"Poor UX is inexcusable and shows a lack of understanding and respect for the customer" MOMA's judge Sean Patterson talks mobile

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

March 12, 2013 | 5 min read

With the MOMAs (Marketing on Mobile Awards) judging scheduled to take place in April, The Drum will ask each of the judges for some of their own points of view around what is happening within the exponentially growing sector that is mobile.

Sean Patterson is co-founder of We Are Ignition

Here, We Are Ignition co-founder Sean Patterson discusses user experience, mobile wallets and iOS bugbears.

How important is the user experience to brands and do they often overlook UX?

For me, poor user experience is inexcusable and shows a lack of understanding and respect for the customer. There are still far too many brands that allow internal demands to dictate the end product instead of working out what would be best for the customer. If brand managers lie awake at night wanting to know how to get one over the competition, then I say, invest in the user experience of your digital products. Brands that appreciate the importance of UX will win in the long run.

What defines a good user experience on mobile?

Understanding the context. Is it a native app or web app? Will it be used predominantly on WiFi or mobile data connection? Outdoors (easier to view with high contrast colours) or indoors? Is it aimed at children or tech savvy adults? Understand your audience, how they will use your app, where they will use it and develop the experience accordingly.

What is the main factor in preventing the mass adoption of mobile wallets at the current time?

Main thing I'd say is lack of understanding. No one seems to be 100 per cent clear about what a mobile wallet is exactly. Yes, it's using your mobile device to make payments, but that's a pretty broad definition. How exactly is this concept manifested? Is it a NFC service? Is it a single app? A suite of apps? Who provides it - your bank or the retailers? Who accepts it - everyone or just a select few retailers? What are the benefits - for the customer and the retailer? For mass adoption I feel we ultimately need a standardised infrastructure that allows seamless transactions between the banks, the merchants and the user - and then someone to come along and demonstrate how beautifully simple it can be. We'll probably see stores rolling out their own payment apps in the first instance - Starbucks already does this. Once people become familiar with the concept, this paves the way for a more standardised, widely-adopted, mobile wallet system.

What phone/tablet do you own and what do you like / not like about it?

iPhone5 and iPad Retina. I love the build quality and the retina screens. You won't want to work on normal screens again after using retina. Dislikes? Background operations are somewhat restricted in iOS apps and are a particular bugbear of mine. For instance, I want the Dropbox app to sync my photos continuously in the background without having to keep giving the app focus.

What is the most exciting development around mobile at the moment?

There are so many developments that it's hard to choose just one. Improvements in phone capabilities, improvements to infrastructure, the fact that we, as an industry, are getting better at designing and building great apps. I guess the most exciting development is the overall trend towards mobile. It will soon become the primary means of accessing the web and this will have huge implications for brands. I see a huge amount of investment and innovation in this area as brands work out how best to serve their customers in this rapidly evolving medium.

There are 29 MOMA categories covering all aspects of mobile marketing, from apps to innovative use of mobile and user experience to use of video. The awards are open to any UK based individual, agency, company or business producing effective mobile strategies and campaigns. Registrations and entries should be made via the MOMA website by Friday 22 March.

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