Much is being said in the press about mobile, taking the blogosphere finally away from the social media band wagon – personally, we're happy about that because:
- we we've heard enough about social media, been there, done that!;
- we believe that the mobile web is the future and will affect the way that we all produce websites in the future.
Currently, all of the websites that we produce, and most other websites can be viewed on a mobile device – that's easy if you stick to web protocols. However the user experience on a mobile browser is very different from that of a PC.
That's where a mobile version of a website can make your mobile channel much more effective. By rendering the same information that is on your current website in a format that is readable and navigable on a touch screen mobile device, you can massively increase the effectiveness of your mobile channel.
We're not the only ones doing this – look at Google, Amazon, eBay and the BBC on your mobile device and you will see a stripped down version of the website specifically made for the mobile channel.
App or Mobile Website?
A lot of people are busy building apps to display their product for the iPhone / iPad / Android etc.
An app allows you to control the information that the user sees outside of the browser, and also allows you access to other functionality on the phone, for example the camera or the speaker or GPS system.
The disadvantage of the App is that they are still platform dependant, by this we mean they are tied to a phone operating system, so to make sure you have full coverage, you need to develop separate apps for iPhone, Android and Nokia at the minimum. Another disadvantage for selling product is that the user actually has to find and install the app before they can get to your product – keen customers may use it, but a browser is unlikely to bother.
Creating a separate website for the mobile channel doesn't necessarily mean any extra content management work – your news / twitter / products and search may be usable straight from your current CMS (depending on your CMS of course!)
- Platform independence – your website will work on any Internet enabled device.
- People will navigate to your website using google – your app will not be listed, but your website will be...
- Mobile specific websites are highlighted in google mobile results.
- You can use your existing CMS to create the separate site, so all information can be kept up to date in line with your website.
- If you don't need access to all of the phone's functions to sell your product, why do you need an app?