Recent posts

Mango’s new mobi hits the sweet spot

I have to applaud Mango Airlines. While all the other low budget airlines are struggling to keep airborne, they’ve come out with something fairly revolutionary (in South African terms) - a mobisite with booking capability!

I’ve said many times how great it would be if more businesses would enable actual booking, ordering and purchasing capabilities on mobile and this is an example of someone thinking ahead and realizing the possibilities!

The question remains whether Mango have done a good job with it. I tend to say, yes. It’s simple and effective with no frills and that’s something we like in a mobisite!

They’ve put all the focus on booking so there’s very little else on offer. When you click on “Book your flight” you can follow the exact same process you would on the main site to do just that. The writing is all legible and the process completely optimized for the mobile platform. They could have simply replicated the web experience but it would have been clumsy and ineffective. Thankfully they realized that.

If you already have a booking you can check your details easily using the “My Booking” link. I think it’s great that they also have an “Important Update” section – presumably for customers who are on the move and need to know if there have been any major delays etc.

I only have one complaint about this very smart and seamless mobisite. The special offers are not displayed or offered anywhere? I know for a fact that Mango are running a 24 hour sale today, but nowhere on the mobisite is there any mention of it.

The mobisite is very new though and perhaps this is something that will be added in the future. Overall I love the clean, hassle-free interface. It’s fast, efficient and extremely handy.

Well done Mango for leading the way and understanding the true power of the mobile market.


5fm’s mobisite is a chart flopper

It would have been so easy to create a really cool, interactive mobisite for 5fm. I would have loved to have told you to go out there and check it out immediately because it’s just so brilliant and fun and awesome, but I can’t. All I can tell you is that it sucks.

I’m not sure why 5fm would choose to ignore such a crucial area of their brand. The market they appeal to is the mobile generation. They broadcast in Africa, where the majority of internet users go online on their phones and a great deal of people enjoy listening to the radio on their phones. So why is their mobisite so dismal?

Let’s start at the beginning. You wouldn’t know they even had one if you didn’t search expressly for a mobile option. There is no redirect from the main site. The home page is unexciting and, like the rest of it, features mostly barely legible writing matched with teeny-tiny pixellated images drowning in a sea of black background.

There are three reasons I, as a listener, would want to access 5fm on a mobisite and all of them involve interaction: to engage with DJ’s, to listen online and to enter a competition.

The only way I can interact with a DJ is to click on their profile and email them using a contact form. The DJ profiles are so basic, they don’t even have a Twitter handle or Facebook link in case you’d want to interact that way.

In all the menus of the mobisite, not one gives you the option to listen live! You need to exit the mobisite altogether and search or head to the main site to find the live listening area.

The competitions are is pretty dismal too. Both comps invite you to call in to enter or tell you to go to Facebook. Nowhere can you enter a competition directly from the mobisite. There’s a Coolness Radar promotion happening, but the only way you can take part is via Twitter. Why not just add a few buttons where people can vote right away? I don’t find this very cool…

I’ve never really liked the main website. I find it disorganised and unattractive and even though they’ve made some positive changes, navigating it still makes me ill and this mobisite has the same affect on me.

One can only hope that some of the advertising revenue from the Steve ads is going towards designing new mobile applications for 5fm that will actually allow their listeners to get involved no matter where they are!


McDonalds mobisite is lacking in taste

For some its’ an occasional guilty pleasure, while for others it’s a do or die daily affair – I’m talking about McDonalds. It’s quick, easy and often more affordable than other healthier options and ultimately McD’s know that convenience is King.

I’m just not sure why they (McDonalds SA) didn’t remember that when they created their mobisite. It’s simple enough, but I just expected so much more from a big brand like this! Interactivity? A few fun extras for the kids? PRICES?
Yes, this is the strangest thing. They have an entire menu on this mobisite (and website) with not a single price in sight?! Do they take for granted that people are so familiar with their meal deals that they know the prices off by heart? Do they think the pretty pictures will lure you in no matter what the meals cost?

All I know is that I’ve never encountered a menu with no prices on it on a website or mobisite. Add to this the fact that the menu is the main focus of the mobi and you’ve got to wonder why they even bothered? Although the menu tab on the front page looks as though it should close so that you can view the other areas clearly, it doesn’t and results in unnecessary scrolling – plus, in my mind it just looks a bit messy and unfinished.

On the plus side, all their latest specials are highlighted on the top of the home screen in turn as well as under the Promotions tab. But the promotions are such a huge part of the McDonalds experience, I’m surprised that they didn’t do something extra to make them jump out at you or incorporate something like competitions or kids games to entice and delight their littlest fans who, let’s face it, are there biggest and most captive audience? Their main site has a ‘Kids Zone’, why not add it to the mobi?

