|Your website, my phone|
Posted: 2 July 2012
ven before the rapid adoption of smartphones in South Africa – Google’s Our Mobile Planet 2011 report indicates that South African smartphone penetration is 15%, putting the number at over 7,5 million devices – businesses have been urged to make their websites mobile friendly.
Presented with a smaller screen for the likes of iPhones and Blackberries, and more recently the tablet, companies are frequently faced with a dilemma: do they redesign their website to be a simpler mobile friendly version, or create an additional .mobi site and redirect the device user there?
.mobi sites are often low on design and high on functionality, albeit very simple functionality – usually a few buttons of navigation leading to pared down, monochrome pages. The question is: does this build brand equity?
Mobile users will thank you for not pushing flash and horizontal scrolling on them, and for not making them wait for the site to download. But how does this simple site provide an enriching user experience at the same time? Fact is, it rarely does.
By 2013, if not earlier, mobile devices will overtake personal computers as the main method of accessing the web.
During 2011, we reached the point where users were spending more time on their phones than at their computers.
Nowadays we can access any kind of information from our phones. Trying to define what constitutes mobile content and what not has become an irrelevant exercise.
Two studies at the end of 2011 showed that 25% of people surfing the net on their phones almost never used any other device to browse. This is a significant and ever increasing number of people – content providers cannot afford to offer this audience a dull experience.
Stripping out content suggests that businesses regard that particular piece of content as less important – and that they are making the decision on behalf of the user.
So what is the solution?
Do not design a website with a specific platform in mind. Unless you have a very specific campaign and target audience, this would guarantee a waste in resources. There are new platforms on the market all the time.
Are all your users important to you?
The idea is not to ignore mobile-specific sites, but to build one website and then enhance it to suit a specific device.
For our stakeholder communications purposes, annual reports on mobile phones are notoriously problematic. The trick is to get clever about introducing the report via the mobile phone device, and then encouraging them to view the full report from their PC or even better, their tablet – where smart application development for annual reports is finding a home.
– by Amy Gilmour