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  1. Heavy Chef March 2011: Tim’s Presentation on Building Great Mobisites Posted in Featured Articles, Heavy Chef News, Mobile Marketing, Concocted by Yolandi Janse van Rensburg April 5, 2011 4 comments

    As we’ve mentioned, we had the incredible opportunity to have Tim Bishop from Prezence Digital come talk to us about building great mobisites at last week’s Heavy Chef event in Joburg. A bunch of people came to us afterwards saying how amazing Tim’s presentation was. Now, we are very excited to be sharing his presentation with all of you who sadly could not attend the talk. Read Further

  2. Interview with Tim Bishop from Prezence Digital on Building Great Mobile Sites Posted in Featured Articles, Mobile Marketing, Concocted by Yolandi Janse van Rensburg April 1, 2011 10 comments
    “After last night’s informative Heavy Chef Session with the inimitable Tim Bishop,
    the founder of Prezence Digital, we asked him a few pointed questions on his
    thoughts and observations about building mobile sites in South Africa”
    You disagreed quite intensely with Jason’s sentiments on “Less Is More” in his
    post yesterday with regards to mobisites. Can you explain your view?
    “Less is more” is very much a design phrase and in most cases is absolutely true,
    however, this phrase cannot be used for ‘functionality’. Less functionality is
    definitely not more in your car, on your PC or on your website and is certainly not
    true on mobile websites. There is a huge misunderstanding in the fact that mobile
    sites have to be the poor cousins of their ‘web’ counterparts, but this misnomer is
    spawned by ignorance in the market place (including poor info being disseminated
    by trusted and so-called industry experts who claim to be mobile specialists) and
    the inability of ‘mobile’ agencies to deliver a well balanced technical experience on
    smaller devices.
    Mobi is massively powerful. In some cases, more powerful that its web counterpart.
    Users should have the choice to use as much functionality as they like. It is our job
    to give them that choice in an user-friendly way which is accessible for any kind of
    You speak a lot about the lack of progression in South African mobile
    development. What do you think SA brands need to do to catch up to their
    cousins abroad?
    I am not worried about the lack of progression of SA mobile development as I
    believe that some of us are on the forefront of technology and amongst the leaders
    in the world. These advancements, however, sit with a handful of companies
    in SA with limited direct brand exposure. The rest of the agencies who have
    the working relationships with the brands have simply added ‘Mobile’ to their
    list of services thinking that it is just a matter of scaling down the client’s web
    and campaign components. This process is called miniaturizing as opposed to
    properly ‘mobilizing’. It undermines the true value and ROI of mobile deployments.
    Brand owners ,of course, trust everything their agencies are telling them which
    immediately limits that brand to the mobile capabilities of their agency which at
    best is usually basic and naive. If brands want be at the forefront of mobile and
    enable extended reach to their customers (or potential new customers) it’s simply a
    matter of talking to the right people, researching and using the great examples out
    there as well as attending conferences or making sure that their agency does!
    Mobile in SA is pretty much where we were in web when Prezence started in 2002,
    very few are good at it, very few understand it, but many charging a fortune for it.
    Transactional functionality is not something you see often in SA mobisites.
    Why do you think this is?
    Mainly due to the points I raise above. It is not just internal technical limitation or
    lack of knowledge of those companies advising the brands. User experience design
    is infinitely more important on small devices and this has to be tightly woven into
    strong technical function. This combination is rare in SA right now.
    Transactional sites on smaller devices need a slightly different approach in
    user flow. Creating easy to use, secure transactional sites is somewhat of a
    craft that involves many aspects including technical ability, usability and a solid
    understanding of how all 6000+ possible devices will handle things.
    Remember that mobilizing is not just about enabling the people who use your
    website to gain access to you when on the move, it is also about reaching a further
    10m+ audience who do not have that privilege of desktop internet access. On a
    transactional front for accessing those people comes with its own set of problems.
    Alternative payment methods are very close to being realized, so start the work now
    and the customers will come.
    The Kulula example is a good one, it really offers no useful functionality whatsoever
    from a brand that is purely a transactional one (Very similar to SAA). At the moment
    on this site I can see how much I am going to miss my flight by, I can check the
    weather in where I should have been flying to if I had made my flight, and I can
    read all about how I could book a flight, a car, and change my booking if I wasn’t on
    my mobile! The simplest things are not even taken care of…. for example on their
    contact page. In mobile we have the oldest technology called ‘Click to call’ which acts
    like a hyperlink. This enables a phone number to simply be clicked and your phone
    will call it. On the Kulula site they don’t even do this, so you will need fetch a pen
    and paper (as you won’t be able to type it into your phone because you are browsing
    on it), squint to read the number, write it down, and then close down the mobi site
    and dial in the number and phone them! I don’t know who did this site and don’t
    particularly care, but no doubt good money was paid for it and it can only have been
    implemented by a company who does not even understand these basics of mobile
    access which is not really going to get us as mobile champions, Kulula or the Kulula
    user anywhere.
    Apologies, if this very poor user experience was Kulula saying to the agency.. “No
    guys, we want it to be impossible for the user to hassle us on the phone so make
    this basic thing as difficult as possible for them”… but I somewhat doubt it, but even
    if that was the case, there are times where us as agencies have to forget about the
    paycheck and do the right thing regardless!
    There may also be a strategy that surrounds the broader non-functionality and they
    are intentionally limiting it for some other reason unbeknown to us, but there is
    no ‘user’ or ‘technical’ reason why this mobile site could not be a fully e-commerce
    enabled mobi site which not only offers flight booking/changes but also other
    transactional functions such as online check-in, car hire and hotel bookings. It is
