The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in web (5)


Favorite Tweets of the Day

@businessinsider iOS Is Half Of New Enterprise Mobile Activations

@greatestquotes "You just can't beat the person who won't give up." - Babe Ruth

Blogging is the democratization of publishing via @jeffbullas 

Fascinating piece by @: Identity and The Independent Web via @

The SXSW 2010 Web Awards Cover Sites from Corny to Vile

First published on Technorati, March 15, 2010
SXSW Webby Awards Red Carpet, Michael Anderson

A Vile Plutocrat, a blog that bills itself as "steel-toe boot in the ass of entitlement," and a web service called Cornify that claims to "optimize the happiness-per-user ratio online," were winners of the 2010 SXSW Web Awards, held Sunday night at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Cornify had the distinction of being the People's Choice winner, selected by an audience of 12,000 online voters.

The Web Awards ceremony is a popular tradition and highlight for many attendees of the Interactive portion of the SXSW conference. Past Web Award winner, Twitter, has helped the SXSW awards event position itself as a starmaker. Organizers parade finalists down a red carpet of bloggers and trade press, hoping to snap a picture of the next Evan Williams or Mark Zuckerberg.

The event began after a bizarre mix of local entertainers who performed sideshow circus-style acts, including a heavily tattooed woman gyrating inside a lighted hula hoop to a new age Asian instrumental track.

Local favorite, Gowalla, a Texas-based geo-social service that competes with location-based services (LBS) like FourSquare, won in the mobile category for best site optimized for handheld and portable devices. To some industry watchers, Foursquare appears to have taken an early lead in the LBS category, but Gowalla was expected to leverage its home field advantage at this year's show by integrating promotions around the community. As a result, exhibitors and party hosts encourage attendees to do check ins to receive conference swag or party invites.

The big winner was WolframAlpha, garnering the Best in Show accolades at this year's SXSW Web Awards. A highly obtuse piece of applied mathematics, WolframAlpha is a "computational knowledge engine" that generates output by combining free form data input and converting that into useful information available from its free website or through a mobile app, priced at $49.99.


Favorite Tweets of the Day - Fun With Infographics & Consumer Behavior

RT @thejordanrules: Very cool interactive visualization - The mobile intent index - a useful tool #stats -

RT @9swords: 20 incredible infographics, interactives and data visualizations

Amazing motion-graphics visualization video from @jess3 on State of the Internet - @techcocktail (RT @GeniusRocket)


Favorite Tweets of the Day

I've been doing some holiday message cleaning. And I found some gifts to start the year, which I am glad I didn't throw out with the gift wrapping.

@JasonSpector We need to be aware of why as much as how systems should be designed.

@exectweets "The man who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of all - doing nothing."--Ben Franklin

@edwardboches Comment to Millennial Marketing re: Will 2010 Be Digital Media Breakout Year

@gigaom How To Present Like Steve Jobs

@OpenHQR: 2010's Key Evolution: The Next Generation Web: To build something new, one may have to...


Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web - Is It Really a Competition?

There seems to be a raging debate in the mobile marketing arena about which will be the winning platform for mobile advertisers – the mobile application or the mobile web browser. I’d actually say it isn’t a fair fight.

Mobile applications should optimally use a process of integrating with the hardware and/or user interface of the software operating system, generally through application programming interfaces and a transaction engine or download manager, like the Apps Store or the Android Market. The browser, on the other hand, has limited direct access to hardware components (e.g, GPS, camera), yet depends on the software operating system for enablers like video playback. Browsers appear as a standalone application for retrieving and viewing standard web content on smartphones. The browser often requires a zoom-in to position content for reading, and different sites may or may not optimize page layout for a mobile experience, let alone for a particular device, screen size or aspect ratio. Apps tend to have a fixed layout purely intended for mobile display and can call a browser to support visualizing data outside the application UI.

The web provides a familiar metaphor to consumers for discovering content. App stores often have a merchandising architecture intended to promote new apps, top apps, of favorite apps. After that, a consumer must understand the categorization and information hierarchy to directly discover an app, so in either case search becomes the valuable solution.  It is possible from a web page to promote a downloadable app, and on Android devices there is a setting to enable downloadable apps from outside the device marketplace to have access to the device. In this case, a consumer might have an affinity with a brand, content or web service and see that there is solution to extend that relationship to their mobile device.  Added utility – capabilities enabled my the mobility of the user – can be a strong driver for a consumer to choose a mobile app.

For advertisers trying to leverage mobile, the notion that these two distinct user experiences require the same kind of consumer engagement is faulty.  The audience who doesn’t yet have an affinity for a brand won’t necessarily be motivated to discover an app on the shelf of the mobile device store unless it is highlighted and merchandised in the equivalent of a store “end-cap.”  Even though creating the mobile experience could be a tool to convert that consumer as a customer, it will not be enough to simply develop the app and get shelf space.  

First, an advertiser, publisher or content developer will need to determine the goal for their mobile experience – acquisition, loyalty, transactions, consumption – and then determine the right technical environment for accomplishing that goal.  If browser rendering can degrade an experience, then a mobile application can solve that. If there are hardware or application APIs that need to be leveraged, than an app will be better suited to integrate with them than the browser will.  If a mobile application is a desirable course of action, it does not mean that the mobile browser should be forgotten.  Consumers may still discover and engage with your brand through your website on their mobile device, and your application should at minimum be promoted, merchandised and supported through web pages, rendered in their device browser.

The initial choice for brands developing a mobile strategy shouldn’t be mobile application or mobile website. Mobile strategy must start with the consumer, and the relationship you hope to develop with them to engage with your brand. That likely leads to choosing to leverage both approaches.