The 5 Digital Engagements Models for Today’s UX

UX is exploding in digital. To this end, there is now five major engagement models you should target when developing any solution for today’s consumer experience. The models are:

  • Responsive Web
  • Mobile Apps
  • Voice
  • Social Engagement
  • API

These five models represent how you can engage with your customer today.

Responsive Web

Do you have a website? OK, everyone does. How does the site look on your mobile device? Run your site through, and you will get a report of how responsive your site is. A responsive site is critical for content consumption. Facebook says that 92% of their consumers view and create content on the phone. The average user uses their phone for 51% of their digital experience. According to Mary Meeker, from KPCB, the desktop is now only 42%. What is interesting is the growth of up to 7% of “other” devices such as smart watches, TVs, and cars to consume content (source:

The core of Meeker’s report is simple: consumers are now using a broad selection of digital devices to connect with Web content. To this end, ensure you have a Responsive Web solution that supports desktop, mobile device form factors and that you are testing for new equipment.

Mobile Apps

Depending on your service, Apps are either the Primary or Secondary model to engage with your consumer. Either way, Apps have long since moved from “novelty” to “must have.” Consumers have trust with services such as iTunes App Store from Apple to deliver high performing and secure solutions. The net-net experience is that an app can perform faster than a website with many more features. The to app success is to understand that a mobile Website and Mobile App serve two different purposes. A website is content driven whereas an app is action driven. As an example: is a massive site, and the UX is to browse for and eventually buy content. Cartwheel, Target’s app for in-store purchases, is a tool to scan the SKU of each item to discover discounts. 

Take the same approach for the apps you create. Understand that the consumer is looking for an action that can be completed quickly in an app. 


The next two UX engagement models are under the headline “emerging.” Consumers are becoming more comfortable talking to devices. The most successful are Amazon’s Echo where you can order product, play music and hear the weather through voice commands. Google, Microsoft, and Apple are investing in their AI-powered voice UX solutions. For instance, Apple is using Siri in their watches, phones and TV devices with a single goal: get the consumer to the experience as fast as possible.

There is no doubt that Voice, as a UX model, is going to be more important. Now is the time to start engaging with Voice so you can lead rather than follow.

Social Engagement

 Equal to Voice is the next, and in many ways, most challenging UX model: Social Engagement. There are two types of Social Engagement: Broadband (such as Twitter where you are talking about a particular person and the world at the same time) and Narrowband (such as Weibo/Facebook Messenger where you are talking to one person or a small group). Frankly put, the rule book for social engagement is not written. Unlike the previous models, Social Engagement is a purely digital service that does not require specific hardware. To this end, today’s social engagement UX strategy leverages a common language (yep, this is where you drop in your emoji) and images. 


Finally, the nuts and bolts that tie you UX models together are APIs. There is no way any one company can efficiently and affordably compete with the digital engagements models consumers are using. The only way is to effective is to leverage APIs that can be tailored to the different models. For instance, content can be delivered to a Web site, Apps for iOS and Android and Voice through the same APIs. The difference is understanding the engagement model and tailoring the experience. The bottom line is to get started with these five platforms. 

Web Performance Analysis with Google’s “Test My Site”

Does your website load in under 3 seconds on a phone, tablet or PC? If your site does not load in 3 seconds, then you have immediately lost 50% of your customers. Performance is critical to the success of your website, and Google is stepping up and providing you a great tool to test your site:

Using Google’s Test My Site

The world is going mobile first. Google has a tool you can use to help test your website. The device is called Test My Site and has the friendly URL of

The test is easy to do. Enter your web address and select “Test Now.” The test takes about 60 seconds to run. When the test is complete, you have a report that you can use to drive direction to improve your site’s performance. The goal, as always, is to stop people from leaving your site.

Analyzing the Test My Site report

The report you receive back from Google highlights three main sections:

  • Mobile Friendliness
  • Mobile Speed
  • Desktop Speed

What is interesting is that the focus of the report is not “how does your website respond on a mobile device” but “how does your app react in a Mobile First world” where Mobile is the primary device by there are many secondary devices, too.

As you might expect, the Mobile Friendliness section looks to see how your site behaves with responsive design. There should be no excuse for having a site that is not responsive. Everyone should get a 99/100.

The second two sections focus on performance. How fast does your site load? Google will provide you details on the areas you need to tighten up such as image compression, JavaScript compression, re-writing how you use CSS and leveraging modern Web Server tools such as an HTTP/2. The goal is simple: speed up your site.

As a frame of reference, the first time I ran the tool I was running my site with no compression tools and my result was a meager 24/100 for speed. I added an image compression tool and dramatically increased the performance of the site.

The goal is for you to speed up your website. Run the test and analyze the results. 

Is the timing right for Mobile Commerce?

Today, more than 2.2 billion people connect to the internet from a mobile phone. This number is expected to double by 2020. As a frame of reference, Android is now the most popular Operating System globally and in 2016 more installations of Apple’s iOS 10 were installed than Microsoft’s Windows. It is a mobile world. But there is one problem: do consumers buy from their phones?

A year ago, I would have said a resounding “no”. The facts bore out the statement: people browsed on their phones but did not buy. The perfect storm of technologies had to be put in place to ensure that Mobile Commerce can happen.

That perfect storm has happened. Black Friday for 2016 saw the largest number of online purchases: over $3 Billion. The staggering element to this story is that Mobile accounted for ⅓ of all Black Friday purchases. Yes, that is right, people are buying with their phones.

