Slaying The Mobile Website Dragon: Is Your Website Ready for Mobile?

March 11, 2011
Is your website ready for mobile?

You are a veteran of the website design and development process. You’re a warrior. You’ve conquered web designer giants, slayed a den full of forked-tongue programmers, and outwitted the caffeine-fueled marketing dragons — you have risen victoriously to the challenge! You successfully launched your company’s website (only slightly over budget). Then you decided to look at it on your mobile phone. You can already hear the fanfare fading.

What is this? Where’s the custom-crafted design, the lovingly nurtured navigation bar, the professional magazine-style composition? Did some hacker choose your website as his latest target? Is someone exacting revenge for your relentless march to victory?

Probably none of the above. In truth, you should have planned for mobile device html and css support in the early phases of your project. It’s too late to go back, but you can go forward.

Mobile is the new PC

With the proliferation of mobile devices and network capacity increasing, technology leaders are predicting that you will be using your mobile phone for much more than calls, texting, and lamenting your design-challenged website. It’s not just 3G anymore. Smartphones currently outsell PCs, and some providers are already offering new broadband data services that allow you to download multimedia content, view mobile TV broadcasting, and arcade-like interactive online games.

Are your target audiences mobile users?

According to a recent comScore metric, the answer is yes. People are becoming more dependent on their mobile devices, and if mobile access wasn’t included in your online marketing strategy, now is the time to consider it.

How many times have you visited a site on your mobile device and become frustrated because it required zooming and panning to read the content? That typically indicates little to no planning for mobile delivery. The mobile user is on the go, so your content should be concise, easy to read at a glance, and your calls to action should be easily understandable and valuable to them.

Branding shouldn’t be swept under the rug, either. Consistent branding that reflects the professionalism and knowledge of your company is equally important when planning to deliver content through your mobile website. Depending on your audience, it may be the most constant source of your brand identity.

It’s easier than you think

Okay, so your web project was exhausting, and now you’re faced with yet another platform to keep your marketing strategy optimized. There’s no need to fear, however: with the proliferation of mobiles devices has also come a proliferation of solutions.

For instance, Drupal is equipped to adapt all of your site’s content to the mobile platform, allowing you to serve it up in a mobile website utilizing Drupal’s available tools. If your website is not on Drupal, there are many other solutions that make it feasible to prepare your site’s content for mobile devices that span a wide range of needs. It’s not magic though, and careful planning and strategy are crucial to ensuring your content is easily found and readable on a mobile device.

If you can tame those fork-tongued programmers and warm up to that website design giant, you may have a shot at victory once again. 

Comments

Nice article. Though

Nice article. Though sometimes I wonder about this statement:
"zooming and panning to read the content? That typically indicates little to no planning for mobile delivery."

Is that really so bad? Sometimes I wish I would just get the 3 column site on my smartphone with unlimited 3g instead of a 1column site with very limited content.

I know what you mean about

I know what you mean about getting more content via a 3 column layout. There is a paradigm shift between desktop browser UI and mobile UI however, and if done well the mobile UI can deliver the same content, but with a mobile interface and navigation that is conducive to the small screen and therefore easier to read without the zooming and panning.
Thanks for your comment.