As happens every six months or so, technology has changed the rules. To civilians, it’s maddening. Tech geeks, on the other hand, tend to put it under three headings: Shiny new toy, something cool to take apart and job security.
Our latest addition to the pantheon is the mobile platform. These days, those kooky kids with their Dan Folgeberg and their Zima are stepping out from in front of the monitor and using mobile devices –– smartphones and tablets –– as their information platform of choice.
Although mobile phones have been capable of accessing the web for years, only recently has the mobile browsing share exploded. Unfortunately, there are good odds that something else exploded – your web site.
Mobile browsers aren’t built and don’t behave exactly like desktop browsers, for some good, solid reasons. And that means your site may not be behaving the way you think it is.
Problem #1: A Mobile Screen is Silly Putty
Mobile browsers use some tricks to make big things fit into a small space. Specifically, they scale things down. Way down. This means all your text and imagery – including your navigation buttons – just got tiny, hard to read, and difficult to find.
It may also mean that your site design broke a bit. Scaling isn’t an exact science; the browsers themselves determine what to render at what size, and it isn’t what you might always expect.
Problem #2: Your Finger is Not a Mouse
Mobile devices [with the notable exception of certain BlackBerry models] are touch devices. They don’t use a mouse and cursor that can be depended on to be in a certain location – instead, they use big fat fingers that bounce around on them.
Problem #3: Flash & Java Go Boom
Adobe tried to port Flash to the mobile world, but it just didn’t take; they’ve ended support. Apple’s iOS platform also doesn’t deal with Java.
The upshot of this is that your Flash-based navigation system or animation probably isn’t working in mobile browsers. And if you’ve got a 100% Flash site, well... you get the picture.
Solution #1: The Mobile Friendly Site
If you decide to move your site mobile browser friendly, Liquid Anvil can help. We can replace and rebuild navigation, route smartphone users accordingly to different pages, help streamline the design into river or columned interface layouts, and more.
Your changes need not be heavy handed, necessarily; small tweaks to an existing design can make huge differences to a mobile user.
Solution #2: The Mobile Optimized Site
Not only are mobile browsers different from desktop browsers, mobile users are different from desktop users. They have different requirements – and they may even want different information.
Say, for example, you own a movie cineplex. For your traditional folks sitting in front of the screen, you’ll likely want the whole magilla – movie descriptions & images, information about the theatre like how you can rent it out for birthday parties, a calendar of events, directions, showtimes, and a method to buy tickets online.
Your mobile customers, however, don’t need all that. They’re on a mobile network, data-wise – so you don’t want big pictures and a listing of the fourteen stars in the movie. They’re going to want basically three things: listings and showtimes, a way to buy a ticket online and directions how to get to the theatre.
So how do you straddle this sort of problem? You build a “sub” site dedicated to mobile users, and route them there when they come in.
We can build this for you; we’ve already done it for others. And we’ve done it at a national advertising campaign level.
Solution #3: WebApps & Going Native
It can be fairly said that Apple fundamentally changed both the smartphone & tablet PC markets with the advent of the iPhone & iPad. And that change has sparked a tide of innovation on other platforms, including Android, RIM, Symbian and, Elvis forbid, Windows.
Let us help introduce you to the internet’s fastest growing market segment.
Just as we can help you with creating an optimized mobile friendly site, we can also help you go native.
And if it is beyond us, we’re not shy about mentioning it. We have access to a number of high-end, professional iPhone developers we can liason with so you don’t have to learn to speak technicalese. Your application will get built -- and built right.