Exploring capabilities

Harnessing the true power of a mobile device.

The capabilities of a mobile phone: the accelerometer, camera, GPS sensor, touch screen, bluetooth, push notifications, even fingerprint scanners – can support an entirely new sort of customer experience. By embracing these features, we can seize opportunities that only exist on mobile.

Introduction

When the first wave of smartphones were introduced, we saw a whole range of gimmicky apps that took advantage of the capabilities of the iPhone. But today, we’re seeing more and more brands use capabilities intelligently to tailor their user experience to the platform, and to create types of interactions that would be impossible otherwise.

Why does it matter?

Using capabilities to the fullest has some major advantages. Firstly, it often serves to simplify a process that would otherwise be complex (using touchID for authentification, for example, rather than asking the user for a password). Secondly, it can provide some marketing opportunities, as Apple is keen to promote apps that take advantage of new hardware or software features.

 

Your customers will fully expect you to take advantage of capabilities, whether or not you want to.

Notable examples

Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder

Tiffany’s, the fine jewelry dealer that specializes in wedding and engagement bands, has done an excellent job of integrating the touchscreen and accelerometer into their app experience. Users can place one of their rings on the screen to determine their ring size, and can view a 360 degree view of each ring simply by tilting the phone.

Human

Human is among a new type of app that we expect to see more and more of – apps that require very little in-app engagement, but that run in the background and provide value via notifications. The app uses the accelerometer and the GPS sensor to map out my daily transport activities, and can determine how I’m travelling based on speed – walking, biking, or in a vehicle.


Implications for retail organizations

Your customers will fully expect you to take advantage of capabilities, whether or not you want to.

When Apple introduced PassBook, users were overjoyed with apps that embraced it and ruthless with apps that were slow to support it. We can help you stay on top of upcoming releases that might present opportunities for your brand.

Consider the ubiquity and proximity of a device a capability of its own.

Sometimes it’s not necessarily hardware or software that can inspire a feature, but rather the way a mobile phone “lives” on its owner in such an intimate and consistent way. Your app can be present on someone’s phone in a way that a website simply cannot, and you should consider whether this should change the interaction in any way.