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Web self-service is a category of online care (e-support) that permits clients and workers to access data and complete regular errands over the Internet. The point is that this does not necessitate any contact with a company’s representative. Web self-service is extensively utilized in client rapport management (CRM) and employee rapport management that is often abbreviated as ERM. When the care is bound to online worker communications, the process is identified as employee self-service. When it is related to clients on the Internet, it is termed client self-service (CSS). For the Sports R US workers and clients, the mobile self-service should make 24 hour-a-day sustenance available, and instant admittance to the necessary info without the obligatory downtime in the wait for an email reply or a phone call. In due course, the success of the Sports R US Web mobile self-service is contingent upon the value and amount of data accessible and the effortlessness with which it can be retrieved. Organizing the mobile self-service apps would help the Sports R US company in a number of ways. The most protuberant drive is the lower cost, as equated to phone or electronic mail service managed by the company’s employee. A more debatable inventive advantage of mobile self-service is the ability it offers the business to collect personal info about the individuals who use it. Tracking and breakdown applications may be exploited to generate a pseudonymous side view of the customer for study and targeted advertising resolutions.
Target segment and customer needs
This mobile self-service should target people of all ages across the United States. Moreover, with the creation of a hybrid mobile app, the company would want to try reaching out to the global market. The reason for this is the extensive product mix of the Sports R US company. There are several issues concerning the customers’ needs that should be addressed. The first and foremost is the design of the app. Even though it is not explicitly stated by the clients, they are usually paying the most attention to the looks of things (Blashki, 2013). This means that the exterior should appeal to their senses, and the choice of the colors should be smart and reasonable, evoking trust and devotion to the trademark in the customers. Another crucial topic of discussion is interaction design. Everything should be kept plain and simple, as the user interface is the second important asset after the app design. The navigation should be smooth and feature breadcrumbs (this, in fact, is optional, not obligatory) similar to those that are usually used in the Web apps. The customers want their experience to be excellent, so the page loading speed should exceed expectations. This factor is vital as the waiting interval minimized critically during the last decade, and the page that does not load completely in less than three seconds is considered slow (anything that takes more than 12-15 seconds is beyond slow). The reason behind this is the fast-paced modern life where the people’s impatience and the need to get more in the shortest period of time took over everything else.
App design for mobile devices and necessary resources
In order to achieve the desired outcome, the following resources are necessary – time, money, and human resources (which include mobile developers, UX designers, testers, project managers, and project lead). The time defines the time frame of the project, and the extension of deadlines would mean the lack of another valuable resource – money. Except that the project management staff should pay attention to the amount of money allocated for the development of the application itself, it should also realize that there are wages that must be paid to the employees. Human resources that are a part of this project are in charge of the prototyping, developing, deploying, releasing, and supporting the Sports R US mobile app. Continuous customer support and internal testing are the keys to conquering the market and appealing to the customers. Regardless of the thorough backend development (including the connection to the database and correct display of the information that is stored there), the equally important mission is entrusted to the designers of the app. In other words, the UX designers make the app “work” for the targeted audience (MacKenzie, 2012). The features that should never be overlooked in the mobile app design are responsiveness, elegance, user-friendly UX elements (44px is the perfect size for the elements on the screen), proper positioning of the controls (at the bottom of the screen), and the evasion of scrolling (in the era of parallax design, using too much scroll in a mobile app is just wrong).
Interfaces applicable to mobile devices
First of all, the phone screen is a limited resource, so there should be a hierarchy that presupposes that the most important and relevant information is placed at the top. One amazing way to take advantage of the Sports R US website’s mobile version is to distinguish diverse platforms and suggest dissimilar forms of the website for them. For instance, the iPhone platform is rather supple when it comes to the design proficiencies that one can offer as opposed to the other platforms. Consequently, perceiving the customers’ mobile platforms and offering different content and abilities for them is profitable. Furthermore, this also supports the developers in making the alternative mobile Web app a lot humbler with a reduced amount of content to guarantee it can perform on the outdated mobile devices or platforms, too. Speech and voice recognition assistance is another interface that is highly demanded in nowadays mobile apps. There is a high probability of the fact that the regular text input will be replaced by the voice input in the future, so it is rather vital to keep up with the trend (Kuniavsky, 2013). There are two deployment models to choose from – cloud (the app will require the Internet connection at all times) and embedded (the complete procedure materializes locally on the gadget/ device; the app can work offline but takes up a lot of drive space).
Mobile app prototype proposal
The proposed prototype includes an autocomplete search that works in combination with cloud-based voice recognition. This is pretty similar to what Google does with its search, but it is rarely seen at the websites that compete in the Sports R US’s market. The implementation of this prototype would help the mobile app users get to the sought products faster than ever. The Web app would primarily ask the user to voice the name of the product that is to be found in the catalog but leave the chance to input it manually in a more habitual style. The search results would display the wanted product (if it is available on the website and is in stock) and the products that are similar to the goods that are sought after. In case if there were nothing found, the system would automatically display the most popular goods that are currently in stock.
The app would use blue, orange, black, and white colors. Blue delivers a sense of safety, verges craving, and inspires efficiency. It is the most frequently used color among conventional brands viewing to encourage confidence in their goods. Orange is a joyful color that endorses positive outlooks. It will be used to generate a sense of apprehension that can become the driving factor in impetuous customers and those who usually go through the catalogs but never buy anything (the “window shopper” type). White color can be used to expose a non-appearance of color or detachment. White areas help stimulate inventiveness since they can be viewed as an inviolate, untouched state. A minimal amount of black will be used to associate the Sports R US’s image with expertise, supremacy, and constancy. Moreover, it can be assumed to be a representation of the aptitude and respectability of the brand in comparison to its closest market competitors.
The implementation and evaluation of the mobile Web app
The first step in the implementation of the mobile app is the identification of the stakeholders and assessment of the market trends. More than enough websites nowadays have their mobile app equivalents for Android and iOS devices. It would be reasonable to take advantage of this and offer the users of these two platforms and also deploy two standalone apps for the App Store and Google Play Market. Concerning the mobile Web apps, they should apply a minimalistic approach to the design and establish a steady database connection. Most probably, a non-relational document-oriented database management system would be used (E.g., MongoDB). This would let the developers manage the information rapidly and add new content to the database without any damage to the database, as MongoDB does not require a strict table structure/ hierarchy. In fact, MongoDB does not use any tables at all. Another option is a relational database management system (E.g., MySQL) that would most suit the iOS web app.
In the process of the evaluation of the app, the project team will have to assess the value of the app based on five principles – practicability, efficiency, private rivalry, government validation, and profitability. Practicability presumes that the data is relevant and continually updated. This feature is based on the principle of conceptual veracity. Efficiency is the degree to which the mobile app complies with the wishes and needs of the targeted audience. The app should provide users with dynamic content presented in an easy-to-understand form. Private rivalry corresponds to the attitude of private-sector competition. The app should not make the data and tools used during the process of development of the mobile Web app available to the public. Government validation means that the app concept is compliant with the EPA concerns. The Government standards discrepancy would result in fines and dismissal of the project. Profitability relates to the costs of developing the current mobile Web app. The question of cost-effectiveness should be recurrently raised at the project team briefings. In conjunction, these five aspects would provide the development team with the full picture of their web app’s performance and how it affects the user experience.
Blashki, K. (2013). Emerging Research and Trends in Interactivity and the Human-computer Interface. New York, NY: IGI Global.
Kuniavsky, M. (2013). Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann.
MacKenzie, I. S. (2012). Human-computer Interaction: An Empirical Research Perspective. New York, NY: Newnes.