My favorite new feature from iOS6 is really an old feature from the 2008 Blackberry Storm days, easily sharing photos directly from the camera to Facebook! That function got me hooked on smartphones back in the day where I realized that social media and mobile phones are perfect for each other. Social media is about instantly sharing your life with your friends, family and followers; your life is mobile, and your mobile phone is with you all the time. What took Apple so long?

So, why am I talking about this here? Well it’s a great example of how important design is in creating compelling, intuitive and useful function. I call this the “mobile hook.” Yes, I could still get a photo on Facebook from my iPhone before iOS 6, but I had to tap out of the camera app, open the Facebook app, tap to upload a photo, find the photo in my gallery and then finally upload it. Too hard.

Some examples of a few Mobile Hooks:

Remember when Amazon was the first app a few years ago to use the camera as a scanner to check prices while in a competing store? I saved $100 on Guitar Hero while in a Wal-Mart a few years back. What a brilliant use of native mobile technology in extending their brand to a smartphone. They knew they needed more than a great mobile product catalog and mCommerce shopping experience to drive engagement and loyalty on these new devices.

Another great example is how Walgreens is getting people into their stores through a really cool and easy “refill by scan” functionality, and an ability to order prints directly off your camera role and having them waiting at the nearest store. Of course both of these apps still have the features and content you would expect them to have, but without these mobile hooks they would disappoint and possibly become one of your dreaded “dead apps.”  I discussed this recently in a few of my webinars. It is essential that you find your “mobile hook” in your apps to drive regular end-user engagement after the initial download, and ensure that your customers don’t relegate your brand into that dreaded dead app category! I plan to explore this further in my next blog. Stay tuned.