Tag Archives: mobile web

3 Reasons Why You Don’t Need To Invest in Mobile Apps

Why You Don't Need a Mobile App for Your BizWhen Apple released the iPhone in 2007 there was a huge outcry from developers wanting to create applications for this new and exciting platform.  Apple listened and in 2008 with the iPhone 2, introduced the tools developers wanted and a revolution was born. Suddenly the buzzword “app” was everywhere and many businesses felt they needed to create an app to stay competitive, sometimes ditching or ignoring the web presence they spent years to build.

Of course, the other big tech players saw this model and how people were drooling over the latest Doodle Jump, Weather widget, or news reader and they wanted a piece of the pie.  Enter market fragmentation.

Now businesses are becoming a bit more gun shy about this app craze because they now have to develop and maintain software for at least 3 different, incompatible, platforms.  Fortunately, a well-crafted mobile web experience can negate the need for such an investment of time and money.

1. Mobile Apps often rely on data from the web anyway.

Where do you think your phone goes to figure out what the temperature is, or the market value, or movie times? The web. A mobile app simply takes this returned data and parses it for use on the native platform.  Creating a mobile web experience that does the same thing will often times result in an experience that is universal across devices. This central experience is then much easier to maintain and update instead of having to keep up on the latest changes to various operating systems and platforms.

2. The modern mobile web is much more robust than it was 10 years ago

I have to admit, Apple got something right.  When the iPhone was released, they were smart by putting the same rendering engine from the desktop onto the phone. At the time when BlackBerry and Palm ruled the roost, mobile web experiences were held hostage by these half-baked browsers and lack of any sort of standard. Mobile web surfing was painful at best. So, it would make sense to avoid that pain by investing in an app. Now, the mobile web has matured and is able to meet expectations of consumers across devices.

3. As a business, you’ve invested a significant amount of time, money, and energy in your online presence, why not show it to the world?

Any time you develop an app, you are going to segment your market and message. That’s great that iPhone users see your message in an app, but that’s only 41% of the market. OK, so you develop an Android version you’ve now bumped that up to 90%. You’ve just sank a boat load of resources into products that will at best serve 90% of the market all while maintaining and investing in a web component as well. A solid mobile web experience means that 100% of the market has the ability to find your company. It also means that your www investment is complimented instead of competing against a native app to say the same message.

What has been your experience with business app development? Share with me in the comments…

Mobile Web – Are You On Board? (Part 2)

Back in December, we talked about this big metaphorical ship known as the “Mobile Web”. Since then, have you purchased your ticket and jumped on board? A common reason to not take the plunge is the concern of how much it costs to have a mobile website created and maintained on top of a desktop based web site, and some may not see any reason in having two versions of the same site. I want to give a little more encouragement for you to join many businesses world-wide who are taking a step into the future and taking advantage of mobility.

Mobile websites come in three different forms:

  1. Full mobile version of the desktop based site
  2. Mobile website for main pages in the website. Other pages will be viewed as desktop
  3. Mobile splash page just to introduce your company to the mobile world.

There is a reason why I ordered these this way. The first option is both most beneficial and most costly, with the last item listed being the least effective and costs the least. Don’t get me wrong, a mobile splash page can still make a world of a difference compared to sticking with your desktop based web site. That being said, if you are curious of the benefits of having a mobile optimized web page but are still weary of the cost. Give the third option a shot, see the true benefits that mobile will provide for your company. As you see the number of page hits increase, you can always re-visit this decision and upgrade from there.

Maybe your point of caution is not the cost of the second website, but having to maintain two different websites. That can be a very daunting task and takes up precious time that could be used on other items for your company. Well, you’re in luck! Mobile websites can be integrated into your current website. Essentially a mobile website is just a different design for the web site and therefore can use the same content as the main site just with a different look if it’s on a mobile page.

But wait, There’s More!

Ever hear of the term “responsive design”? It is a way to build a website where the design responds to the size of the web browser. As the browser window gets larger or smaller, elements will re-size and re-position so that the page continues to look crisp and clean. Still not sure about what I’m talking about? Here are some easy steps you can follow for a live demo of responsive design:

  1. Go to tkg.com
  2. Make sure your web browser is not maximized and filling up the whole screen
  3. Grab a hold of the side or corner of the web browser and start moving it around
  4. Watch as the page re-arranges and re-sizes to where it needs to be to fit the window

See how nifty that is? That is the true direction that this ship is sailing in. It is the way of the future. And the best part about it is that it does not rely on whether you are on a mobile device or not, only the size of the browser. It is a completely device and browser indifferent way of creating a web site that looks great no matter what.

