Fast Company

eBay Mobile VP Steve Yankovich On How You Can't Make The Mobile Experience Simple Enough

What's the biggest lesson you learned in 2012?

"The biggest lesson we’ve learned in 2012, and over the course of amassing 100 million downloads of our apps, is that you can’t make the mobile experience simple enough for the consumer. You can’t just shrink down the web and expect the same consumer engagement on a mobile device. Everything we do needs to be simple and personalized, then simplified even more--this is critical when it comes to searching for, buying, or selling products vs. other activities you can do on a mobile device.

"The overarching behavior we see on mobile is the 'snacking' of content--people use smartphones in short bursts and their attention spans are short – as they browse their phones on the way to work, on the couch, in-store or at their child’s soccer game. When you’re at your computer at home you’re planted, but on mobile anything you are doing can take you off task. We’ve found that people will give us 30-60 seconds to connect them with the things they need and love--it needs to be at the moment of inspiration."

How do you think you'll apply it in the year ahead?

"We’re focused on enabling people to shop whenever, and wherever they want. We are at an inflection point, with mobile becoming the digital nexus of consumers’ lives. Compare the amount of time you spent last week in a store or shopping online--maybe an hour or two--vs. the 16 waking hours a day, seven days a week that you have a smartphone with internet access in your hand. The opportunity for us is to be a part of people’s daily mobile activity, but it needs to be frictionless--we need to develop our technologies so it’s almost like magic for the consumer. Browsing and buying or selling should be as simple as taking a picture using image recognition--that’s where we’re applying our learnings."

More Lessons for 2013 from some of today's most innovative business thought leaders here.

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