I know a thing or two about mobile websites. The last 4 years of my life have been spent obsessing over them. I wouldn't claim that the sites I run are the best in the world - but I've picked up a thing or two about how a successful mobile retail channel should work.
Nokia's Ovi gets everything wrong. I'm going to show you 25 easily avoidable mistakes in the new Ovi Store.
Here's how to make a successful downloads platform:
- Make it easy for your customers to buy things.
- Nope. That's pretty much it.
So, here's the front page of the Ovi Store.
Here's every error I can find on the above the fold page...
- Incomplete titles. "Star Trek Noki"? Surely "Nokia"? Looks sloppy and unprofessional.
- Poor descriptions. "Ringtones In Cinemas Now!"? Ringtones aren't in cinemas. Is that one ringtone or several I'll be downloading? If you don't tell me what it is I'm getting, why would I download it?
- Ratings. Why would you put unrated (or rated zero) content at the front of the store? You want your killer apps there.
- Search. Why do I need to click through to search? There should be a text field and button there, not a link.
- Colour differentiation. Using white and then light grey doesn't help customers easily scan across the page. A darker shade would help.
- Menu bar. Is there an order to it? Is there a reason it splits haphazardly over three lines? The longer the menu - the less space for content. As it is, it's a pretty poor use of space.
- No Nokia branding. I know they're trying to promote Ovi as a brand - but no one knows about it yet. The use of the Nokia logo would really help customers trust the store.
Let's assume we're reckless enough to click on "Star Trek Noki". What do we find?
Let's take this from the top. Don't forget, this is the Nokia Ovi Store's FIRST link. This is what they really want you to buy.
- Where's the description? What exactly am I buying? It turns out, this is the product placement tune in the new Star Trek film. Some descriptive text would help. I thought it was going to be the film's theme tune!
- The description - such as it is - appears half way down the page. Why do I have to scroll to see what I'm getting?
- Photos? Why do I need photos of a ringtone? Why are there "more" photos when there's only the one?
- The product photo is, essentially, black. A bit of colour to liven up the page wouldn't hurt.
- The review - why isn't it in English?
- Are the related links Games, Videos, Ringtones? Some context would help.
I clicked on download and got a blank page. Once I refreshed the page, the download started.
Files should be named. It makes it easier for the user to find in their filesystem, it looks more professional when downloading.
So, I play the file and what do I get
Add some fracking ID3 tags! It makes it easier for the user, it looks more professional and it costs the supplier nothing!
Gah! Fine. Ok. I'll go back to the store and grab something else. I click back and am presented with this monstrosity.
Nothing. Not even a page telling me how to get back. How is this meant to encourage me to buy more? This page should thank me for downloading. It should encourage me to buy more. In this case, I'd expect to see more Star Trek merchandise that Nokia want to sell to me.
Contrast this with the N-Gage download from the N-Gage site.
Once my download is completed, I get sent back to a nice page which lets me continue enjoying the store. Nokia have this technology for Ovi - but not in the Ovi Store. Bizarre.
Last, but not least - registration. I know that Nokia has to have a registration process - they don't have an MNO's advantage of seeing a customer's phone number. They also don't have an associated account which they can reuse - like Google or Apple.
Oh... No... Wait... They do. I've registered for a Nokia account, an Ovi account and a Mosh account. I don't seem to be able to use any of them with Ovi Store. NIH syndrome?
To be fair, the sign up process isn't too bad. Apple could learn a lot from it.
The only criticisms I have are the "Mobile Number" field should be masked so the user can only enter numbers. I also think that a captcha is a bit of an overkill on a mobile site.
Good to see that the example number is from Ofcom's reserved range.
Overall, this is a step backwards for Nokia. Mosh and the original Ovi were quite good. This is just a mess. By my count, there are at least 25 basic mistakes just from going to the front page and downloading a ringtone.
25 mistakes in 3 clicks.
[Disclaimer. In the interests of fairness, I work for Vodafone. Specifically looking after Vodafone live! a direct competitor to Ovi. The thoughts expressed in this post are my own and not those of my employer. I have nothing against Nokia; I kick up as much of a fuss about Apple and BlackBerry too!]