Mobile Web is booming and was deservedly one of the main topics at CeBIT. The rapid development of the past four years continues. It offers a wonderful new opportunity for businesses to get in touch with their customers and use this new channel for targeted marketing.
Since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, the smartphone market has virtually exploded. The German inter-trade organization bitkom forecasts an increase of 39% of smartphones sold to a total of 10 million in 2011. Already, one in every eight Germans owns one of these devices.
The internet rates of mobile phone providers have become affordable for many people, flat rates are the norm. People increasingly use the internet on the road.
There’s no end to this boom in sight. An entrepreneur who thinks his current website will be sufficient to take part in this development, is unfortunately mistaken. Mobile web is a completely new, independent channel to approach customers and should be utilized right.
We’ll explain what any entrepreneur should know to be ready for mobile internet, because there is no way around this trend.
„I’ll have a quick look“
Unlike when he’s at his home PC, your reader is on the go somewhere – he is distracted, has only little time, or both. He usually lacks the concentration to read through a bulky website, not to mention waiting ages for something to load.
Before you plan a mobile website you should realize which special needs your visitor has.
What does the customer want?
Are you an office or a shop? Or do you offer entertainment, sports and recreation? In this case your customer will want to find out your address, phone, mail or your opening hours, so he can phone you or come to your premises.
Thus, contact details should not be hidden in the imprint but be always clearly visible. It’s especially important for entertainment businesses to post special events - parties, special offers or a happy hour.
If your business is an online shop, your customer wants to see what you have to offer and at which price, so he can compare with what he sees wherever he is at the time. Present your special prices clearly arranged and make it easy for him to order from you instead. Speaking of which: the order process should preferably be completed within a few clicks.
The rule of thumb is not to have lengthy texts and big images, but to present only the most important information clearly and concisely. If the site is to the customer’s taste, he will be back to visit your main website, too.
The web design of a mobile web page is radically different from that of a normal website. The screens of smartphones are much smaller, the picture can be displayed horizontally or vertically. The normal website is minimized a lot and may show ugly scroll bars as well. Depending on its age and the browser a phone may not be able at all to display an animation that looks great on a laptop. Beautiful but huge images which only serve decorative purposes stand no chance on mobile web sites.
A mobile webpage should be quick to load. After all, internet via phones is still a lot slower than DSL. If loading your page takes too long, your visitor may become enervated and try to find information or goods elsewhere.
A company should make it as pleasant as possible for the customer to explore their mobile website. So plan your mobile site flexible, small and fast!
To create a mobile website which is user-friendly, you need put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and visualize what he wants to do on your company’s mobile webpage (see above).
No matter what your ideas look like and how much companies differ: it’s always essential to have easy navigation with menus which are simply structured and make sense at the same time. Clarity is indispensable.
A good search function is also of utter importance for impatient viewers. Remember that many users navigate directly with their fingers on touch screens. Adequately large buttons and enough space between links are thus obligatory.
Keep this in mind to avoid visitors becoming frustrated and giving up – because they may not be back for a second try.
It’s understood that your mobile website should work on every type of smartphone and at the same time look good. Thus it’s very important to pay close attention to the technological demands.
Many different operating systems and browsers are available on the market. The most established are Android, the Blackberry-OS and iOS, which is the iPhone’s operating system.
In addition, there’s a wide range of mobile browsers, i.e. Safari, the Android-Browser and many more.
Even more diverse than the scope of software is the amount of hardware offered by many different manufacturers. And what’s more, the brands offer a huge spectrum of phone models to cater for every need and taste.
Technological progress also needs to be taken into account. Older smartphones may not be able to perform tasks which are just casual jobs for up-to-date devices. The processors of the former are not as fast and browsing takes a lot more time. However, your mobile website should be suited for these outdated phones, too, since “outdated” in the mobile phone sector describes models which are merely one or two years old.
There are huge differences in the display resolution of smartphones. Again, these aren’t just dependent on manufacturer or age, but also different among models.
Any resolution is possible really, ranging from 240x300 (e.g. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini), over 360x480 (Blackberry Bold 9780), 480x800 (e.g. HTC HD 7), 360x640 (Nokia N8) to 640x940 pixels (iPhone 4).
The solution to this challenge is automatic forwarding – this means the mobile website recognizes the phone model and routes to the matching version of the site.
The prerequisite for taking part in the mobile internet boom is a well-thought-out concept. Merely slimming down the existing webpage to lose bulk is not the best solution.
To utilize all technical potential and offering the customer additional benefit via this channel, it is sensible to get experienced support for web design and realization.
Should you have any questions, please contact us!