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Retailer Mothercare launched its first mobile commerce site this week.
The user interface was designed in-house, while the site was developed by Usablenet, which has also worked on mobile sites for John Lewis and M&S.
Site search and navigation
Mothercare has opted for a simple mobile site design, and one which has been optimised for smartphones. Visitors to the site from other devices will see a more basic version.
As well as a prominent search box, the site has very clear navigational options, represented by 12 'buttons':
This is a good approach for a site which will be accessed by people on touchscreen phones, as it avoid the problem of clicking on the wrong link.
As users navigate through the various sections of the site, filtering options allow them to narrow the available product range, and make the remaining results more relevant:
Research suggests that people want the user experience on mobile commerce sites to match that of desktop sites, meaning the same level of detail, product information and functionality that helps them decide on and make a purchase.
Mothercare achieves this with its product pages. There is a good amount of detail (product specs, suitable ages, dimensions etc) for items such as prams and car seats, as well as multiple product photos:
Any product reviews from the main website are shown on mobile, and calls to action are nice and clear:
The checkout has been optimised for mobile users, and also avoids making new customers go through a registration process before checkout, only asking for an email.
The checkout is well-designed and works well, but it is split over several pages, which means more page loads for users who may be on less than perfect 3G connections.
The more page loads, the slower the process is for users, so having things like selecting delivery options on a separate page should perhaps be avoided.
Mobile commerce is growing, with 10m UK consumers conducting a transaction by mobile last year, but unfortunately, 83% experienced some kind of problem when making a purchase.
This means that retailers need to ensure that mobile commerce sites are usable and designed to make payments as easy as possible, and Mothercare's site fits the bill.