    especially easy on a site such as this (airline) due to no requirements for 3D secure
    type payments (although those are in the offing). It would still have a ‘less is more’
    design approach but instead of its current limited offering it could offer much more
    use and relevance to those wanting to access via their mobile phone. Transactional
    functionality is not restricted to smartphones, even the most basic of web enabled
    phones (available for R300 on pay as you go) have this ability.
    For me, this site demonstrates everything that is bad about the way SA brands and
    their agencies approach digital technology and it is clearly wrong and more valuable
    money goes down the drain. They are surely not doing it on purpose, but these guys
    just need to change who they get advice from when making decisions in the digital
    You’re behind some progressive mobisites like Ster Kinekor and Computicket.
    Can you give us a glimpse of how these sites are evolving? (if you’re subject to
    confidentiality ignore this Tim)
    Prezence built over 4 years ago now and is starting to show its
    age but all those years ago gave SA a glimpse (and a very big hint) as to what was
    coming in the mobile space and the importance of mobile commerce. Much has
    progressed in usability and handset detection and adaptation since then and we
    are very much looking forward to the release of SK2 ‘The sequel’ in a month or so.
    The new SK mobile site will recognize and adapt to the newer phones a lot better
    to give an enjoyable experience including geolocation, better quality trailers and a
    much slicker search and book process, but also offer everything the most basic user
    needs for mass penetration. More importantly it will be available to all mobile web
    users and will be bolting in all new methods of payments, wallets and tools to aid
    the unbanked and the ‘un-credit-carded’ along a constantly evolving roadmap as the
    technology involves.
    Computicket themselves have recently become a lot more than just an event ticket
    company with the addition of a very strong flights, hotel and car hire offerings.
    Needless to say, this will of course be mobilized to take advantage of the benefits
    that brings to the user. When mobilizing anything in Africa we look at deploying
    lowest common denominator technologies and a design approach to enable access
    for all, but have the ability to upwards enhance for the smarter phones. This
    essentially means that even through mobi technology we are able to detect the
    advanced features of some phones and automatically and subsequently enhance the
    mobi site’s features to take advantage of these. Examples of this include: GPS and
    mapping/directions capability, HD video and streaming audio as well as more user-
    functional enhancements such as Ajax, HTML5 and dynamic CSS.
    We’re seeing a significant growth in mobile browsing – how would a retailer
    like, say Pick n Pay, can take advantage of mobile?
    Well, in theory there is very little PnP could not do on their mobile site that they do
    on their web site and enable all their current commerce activities, but obviously for
    major ‘basket size’ sites (size meaning the number of items rather than their value)
    involving users purchasing large varieties of products in a single transaction on a
    small device comes with more challenges than using a large screen, keyboard and
    Whilst mobilizing a retailer with millions of products is not a problem (as great
    usability allows the user to drill down and find them), it is purely the amount and
    variety of items that a user may require on a weekly or monthly shop that would
    make usability slightly more of a challenge on a smaller device. That said, there is
    no reason why the functionality should not be there if you really did want it, after
    all, the technical functionality to add one item to a basket is the same as adding 500
    items, it just takes more effort on the user’s side to find and add the 500!
    PnP of course also allows you to save your large weekly or monthly shops. This
    helps mobile quite significantly as additions and amends to this saved basket of
    500 items is much less time consuming to order via mobile. In our view, there is no
    reason why you should exclude any possible digital functionality from mobile. If
    you made the effort to develop it for web or your other digital channels then there
    is twice as much reason (population usage) to make a little more of an effort and
    enable it for mobile.
    Mobile brings all sorts of other advantages to a major retailer such as a Pick n Pay
    such as real-time vouchering for redemption at the POS, basket suggestions as
    you walk through the store and in-store price scanning and comparisons. Every
    one of the customers walking around the store have a mobile phone in their hand,
    and this furthers the opportunities for a bricks and mortar retailer to enhance
    consumer interaction. For the non bricks and mortar retailers or those with much
    smaller basket sizes such as wine clubs, electronics, books, music and clothing, there
    is every reason to go mobile, however some of the biggest brands in this regard
    have not even activated ordering over traditional web channels. In the UK you will
    struggle to find a high street retailer who has not enabled online ordering and is
    not in the process of mobilizing those services. the logistics of affordable and safe
    delivery in SA can no longer be an excuse.
    Do you foresee people actually ordering and paying for groceries via their
    mobile phones?
    In certain circumstances absolutely (see above)… but why would we stop even the
    few if they wanted to, although not ubiquitous, there are handsets that would make
    this as easy as the web, and whilst it would probably be very much a long winded
    process on lower end handsets – if you had to do your shop and you did not have
    the luxury of a PC you would be grateful for the ability to do it. At this stage for a
    large grocer I think the focus would be in managing and adjusting their preselected
    monthly shop and those more premium items and packaged offers such as a case
    of ‘Winter wine collection’, ‘Braai for 4 hamper’, etc. This is where context comes
    in where we properly analyze why a user might be using the mobile to access the
    brand and the circumstances surrounding that access. The retailer is actually best
    positioned to determine what those ‘just in time purchases’ might be as well as
    the ‘Oh damn I forgot’, or ‘I cant be bothered’ packaged type products.
    The approach to getting all of these things right and providing a great mobile
    and product offering whilst taking the user, context, content and the technology
    into consideration is what Prezence call ‘mobilizing’. Just making it smaller is not
    “Thanks Tim – and thanks for doing a brilliant presentation at the Jozi Heavy Chef
    last night.”