The Store Locator is very basic, doesn’t give you the option of GPS location and I couldn’t help but notice that my local branch’s address was incorrect.

All of this, to me, results in a mobisite that doesn’t really add much to the company and certainly doesn’t reflect the massive popularity of the brand. It just seems a little careless. Maybe they’re still busy with it?


How to: List your business on Foursquare

Before we launch into the ‘How’, we’re just going to touch briefly on the ‘Why’. You may be wondering why it’s a good idea to list your business on Foursquare? Perhaps you’re wondering what the hell Foursquare is?!

Foursquare is a type of social network that allows people to ‘check in’ using their mobile devices and share their locations with other people. As your check-ins add up, you earn badges and eventually can become the ‘mayor’ of a place once you’ve visited it more than anyone else.

It may seem like a silly concept to some, but for certain types of businesses in particular it can be an incredibly useful marketing tool. Every time people check into your establishment, other people see, which raises awareness for you. Those people can also leave reviews and add pictures, which will further highlight your place to people who come across your Foursquare listing.

Once you are the verified ‘owner’ of a Foursquare listing, you can also use it to advertise specials and promotions and reward your loyal customers.

1. First thing’s first, you’ll need to create a Foursquare profile for yourself (you, not your business). You can do this through Facebook or manually.

2. Once, your profile is created, find the Search bar at the top of the page and search for your business. You’re going to need to make sure that there isn’t an existing listing for your place already. If there isn’t, you’ll see it may bring up similar businesses nearby. Look underneath the results on the left hand side of the page and you’ll see a small link that says, ‘Add a new place to Foursquare’. Click it to continue.

3. Fill in your business details in the form. Make sure your business name and address are spelled correctly. If you’re unsure about how to phrase your address, click the Style Guide link for clarification. Continue reading

KZNPO’s mobi hits the high notes

In an age where classical music seems to be dying out and national orchestras not always well supported, it’s exciting to see that the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO) has a mobisite. Embracing digital media to market their brand is a major step in bringing classical orchestral music to the masses.

The overall design of this mobisite is great. I like the look and feel a lot. The colours and images chosen really suit the KZNPO brand of class and sophistication as well as creativity. The buttons and tabs decorated with music notes especially are a cute touch that endeared the site to me immediately.

As far as content goes, there’s quite a lot going on here. That said, it’s all valuable. The About Us section details the history and current state of the KZNPO, lists the musicians and staff, advertises vacancies by instrument and gives all relevant information on booking the KZNPO for functions.


Under the World Symphony Series, you’ll find event listings for all up-coming performances in the series. I was impressed that this was kept up to date and each event had comprehensive information on the works to be performed etc. This is definitely one of the most important areas of the mobi. This is the info music-lovers will most likely need on the go. That said, there’s an ‘Featured Event’ button at the top of the Homepage too. When clicked, you won’t find anything there. This led me to believe there were no performances, until I looked under the World Symphony Series section. In the same area is a Photo Gallery button, which also currently has no pics. Granted, pictures probably aren’t high on your priorities for this mobisite, but I’m of the opinion that, if the button/tab exists, it should take you somewhere/ serve a purpose – otherwise, get rid of it.

The Community Engagement area is also chocabloc with valuable content from their youth development strategy to (very interestingly) and invitation for new scores!

Under subscriptions, you’ll find everything you need to know in terms of buying season tickets, including a full price model and benefits. This, to me, is also an extremely important area. Maybe so much so that it needs a flashing ‘Buy Tickets’ button on the Homepage? Just a thought…

Overall I think the KZNPO mobisite is well designed and contains a wealth of information – though sometimes I feel like it’s a bit wordy for a mobile platform. They should consider reworking some of the blurbs so that people don’t need to read quite as much to get the point.


Pick ‘n Pay’s mobi is a modern shopper’s dream

Personally I feel that Pick n Pay are doing a lot right with their current marketing strategy. Their Smartshopper cards build loyalty and their website invites continual interaction by giving customers the option of signing up and creating recipe books and grocery lists online. These are the kind of touches that appeal to a modern-day shopper like myself.

Now, with their mobisite, they’ve added a new level to that functionality, giving their shoppers the chance to access their grocery lists and recipes from their phones.

While the main site is sprawling and choc-a-bloc with information and options, they’ve resisted the urge to add all of this to the mobi, which is wise.
Instead, they’ve chosen the key areas smartly, including a store locator, specials, recipes and then the member content – the recipe book and grocery list generator.

