This article was originally written for, and appeared in, Fashion’s Collective (www.fashionscollective.com)
The second installment in our “Designing Your Mobile Strategy like a Fashion Collection” series, the addition of style elements to the fundamental principles of content, commerce, and location add functional utility and social connection to the mobile app. As in fashion design, style components in the mobile design construct create balance and proportion in the app. They provide the silhouette with differentiated capabilities defined by the objectives of the brand and the efficiency they look to present to their audience.
There is a confident elegance and sophistication in simplicity, so, when designing a successful mobile app strategy, a strict focus on both function and form is essential. A vibrantly colored app that provides no convenience to its audience becomes cutting room clutter, adjoining an adverse strategy that is too conservative and fails to connect on a visceral level. Behind every great fashion brand is a determined artistic vision and an authentic sense of purpose. Incorporating purpose in the application strategy from a consumer perspective involves a deep understanding of how to integrate functional utility with creative direction.
In fashion design, there are four fundamental elements to consider: shape and form, line, color, and texture. In mobile application design, the same basic components apply. Vital to the Form of a profitable app is social integration. Providing a platform for C2C communication within the app framework allows shoppers the ability to Like or Share product or content with their community of like-minded fashion enthusiasts on Facebook. In the example of the Van Cleef & Arpels iPhone app, users can check-in to poetic places in Paris like the Champs- Elysees via Foursquare. The ties between mobile and social are inextricable and must be a considered facet of the app design.
Certainly the C2C dialogue is of major importance, but the Line of communication directly from the brand is key for a consistent informational flow and audience engagement. Regularity and accuracy are crucial in this unidirectional interaction effort. Much like SMS mobile marketing text campaigns in the mobile web realm, push notifications must be effectively leveraged to drive proactive brand communications in a comprehensive application strategy. These interactions may take the form of promotions, private event details and invitations, or information concerning new product. Regardless, push notifications can be delivered upon opt-in approval whether the application is opened or not – providing continuous lines of brand communication to the audience. Mobile cannot exist in a vacuum. It is a medium that must be promoted, like any other channel.
Providing Color and Texture to the application involves the creation of uniquely branded “mobile moments.” Developing and deciphering mobile-specific cases that speak to value is an effective way to provide utility to shoppers’ lives while remaining in line with the brand experience. The Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder iPhone application is an excellent example of creating a uniquely branded mobile moment. The app allows users to browse the collection, save rings to a wish list, place a ring on the device screen to find the correct size, and schedule a consultation over the phone or at a Tiffany location in the vicinity. The Tiffany instance is focused on resolving a unique case in line with the brand and is effectual in its focus on completing a closed loop task.
In designing a comprehensive mobile application strategy, developing upon the basics with stylistic components and utility must be at the forefront. Providing a platform for your enthusiasts to connect with the brand and with others that share their passion, consistently communicating with your audience to always be visible and valuable, and delivering on closed loop mobile moments in line with the brand experience – these are the elements that provide the shape, line, color, and texture necessary to bring your app to life.