance.
  • Increased used of bounded fields. Data entry is severely limited on mobile devices. This limitation can be compounded with CRM systems due to high volumes of new activities or extra text associated with account notes or sale opportunities. To improve the text entry experience, try to use more bounded fields which preset the option values for selection and entry instead of unbounded fields which depend on free form text entry.
  • Where unbounded text entry is required, use a field control which automatically formats the text appearance. For example, in or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, use the text field controls which also permit text sub-types to format URLs, email addresses or telephone numbers.
  • Type ahead / autocomplete. Most users recognize this functionality as part of their SMS. It's not as common in CRM software, but there are tools and techniques so that CRM apps can suggest or autocomplete field entry. I share an example of how to do this in my post on how to customize the Microsoft Dynamics CRM user experience.

Analytics. Analytics deliver the insights for continuous process improvement. Here are some mobile CRM analytics aids.

  • Heat maps are particularly useful in showing user actions and preferences on mobile devices as they visually depict movements such as taps, pinches and swipes. Some mobile app heat map tools show user navigation flows, click-throughs, drop-offs and how content is consumed (or not consumed) while others actually record and replay user sessions. I recently used the Appsee product to view user actions on mobile devices and was able to quickly make some changes that significantly improved the user experience and user adoption.
  • Other measures to improve the user experience include analyzing device types, mobile operating systems, user locations, time on app and the tabulated listings of most used features (to be prioritized for improved content placement) and least used features (to be replaced or discarded). End


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Research shows that mobile users scan lists and often stop scanning once they find a relevant item. This user behavior may favor creating CRM lists by relevance or importance rather than by sequence or alphabetically.


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