The store locator is a bit odd. One would think a brand as large as PnP with so many stores would choose right away for a GPS location-based solution. Instead, you have to pick a province/area and then type in a keyword to find your nearest store. The problem is, the results differ depending on what keywords you enter! For example, I typed in Durban North, but my local Hyper did not come up. Only when I typed in Hyper did it appear. Surely it would’ve made more sense to just give the user the option to find their closest store via GPS or even simply pick a branch off a list based on their nearest suburb? Continue reading

Wimpy’s mobi design is a WIN

There’s nothing worse than when a big business or organisation has a mobisite that just doesn’t match their brand identity at all. It stinks of someone just not putting in the effort.

But Wimpy have come to the party with a mobisite design that is fresh and uncluttered and ultimately represents the Wimpy South Africans know and love. It’s bold and playful but delivers all the essential content.

I particularly like the layout of the home screen. With four simply but eye-catching red blocks, they’ve effectively told you quickly and visually what you can find on the mobisite: the menu, the store locations, contact details and current promotions.

Again, some thought has gone into what Wimpy consumers will want from the site. I know that one of my highlights of going to Wimpy is checking what new promotions they have on arrival. It’s important to maintain something like this though. Too many businesses add a specials area to their mobisite (or website) but fail to update the information regularly. This only leads to disappointment and frustration for loyal customers.

A fun aspect of the mobisite is their Emoticon Builder app. Running alongside their Smiley mug promotion,the app can connect with Facebook and allows you to create your own unique smileys – something which, let’s face it, everyone wishes they could do on Whatsapp or BBM! It’s things like this that keep the Wimpy brand (and mobisite) fun and playful, but ultimately add up to great marketing.

Another positive thing about this mobisite is the fact that you can choose to either search manually for a store or allow location information which will find the nearest one to you. Most mobis generally have one or the other.

The menu is also nicely done. It’s a lot of information but it’s neatly tucked away into accurate categories that make browsing simple. The writing is small, but not illegible and the vegetarian options are clearly visible.

The only thing that could improve this mobi is if you could actually place an order for delivery using it. (That said, I’m pretty sure Wimpy doesn’t do deliveries.) It’s fantastic and proves to me and other Wimpy-lovers that Wimpy are serious about the growth and evolution of their brand.


Sheet Street’s mobisite is a dream come true

I was surprised by how much I liked the Sheet Street mobisite. It’s not a store I frequent that often, but when I do, I inevitable find a few things I wouldn’t mind buying.
Considering Sheet Street is not considered a luxury retailer, I was surprised at how classy their mobisite was. Slick, clean and well-thought out, I really enjoyed using it.

The home page is uncluttered. They haven’t felt the need to share all their company news or history with you. Rather, they realised that, if you were going to the Sheet Street mobi, you were probably trying to find a branch or an item.

Finding a branch is easy enough with the branch locator, however, it’s always nicer to have a bit of automatic geo-location.

What’s really cool is the comprehensive product catalogue they’ve included. The products are all neatly arranged into sensible categories and clearly priced with well-sized pictures, ideal for any size phone. A few of the pics failed to load but far more were spot on and loaded quickly and easily.

Another nice thing they’ve added to the catalogue is the option to share the product of your desire directly to your Facebook or Twitter. It’s a simple thing, but very thoughtful when one considers that people like to share just about everything online nowadays! Why not show everyone the bathroom set you’re planning on purchasing this weekend?!

It’s actually so well organised, it’s like a little mini online store, which makes me think that perhaps that’s their long-term goal. They have a members login area where account holders can manage their accounts too. What would be awesome is if they could somehow link them so that members could use their accounts to purchase items on their mobile devices!

Though I didn’t find any special offers or sale items displayed on the home page (something I like to see on mobis) they did have a nice, simply competition running where users can win R1000 by answering a question and providing details.

The Sheet Street mobisite is a real triumph of design and thoughtfulness. You can see they really considered their customers and had some foresight when they put it together.

It’s positively…dreamy.


MHub brings mobile to the masses

As you already know from our regular Mobisite reviews, we at Safindit have a particular passion for mobile – and now we can show you just how much!!

We have been hard at work over the past 18 months to grow and update Safindit’s listings and now we hope to take it a step further by allowing users to discover information via mobile too!

We are proud and excited to announce the arrival of MHub – an awesome new platform brought to you by the Safindit megaminds.
MHub allows all local businesses to create a mobisite in minutes, that will help them to take advantage of the growing number of consumers who use their handsets to find service providers.

