Dining on Mobile

It’s Portland Dining Month so let’s talk about food. Portland is a city on the go. We walk and ride everywhere. Our feet, bikes, street cars, and insanely tall and impractical unicycles are our preferred modes of transportation. Portland is a food, beer, and cocktail city. We are a Happy Hour culture. We are looking for the best (and cheapest) drinks as a prelude to an incredible meal, followed by late-night nightcaps, and finishing with guilty pleasure snacks (on the cheap of course).
The first stop might be planned from a laptop at work or home and all the full featuredness of the internet that provides, but chances are the second and third stops are going to be planned from your phone. Most likely with second or third drink fingers.
How can businesses help us out, while at the same time sell their product? Do we need an incredibly cool immersive experience requiring us to enter in information on our hopes and dreams in order to pair our feelings with our food? No. Instead, I think we’d all agree that we want a more streamlined experience that places our goals (to find an inexpensive, well-rated dining experience close-by, quickly) at the forefront of the design with the content we need (location, hours, phone number, and menu—with prices).
Your site might be amazing but if I can’t get to the restaurant I don’t care. What’s more important, your diners coming back time and time again for your incredible locally sourced, free range, humanely treated (insert main dish here)? Or a site (though beautiful) that leaves your diners searching desperately for a phone number hidden at the bottom of the page in 8 pt font not readable by phones for automatic dialing to make a reservation?
How many times have we heard from friends in the food business, chefs on TV, and every foodie out there, “It’s all about the food!” So why are we not spending more time making sure that the diners can find that food? There are so many little things that can be done quickly and easily. Here is what I’d like to see in my mobile dining experience:

  • Simple: My dream. Your logo + 3 big buttons above the fold.
  • Simple: As few images as possible. Images mean load times, load times mean frustration, and frustration means customer bounces.

  • Simple: Design for multiple devices. If you are already taking note of #’s 1 and 2 than you are ahead of the game. Not everyone has an iPhone and not everyone’s Android is running the most current software. In fact a full 65% of users are 2 food-levels behind. Most are eating Gingerbread when they should be enjoying an Ice Cream Sandwich.

  • Simple: Use an “M-Dot” URL. Google recognizes and indexes sites appropriately. Make one click a reality with “”
  • Simple: Your contact info and hours on EVERY page so no matter where I’ve navigated, when I’m ready to find you there are no back buttons involved.

If it’s all about the food let’s make sure your food gets to your customers.



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