What is not permitted on the Mobile Web?

Another thing to take into consideration is that just because your current website works on a desktop does not mean it will work on a mobile device. The big red flag is Adobe Flash. Mobile devices, especially Apple products, do not allow the use of Flash. So if your current site relies on Flash, it will not work on a mobile device. Not only will it not work, but for the few devices that it will work on, it uses a much larger file size than almost any other format for a web page. There are are other more elegant, mobile friendly ways to handle any functionality that flash may provide.

Change your mind yet?

Hopefully by now you see the true value of considering Mobile as part of your online strategy. If you are truly considering the true benefits that a mobile based website can do for your business, you are in luck. I know a fantastic group of people who know a lot about mobile and will always put your company’s goals first. Check out their page on mobile websites, to leave them a message or even request a quote and see just where this ship is sailing!

The Mobile Web – Are You On Board?

There is a big metaphorical ship ready to take businesses to the next level of marketing utilizing mobile phones. As of right now, when someone wants to know what a company is all about, they Google the company and take a peek at their website. Which is great if all of those searches were coming from desktops. A large percentage, though, is coming from mobile devices, mainly smart phones.

Most people know what it is like to roll up a sleeping bag after a weekend of camping in the outdoors. You really have to squeeze and stuff the sleeping bag into its bag in order to get it all to fit. Websites work the same way. Looking at websites on a desktop allows at least 4 times the amount of viewing space when compared to mobile browsers. So when a user tries to view your website on a smaller device, all of that information gets crammed on to a small screen forcing the user to zoom and slide all around your web page in order to get a little bit of information. Sounds frustrating doesn’t it?

It is true that the website is still functional even though it is crammed onto a small screen, but is it really usable? What I mean by that is will people want to use it? Very rarely will someone be sitting at a computer and chose to use their mobile browser to search for something over using their computer, so it is when people are not at a computer that matters.

Just as an example, lets say that company A, which sells furniture, has a fully functional desktop site, but no mobile site to back it up. George is at company B, which also sells furniture, and wants to try and do a quick price comparison on the kitchen table he is looking at. The first result on his Google search was company A. Three minutes later the web page finally loads and now in order to find the product George is forced to zoom and slide around the page to find the appropriate links, some of which are too small for his finger to touch accurately. George gets bored and frustrated and even though it turns out that company A sold the same table for 100$ less, he gave up looking and purchased theWalsh-Desktoptable from company B.

So that functional website, is it really functional? The website is about 4 times larger, therefore it will take longer for it to show up on mobile devices. In order to fit the website on the screen the device zooms out so everything is really small. Even if the user knows exactly where to go, they will still need to zoom in and slide around to make sure they hit the links they need to hit to get there.

Want another example? Take a look at the two images on the right. The one on top is an image of a Walsh-Mobilenon-mobile optimized web-page on a mobile device. It’s not very easy to see what is going on or where to go without zooming and sliding. Now look at the image below it. It is very clean and simple, easy to navigate eliminating all confusion.

That all being said, what are the advantages of having a mobile Smaller file-size means faster page loading which means everyone is happy.optimized website?look at the two images on the right. The one on top is a screen shot from a non-mobile-optimized web page on an iPhone 4S. Without zooming and scrolling its not exactly easy to see what is going on or where to go to find the information you are looking for right? Now look at the image right below it.

  • Takes up less screen space: No more zooming and horizontal scrolling.
  • Have your phone number on the site? The call is just one touch away.
  • Content is to-the-point: Goodbye confusion, hello information users need.
  • Shopping on the go? I think so.

People, for the most part, including myself, have become very impatient and spoiled when it comes to technology. If it’s not fast and it is not easy to use, they want nothing to do with it. Is it worth not having a mobile-optimized website if that means potentially losing business from smart phone users? The answer should be no. Mobile websites are much smaller and relatively inexpensive, and will only help bring the company more business.

So what are you waiting for? That metaphorical ship is leaving and quickly speeding up. Are you on board? Or are you being left behind?