From a technology standpoint, setting up your mobile website is an important first step. Equally important is designing your mobile website so that it provides a positive user experience for your visitor. With that in mind, here are several important things to consider as you design your site:
- Be Thumb-Friendly: Many visitors to your mobile site will be navigating through it with their thumbs or fingers. Be sure to design your mobile site with that in mind. Large, easy-to-press links and buttons ensure the user experience starts off right.
- Streamline the Navigation: In addition to being thumb-friendly, your site should have the fewest number of links and pages In general, mobile visitors aren’t interested in detailed bios, mission statements or press releases. Instead, they want key information like location, contact information and click-to-call buttons.
- Minimize the Graphics: Remember, you’re not designing for a desktop/broadband You’re designing for a mobile visitor who is using up valuable bandwidth to access your site. With that in mind, be sure you keep graphics small and to a minimum.
- Honor Your Brand: Your mobile site should have the same branding elements as your desktop site. Ideally, a user will feel as though your mobile site is a cousin to your desktop site. It may not have all the same content, but the look and feel will be very similar.
- Include a Link to the Desktop Site: Some visitors will be interested in viewing your desktop site, even though they’re on a mobile device. It’s always a good idea to provide them a link to the full site so they can visit that, too.
- Test Your Site: There are a number of good ways to test the functionality of your mobile Do a search for mobile website emulator and you’ll find plenty of them. Be sure to test using more than one emulator since different emulators will provide different suggestions on improving the site.
Creating a mobile website is only half the battle. The next step is to encourage people to visit your site from their mobile devices. There are a number of ways to do this, including placing a reminder that you have a mobile site on your desktop site. This can come in the form of a banner ad, a graphic or simply a blog post announcing the launch of your mobile site.
We can also use mobile technology such as a response code to drive people to your mobile site. The response code can be placed on your desktop site or on point-of-purchase materials, collateral and even in keynote presentations.
Whether you use a response code to drive visitors to your site or simply provide a URL, the key is to reward them once they’re at your site. After all, the mobile visitor is typical en route, so you want to give them every reason possible to stay engaged with your site and, when relevant, visit your location.
Designing a mobile landing page that rewards the visitor for visiting the site is an important first step. This can be a page that provides a coupon that can be redeemed in-store or it can be a page that allows them to have a product shipped to their home Response codes can drive incremental traffic to your mobile site. This code links to a post called “50 Insanely Simple Ways to Use Mobile Marketing to Grow Your Business.” address. It can be a click-to-call phone number that puts them in touch with a customer service representative, or it can be a map that provides them directions to your location.
No matter what you design your mobile landing page with, remember that 70% of all mobile searches result in action within one hour (vs. 30% for regular desktop searches).
If you have a smart phone (i.e. one that can access the web) you can browse through all websites that are available on your PC or Laptop. However, generally these types of websites are not suitable for browsing on a phone as they have not been designed for a phone. With a phone your screen is a lot smaller so and generally you behave differently.
For example, we may spend hours browsing and reading on the web but with a mobile phone we generally will only read a small amount of information over short periods of time. So how the information is displayed and the amount of this information needs to be considered.
When designing a mobile website consider some of the following:
- You can only view one screen at a time so design your navigation to take this into account.
- There is not much room for text, so don’t use much!
- Use large buttons for key calls to action
- Think about your usage of fonts, make sure important stuff really stands out Try to make sure your website behaves consistently with what is expected from similar applications on the Users have very low tolerance so don’t put them off.
Type of Functionality to Include
When on the phone I would expect functionality similar to the following:
- Location aware directions
- Clear calls to action
- Booking Engine
A lot of smartphones provide a mobile application development environment that allows you to develop a purpose built application specific to that environment. For example, you can develop an iPhone application that works specifically on an iPhone. There are several reasons you may consider developing a mobile application:
- The interface (how it looks) will be what the user is used to as they probably have other applications already on their phone.
- You may need to access phone-specific functionality (e.g. navigation, camera etc) and this may not be available to you if you develop a mobile website.
- Applications are downloaded to your phone so you have an icon on your mobile desktop so it’s likely that you will use it more often.
- Because you download the application a lot of the interaction with the application can be offline which means there are no roaming charges. The big disadvantage with a mobile application is the cost. It can be very expensive to build an iPhone or android application and if you want to attract smartphone users you really need to develop both.
Sample Mobile Applications
There are many examples of useful and popular mobile applications. When visitors are active on social media tools they will generally use them on their mobile when they are travelling. There are many applications available for the popular social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook. For example, customers could be using Facebook Places to check in to locations. It’s important to monitor and respond to this as soon as possible. Visit Dublin has an iPhone/Android application for visitors coming to Dublin.
This application has extensive functionality including:
- Audio Descriptions — explanations and history for over 80 points of interest around the city.
- Special Offers in retail, restaurants and tours offering you fantastic value and Simply show the voucher on your phone and receive the offer!
- Use the ‘Point to Call’ function to phone a restaurant, tour and make your booking direct.
- ‘What's That? / What's Nearby?’ — Not sure what that building is in front of you? Point at the real-world point of interest and retrieve information about it!
- Daily Bulletin — receive a daily update to your phone on what is happening in Dublin
QR Codes QR stands for Quick Response. A QR code is a useful way of marketing your services. By providing a visual code, such as the following, potential customers can scan this code in using their smartphone and this will display them relevant information. So how can this be used? You put an advertisement in a newspaper and include a QR code. When a user has an application on their phone that allows it to read and understand the code they scan their phone over this code.
The phone will then automatically bring them to a web address, which, for example, could be the web page where you have more details of the offer. This is similar to when a check-out operator in a supermarket scans a bar code. As more and more phones will be smartphones QR codes could become increasingly popular.