Anyone can have a mobisite with MHub, no matter how big or small! By making use of the Safindit API any business that has an existing listing with Safindit, will find their information will come up automatically when they do a search. Then it’s simply a matter of making any updates or changes and submitting the form.

Within seconds you’ll have a fully functional mobile website that you can share with others using your MHub url or even using a custom QR code, which is generated by the MHub engine. You can download your unique QR Code that directs people to your mobisite and add it to emails or print it and stick it on your business premises, vehicles or products.

Watch our video below to see how MHub works! Then go to to create your own free mobisite!

3 Tips to find your online consumer

It’s the third instalment of this new feature & today we’ll be honing in on a specific but elusive area of online marketing – the online consumer. Because the internet is a giant, ever-evolving beast and society is being influenced constantly by new internet-fuelled trends, painting a picture of a ‘typical’ online consumer is not really possible. There are ways to try and stay involved in the conversation though.

1. Follow the Conversations

There’s a reason why social media marketing became so huge. It was easy to see what people were talking about and what products and trends they ‘liked’. It seems fairly obvious, but the truth is, you need to be constantly aware of what people are talking about and sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Pinterest in order to ‘get to know’ your consumers. Know what’s trending on Twitter & Youtube and try and figure out why that one seemingly silly picture or video is doing the rounds from Cairo to Cape Town.

2. Sign Up

You don’t have to trawl the internet daily to get up-to-date information. Sign up to relevant newsletters or create an aggregated newsfeed using your favourite sources on Google Reader. Let the information come to you. You may feel a bit ill when you find an Inbox filled to the brim with ‘junk’, but after reading it all, you could be able to formulate a picture of what is going on out there in the web.

3. Understand the Medium

Try to understand what kind of people would prefer which online platforms and use that knowledge to figure out where & how to position yourself. While people on Facebook tend to spend a lot of time discussing things, people on Pinterest tend to speak with their pin choices. It’s interesting & helpful to look at the personality types behind the different media.

Read: How do we get to know the online consumer? & Follow Digitlab to get more up-to-date research on the online consumer.

Also, check out this infographic of online consumer behaviour around the world.

3 Steps Toward Online Awareness

In our second instalment of our new feature, we’re once again looking at ways that you can harness the internet to sell your brand & how to brand your business for the online world!

1. Who are you?

Before you do anything (online or otherwise) you should spend some time thinking about what your brand actually is! As Peter Perfect says, “Change your image, change your life!”.

If you’re going to try and compete with the massive network of business out there on the internet, you need to know where you fit in amongst them, and more importantly, how to stand out from them!

Read: Try this online quiz to help you figure out what your Brand Archetype is!

2. Blog for your Life!

For those who don’t write or read blogs, they seem like silly things. But they are an undeniable tool in your online toolbox. They give you the chance to tell the unique story of your business and its people, one post at a time.

You can infuse a blog with any kind of personality and make it creative, informative or funny. It’s a perfect way to soft-sell your products and services by telling a story. Blogging will show people that you are proud and passionate about your business and increase brand loyalty.

Read: The Business Blog R-evolution

3: Stagnant Social Profiles Suck

It’s one thing to not have social media accounts at all, but another thing to neglect the ones you do have. It may not seem like such a big deal, but it is. Increasingly social media isn’t just used to connect socially but for business too.

If your profiles look old and neglected, people take for granted that your business is too! If it looks like you don’t take time to engage with your customers online, people assume you won’t do the same in reality. Even if you just supply one update per day or two or three per week, you will be doing your business a great service.

Read: 7 Reasons Businesses Are Still Afraid of Social Media

Gumtree’s Mobisite Sells Itself

It took a while but eventually South Africans caught up with the rest of the world and realised the power of Gumtree. Today, it’s arguably the country’s most popular free classifieds website with locals using it to find everything from houses to pets, cars to jobs and… other weird things too.

After using the website recently to look at property, I noticed a few months back that they didn’t seem to have a mobisite or mobile app. Seeing as I was mostly browsing using my phone and tablet, I found it frustrating and odd that such a popular site wouldn’t be prioritizing something like this. So, when I opened up Gumtree on my phone on the weekend, I was delighted to see that I was redirected to a mobisite. (I’m still waiting on the app, but hopefully that’s coming soon…)

Overall, it’s very simple and certainly not pretty. But for a practical site like this where people are searching for information on the go, it does its job.

The home page allows you to pick your city, although you can also allow location settings and it will find you. (You can switch between cities by clicking on the city in the top left hand corner) Once you’re in the right city, you head to the next page which lists all the ad categories. After you’ve selected the category, you can select more specifics. One thing that bothered me here is that the titles on the next page don’t have any capitals? I know it seems a silly thing to nitpick on, but all the others do and it just looks sloppy?