    After last night’s informative Heavy Chef Session with the inimitable Tim Bishop, the founder of Prezence Digital, we asked him a few pointed questions on his thoughts and observations about building mobile sites in South Africa.

    Read Further

  3. Do People Click On Mobile Ads? Posted in Featured Articles, Mobile Marketing, Concocted by Fred Roed March 28, 2011 2 comments

    Ask yourself – have YOU ever clicked on a mobile advert? For that matter, have you ever clicked on any online advertising of any kind? I can’t remember when I last did. Sometimes, I get directed to a banner ad cos it’s so good – but that’s more about the ad, than the product that the ad is advertising. Read Further

  4. We Interview Digby on Building Mobile Commerce Communities Posted in Featured Articles, Mobile Marketing, Concocted by Yolandi Janse van Rensburg March 11, 2011 1 comment

    On a previous post Fred wrote on Heavy Chef, a discussion started around whether there are any good retail e-commerce mobile sites out there. Since mobile marketing and mobile sites seem to be a topic often debated, we asked, mobile commerce provider, Digby to chat to us about the subject.  Here’s what Vice President of Marketing, Dan Lowden had to say on mobile marketing and mobile commerce communities: Read Further

  5. Building a mobile site? Then you need to consider this… Posted in Featured Articles, Mobile Marketing, Concocted by Jason Bagley March 8, 2011 15 comments

    So you building a mobile website for your company or product and need some best practices, tips and advice? Listen up. Here are some of the most important things to consider when building a mobile site.

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