Stand Up And Be Mobi Counted

The first mobile phone to have Internet connectivity was the Nokia 9000 Communicator, launched in Finland in 1996 (source Wikipedia).  NTT DoCoMo in Japan launched the first mobile Internet service, i-Mode in 1999 and this is considered the birth of the mobile phone based Internet.

That was 10 years ago!

In 2008 the cross-over happened, when more Internet access devices were mobile phones than personal computers. In many parts of the developing world, the ratio is as much as 10 mobile phone users to one PC user on the Internet (Wikipedia).  Is there more of a compelling reason to consider making you website mobile friendly?

Earlier this year in Las Vegas the latest numbers were in:  the mobile web had seen a sevenfold increase in mobile-friendly Web sites since last year.   This reported by dotMobi, the company behind “.mobi” mobile web site naming convention.  New mobile sites are on the rise.

When dotMobi first performed this study a year ago, 150,000 mobile Web sites were available. dotMobi now counts approximately 1.1 million mobile site addresses in the world, based on a scan of the largest Top Level Domains (TLDs) in use. The 1.1 million number means that approximately 0.8 percent of all domains are likely to have mobile-friendly content….  In perspective 99.2% of all web sites do not have a mobile friendly site!

As a comparison, Verisign estimates there are approximately 77.4 million “live” PC based websites (with ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ extensions).

Why should you care?

People are looking for your mobile site.  In May comScore released a study that showed mobile users (in the US) are accessing the Mobile web 35.3% of the time, compared to 37% for voice and 27.7% for SMS.  The demand is growing very fast.    If you aren’t sure how to get started, check out a mobile website builder like MoFuse who can get your started immediately and at a low cost.  You need to be counted on the mobile web!

What Should My Site Do?

As phones get smarter and mobile browsers get better at rendering your desktop site, many ask the question: “Why do I need a mobile site at all?”   The mobile experience is not about shrinking your site to fit on a tiny screen, rather it is about communicating with your customers when they are in an entirely new context.  No matter the certainty of new devices, faster browsers and higher bandwidth in the future, the mobile experience merits its own design!  Let’s get started to make your website mobile friendly.

It all starts with the user- they are in a different ‘mode’ or context when they are using a handheld to access your site.  The point being, your user is mobile and their needs at that moment will be quite different from that of a desktop viewer.   Your full website on a mobile screen would be overwhelming at best and a major annoyance at worst.

 

Rethinking Mobile:  How do I begin?
Mobile Web Development

As usual, the first thing to do is to step in to your customer’s shoes.   If someone is accessing your site for a mobile device what are the kinds of things they would want to do there?    Will they read your latest article, find a store location or perhaps check to see if you are offering a special promotion?

Consider some basic aspects of the mobile user:  They are likely out and about and time is an issue for them.  They are looking for something more specific from you – either a recent article or some information to connect with your brand, maybe they want directions to your storefront.   By the way, they are holding a device that can make a phone call so consider adding voice interaction (can you say “click to call”).   The device probably has a smaller and perhaps less comfortable keyboard than the desktop- so you’ll also want to consider what keystrokes you will ask them to perform.

Less will always be better-  that is the primary rule of converting your website to mobile.

Here are some questions to consider when you are making a website mobile:
•    What is the context of the average mobile visitor?
•    What are the goals of the mobile user?
•    Why are they going to your mobile website at this time?
•    What are they likely and unlikely to have any interest in?

 

MoFuse Top 10 Rules of Mobile Website Design

1. Keep it Simple 
With over 5000 devices and screen sizes, simple layout is the only way to go

2. Make it Convenient
Put most important information at the top, easy to access

3. Speed Up Their Use
Think less keystrokes, use radio buttons or dropdowns to get data entry when possible

4. Don’t Annoy Them
If you use images use jpeg or gifs to make them quick to load, nobody likes to wait for a slow loading site

5. Pay attention to Navigation
MoFuse ensures a ‘back’ button on every page, nesting topics leads to quicker understanding

6. Consider Color Contrast
Make sure text shows up against a pleasant, yet contrasted background for easy reading

7. Connect With Them
If it is appropriate for your business type, enable them with a Click to Call button, use the phone’s core capabilities

8. Help Them Find It
A search bar is more than a convenience; it is a time-saver and often their quickest way to get answers

9. Keep Them Up To Date (and make your job easier)
Use RSS feeds to populate your mobile site, whatever you use on your desktop site should work fine

10. Listen and Iterate
Just like with your desktop site, you will learn as you go and it is easy to make changes with the premium site builder

For more information on Best Practices for Mobile Design visit the W3C guide: http://www.w3.org/TR/mobile-bp/

To get some ideas on the best new mobile site designs you can check out:  http://www.mobileawesomeness.com

MoFuse has a platform that helps you build sites for mobile devices around the world.  Find us a www.mofuse.com

New Forms Builder

We are extremely excited to let you know that we are about to launch Forms 2.0 – an all new version that works much like the easy layout of your mobile site.  The new version will go live Saturday October 24, 2009 at 7pm EST.

Forms will be down on Saturday for about 1 hour (6pm – 7pm EST).  After 7pm, our team will be rebuilding forms on a priority basis for those sites that are receiving live traffic.  To minimize down-time for these sites, we are prioritizing the re-build for forms based on those we know are live and being actively promoted.

If you have a live campaign or event registration on your mobile site, please send an email to lmanfre@mofuse.com  and we will make sure we handle this expeditiously for you.  Likewise, if you prefer to rebuild your own form in version 2.0, please let us know and we’ll take you off our To-Do list.

We expect the re-builds to be completed by 7am, Sunday, October 25. As each form is rebuilt, it will begin collecting data immediately.

If you have not yet tried out our Form Builder but are thinking about it, we recommend waiting just a few more days. We know you’ll really like this new version!