By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Captive portals for accessing public Wi-Fi are destined to be around for a long time still – and getting the UI right can mean the difference between happy Wi-Fi users and no users at all. A new solution from the service management experts at Aptilo Networks delivers a no-brainer smartphone user journey while applying surveys and sponsorships to monetize the service. It’s effective, Aptilo says.
Conventional wisdom says captive portals should be designed on a single page with no scrolling. Aptilo Networks now argues that breaking down the onboarding experience into multiple screens simplifies and speeds up the user journey and – importantly – allows the venue owner to monetize the service effectively through targeted sponsorships and ads. Aptilo’s new survey and simplified captive portal UX feature was released this past May.
The idea is to use a set of simple touchable icons on each page of the user journey. “This means you can touch through the survey with one hand really quickly, which is useful if you’re on the run through an airport or mall and need your other hand for carrying your bag,” says Johan Terve, VP Marketing at Aptilo Networks. “There’s even a good chance that your browser will auto-fil your email into the only field requiring typing, which means nearly zero inconvenience to the user,” he says.
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And getting the user journey right makes all the difference when it comes to monetizing public Wi-Fi. Aptilo says that one Wi-Fi service provider client achieved a 15% uptick in successful signups overnight after launching a survey-style captive portal, such as Aptilo’s. “And of course that translates into an immediate 15% increase in sponsorship revenue,” Johan Terve says.
The last page typically presents sponsorship options – for example from the various retailers at the mall or airport – to the user based on his or her inputs. Survey steps can include questions about personal interests, home country, age bracket, and so on – either as text or as a selection of icons. All of this is configured via the Aptilo Service Management Platform, Johan Terve explains. He also says that the system can be set up to cycle through different surveys for returning users.
“In general, people will accept that they have to give up some information in order to access a free Wi-Fi service. The challenge is to make this as pleasant a user experience as possible. We believe we’ve developed one of the best ways of doing this,” Johan Terve says.