For Mobile Commerce to be effective and to happen three things needed to be in place:

  1. Everyone has to have a smartphone. Everyone. This is the foundation.
  2. Check out technologies need to be easier on the phone than on the PC. Check out Apple Pay, Amazon, and AliPay and you will see that they are all very easy to use. One swipe and you buy your products.
  3. Social is a key part of buying. Adding in effective social selling and you have a gold mine of opportunity waiting to happen

Expect 2017 to be a breakout year for Mobile Commerce. mCommerce is already a reality in many Asian countries. It will be in the USA, too.

iOS 10 hits 76% of active iOS devices

It is incredible to imagine that Apple’s latest version of iOS is now sitting pretty on 3/4 of all active iOS devices. Apple’s iOS was released in September and has seen 12 updates since that release, the more recent being iOS 10.2 (which came with fancy new emoji). 

The new numbers from Apple (link) show that 96% of the 1 Billion active iOS devices (link) are running either iOS 9 or 10. Apple’s iOS numbers contrast with Google’s Android.

Google’s Android Has Some Catching Up To Do

In contrast to the stunning numbers from Apple, Google’s Android is flopping like a dead fish. Yes, Android is the world’s most successful operating system, but it is clear that it is Android 4.x and 5.x account (which account for 72% of active installs) that are the foundation of the success. These are numbers pulled from Google’s Android Dashboard. To give a little perspective, Google released Android 4.0 in 2011 and Android 5.0 in 2014 (Android version history). 

31% of all online sales are now from Mobile devices

Mobiles sales are on a tear. The 2016 Holiday season saw more than $24 Billion in sales from mobile devices from Nov 1 through Dec 20. This is an incredible number as it accounts for 31% of the $79 Billion spent online. In other words, 1:3 people now buy from a phone vs. a PC. The data is from Adobe’s report that tracks sales for the top 100 online retailers (link).

Key data points include:

  • Total Online Sales: $79.2B
  • Total Online Sales Growth: 10.7%
  • 49 out of 50 days have resulted in over $1B in revenue
  • Desktop Share of Sales: 69%
  • Smartphone Share of Sales: 21%
  • Tablet Share of Sales: 10% 

What is stunning is that Mobile accounted for 28% of online sales in 2015 and only 19% in 2014. The trajectory is clear: Mobile will likely hit 33% of online sales in 2017 and 35+% in 2018. 

The Challenge for Online Sales

The challenge for retailers is now complicated. On the one hand, you must continue to support traditional PC commerce, but on the contrary, you must also support the emerging trend for mobile commerce. An interesting data point missing from Adobe’s report is the number of sales driven by platforms such as social business. While social commerce, a new channel where the consumer buys from a chat app such as Facebook Messenger, is new to the USA, countries such as China are now masters of social buying. 

Digital Commerce Fragmentation will likely be the buzz words that describe online sales over the next few years. How do you plan to address this thorny issue?

The world will be mobile

The world is going mobile at an astounding pace. The following infographic is using data pulled from the latest Ericsson report. The report highlights current trends with mobile technology and looks to see what the future will bring. One big observation: everyone who can hold a phone will have a phone. The details for the report can be found here:


What makes up the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a buzzword that has been around for a couple of years. But what the heck does it mean and why should you care? Essentially, the Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to any device that can connect without wires: phones, tablets and watches are the first generation IoT. The next generation of IoT is already hitting the roads: next generation cars are coming loaded with sensors. Google just released the first self driving car and you have already seen cars that can park themselves and warn you as you reverse up. Future IoT will include sensors in your clothes, your homes, healthcare and a thousand other places. Quite literally, the Internet of Things will be made up of billions of devices. You think the Mobile Revolution was big? You ain’t seen nothing.

There are three main components to the Internet of Things:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Cloud

The Internet of Things Hardware

What you will immediately recognize when you see an IoT solution is the hardware. Let’s take first generation IoT and look at the hardware: Phones and Watches.

Common elements in the devices include the following:

  • Communication services – WiFi, BlueTooth Low Energy, NFC, GPS
  • Touch Screens and battery support/power
  • Low energy sensors

The focus of these first generation devices is to illustrate that you do not need a plugged in PC to get complex problems done. Smaller can be better. Next generation IoT will see the size of the hardware continue to shrink and energy will have to come from either better batteries of leverage latent electricity that surrounds us all the time. Yes, devices will be powered without batteries. Crazy, isn’t it? But think of this: why not use the static in a shirt to power the device monitoring your blood pressure sown into your shirt?

Smart Clothes for the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things Software

The second important element to the IoT is the software that powers it. Again, first generation software is found on your phone: Android, iOS and Windows. First generation software is loaded with APIs and SDKs that let you build incredible solutions. First generation software powers phones, tablets and your Smart TV (Apple TV is powered by iOS 8 and Amazon’s Fire TV runs a version of Android). Second generation devices will be different. Power is premium to second generation devices. Samsung’s choice to use Tizen to power their new Smart Watches reflects this. Microsoft has made a similar move with their newly released health band.

A difference you will likely see with second generation IoT is the disappearance of the screen. You don’t always need a screen. But you do need software to connect to the screen. This is why your phone may become the center of your digital life.

The Internet of Things Cloud

Tying everything together is the Cloud. Cloud solutions allow large, complex processes to be completed away from the device. Your phone can now store infinite data thanks to DropBox and other storage services. Cloud services can perform massively complex solutions – Adobe’s Cloud Apps demonstrate this through moving complex image processing off the phone and into Adobe’s own Creative Cloud services. In many ways, the Cloud is the key element to the success of the Internet of Things. Hardware can become simpler and smaller; software can become more niche and Cloud can do the heavy lifting.

The future for the Internet of Things

If you are looking to start a new business then the next step must be looking at IoT. The Smartphone and Tablet wars have been fought. The new Green Field is IoT. What will you build?