Browsing the ads is easy though. The visibility and font size are good for most screens and the prices are clearly displayed. Also, if you’re looking for something specific, the Search feature works pretty well. Continue reading

Shak’s Mobisite is Pretty Sharp

Anyone who’s ever been to one of the Shak Restaurants will know that they are unique bastions of rustic bliss. While the Prawn Shack rests on the sandy shoreline of the KZN North Coast, Buds on the Bay is nestled in the unlikely but equally charming site of the Durban Harbour.

Both restaurants have their own sort of legend, fraught with stories of spicy bunnies, deadly drink combos and dancing on tables. Clearly they felt they owed it to their cult following to step things up in the publicity realm and in recent years (and months) their website has been updated, their social media pages given some love and now we find they also have a mobisite.

The look and feel is great and reflects the Shak brand well, mimicking the full website’s funky styling without overdoing it. There are essentially three mini sites in one here : the Shak Restaurants home page, where you can find out more about the brand, the Prawn Shak Restaurant site and the Buds on the Bay site. Though this seems like a lot of information to get into one mobisite, it’s done seamlessly thanks to a home page that points you straight in the right direction, without stopping off for a tour along the way.

That said, I do feel that they’ve spent a bit too much time on the long and rambling descriptions hidden beneath the tabs. The Long Lazy Lunch is an example. The point is, they offer an 8 course meal that you can eat over the course of an afternoon, but they spend so much time blathering on about the mood, that the facts are lost. I found this applied to a few of the menus, and when you’re dealing with fairly small writing, in a mobile setting, it;s just not getting the point across. I realize that this has nothing to do with the actual ‘functionality’ of the mobisite, but it certainly adds to the overall user experience. The addition of menus such as ‘The Rules of the Beach/Bay’ are also a bit frivolous for a mobisite.

One of the things that makes these venues so unique is their rustic settings. Visually, they are interesting places and yet, the only visuals on offer are three tiny pics at the bottom of each restaurant page. You’re redirected to their Facebook pages for more pics. I understand that images are low on the priority list for mobisites, but in this case, it would have been nice to include a couple at least because they would certainly add to the enticement.

I noticed that the mobisite also included menus for upcoming events at the restaurants. This is all good and well if you plan on keeping this information updated. I hate visiting websites where I’m confronted with old news. If you can’t keep the events up to date, rather leave them out altogether. It just looks unprofessional.

Though I have picked holes in the content, overall I found it to be pretty user-friendly, info-rich, quick and nice looking.


Beachcomber’s Mobisite is a Slice of Paradise

Call me crazy, but I’ve never had any major hankering to go to Mauritius. It’s just that I feel like there are so many other places that interest me more. So, it’s saying something that Beachcomber’s mobisite actually made me want to go!

Slick, stylish and convenient in much the same way you might expect their resorts to be, the mobisite delivers on pretty much every front.

The home page is unfussy allowing you to quickly acccess information with minimum scrolling. In fact, minimal scrolling is a recurring feature that I particularly like about this mobisite.
Click on the Hotels tab and you will find a list of available resorts, which, once opened, will give you a concise but worthwhile overview of the hotel in question.

But this is not the highlight. If you look at the bottom of each hotel profile, you’ll see a little button that says ‘Gallery’. Also, at the top of the Home page, you’ll find a Gallery tab.

Usually when browsing a mobisite, the last thing you want to do is look at a gallery. That’s because nine times out of ten the picture sizing is not right for your screen and it takes eons to load, wasting valuable data on your phone. This is not the case here. Go to each gallery and you’ll find a neat selection of conveniently sized pictures that load quickly, giving you just the kind of tantalizing glimpse of paradise that makes you desperate to punch that little ‘Quote me’ button at the bottom of the screen…

When it comes to this kind of tourism, Beachcomber clearly understands that a picture sells a thousand holidays.

One thing that personally irks me is the lack of actual pricing on the site, however, very few luxury resorts do offer up that information without you personally requesting it. (I’m the kind of person that wants to know immediately and plan my trip, rather than wait between 3 hours and 3 days to get an email response – but that’s just me.)

Clearly displayed special offers and package deals are also a firm favourite with me and here we have another example of this! Click on these areas and you are bound to find any information you have been looking for (except the actual price of a holiday) and you will find yourself jetting off to your island paradise in no time at all.

The Beachcomber mobisite is fast, efficient and highly user-friendly, but it’s also able to do something extra by showcasing its’ product well and without the aid of a full website. I’d totally fly off to paradise with it.