In what seems like an effective use of mobile internet, Auto Windscreens recently released a new mobile site which is optimised for iPhones and Blackberries.

The mobile site allows drivers to find the nearest fitting centre to them and make a booking before that crack gets any bigger. I've been trying the site out to see how well it works.

According to the company, the mobile site was launched in response to demand from customers, especially from B2B customers and company car users (many of whom have smartphones), as well as a trend of increased mobile traffic to its website.

With a mobile service like this that people are going to use on the move and in areas where mobile internet coverage may not be brilliant, a simple and usable mobile site is vital.

First of all, users accessing via mobiles are detected and sent to the mobile version of the site, which makes it much easier and saves time spent hunting for the link to the most suitable site.

The homepage is kept nice and simple too; just four main options which deals with anything you might need when stuck on the hard shoulder with a giant chip in your windscreen:

Auto Windscreens mobile homepage

The site will detect your location, or alternatively you can type in a postcode, and it will give you the nearest fitting centres to you, as well as the option to call or get driving directions through Google Maps:

You can also just go ahead and book an appointment too; first specifying the kind of damage to the windscreen; location, size of crack and so on:

Auto Windscreens mobile appointment

After entering registration and address details, which is the clunkiest part of the mobile site, you can then set an appointment. You can only do this for the next day via the site though; if you want to book sooner or need someone to come out to your current location you need to call.

The fact that Auto Windscreens has provided an alternative to the 0800 number so you can use your free minutes to call is a nice touch:

Auto Windscreens mobile book appointment

There are a few small issues which could be improved on the site; though it uses GPS to find your location when booking an appointment, it doesn't do this when you search for the nearest fitting centre, something which would save time for users.

Also, after booking the appointment, you are promised a call back, but not advised how long this will take. Some assurance here would be a good idea, such as a promise to call back within the hour.

These issues aside, this is a useful mobile service, and one which follows much in the way of mobile best practice, sending users to the mobile site, keeping it stripped down and easy to use,  as well as recognising the kinds of handsets customers are using and optimising for them.

It is also a service which is well suited to mobile, and by having a dedicated mobile site may help Auto Windscreens differentiate from competitors that don't currently have a mobile website.

Graham Charlton

Published 19 May, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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about 9 years ago

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