According to Google, 79% of smartphone owners use their mobiles to help with shopping and 74% make a purchase as a result. Many of the coolest innovations in digital are coming from the mobile technology sector. A total of 488 million smartphones were shipped throughout 2011 compared to 414.6 million PCs. By 2015 more US Internet users will access the web through mobile devices than PCs!
If you’re selling video services locally, it’s time to make sure your web site can be easily read by your customers on their mobile devices.
The fact is that many web sites are not very usable on mobile devices. Here are some of the reasons a typical full size website will not work well for mobile users:
- Mobile users are typically viewing their devices while on the run so they need the info they seek quickly
- Mobile screens are as small as 128 x 160 pixels. Most desktop computers are using a screen resolution higher than 1024×768 pixel
- On many mobile phones, there is only an up-down feature so you can’t easily navigate pages with more than one column
- Mobile Internet connections tend to be much slower than that of a typical desktop PC.
- Click targets need to be at least 30 – 40 pixels square with white space between them.
Telephone numbers should be in text, not just images. People who visit the site with a Smart Phone and see a text phone number, have the ability to call the phone number simply by touching it on the phone’s screen. This functionality is called “click to call.”
Study effective mobile web sites to see what works. A program called Site Spinner Pro can help you write a mobile web site from scratch. See Site Spinner Pro at http://www.virtualmechanics.com/. You will find additional resources under the heading More Help below.
Publish the “Brochure” Version of Your Website
What do mobile users want from your site? Probably concise, quick information. So a successful mobile site is a very condensed version of the main site. If an ecommerce site sells a product that requires lengthy description, the best approach is probably to provide the basics of the product and invite the mobile user to call for more information. Make sure the phone number is prominently featured and in text, rather than an image of the number.
Mobile Device Emulators
http://www.howtogomo.com, a Google Initiative. This will also give recommendations.
http://www.devirtuoso.com/2010/08/20-mobile-device-emulators/ This page has 20 different emulators representing 20 different mobile phones and devices.
No emulator takes the place of seeing your site on a real mobile phone or device. Unfortunately, it will look different on each one.
Test for Best Mobile Practices
The mobiReady testing tool at http://ready.mobi/launch.jsp?locale=en_EN evaluates mobile-readiness using industry best practices & standards. The free report provides both a score (from 1 to 5) and in-depth analysis of pages to determine how well your site performs on a mobile device.
A Smart Mobile Strategy
Create an entirely new mobile version of the site in a highly condensed “brochure” fashion that reads well on a typical mobile device. You can build this within your domain by creating a subdirectory such as m.sitename.com, mobile.sitename.com, or www.sitename.com/mobile. Then place a link on your dotcom home page for the “Mobile Version of this Site.” Since your existing dotcom site probably has some momentum, search ranking, etc, this strategy could be beneficial.
To see an example of this, take a look at the mobile version of Best Buy at http://m.bestbuy.com/m/b/. Then compare it to the full version at http://www.bestbuy.com/.
To find other examples just Google “Mobile Version of this Site.” This strategy is something you must do for your own website and you can make money doing for others.