By Steve Harding, regional sales director for EMEA, Antenna Software
The importance of having an optimised mobile website that is distinct from your traditional website has never been more pronounced.
Ofcom claims that at least 98% of the population will be within range of a 4G mobile signal by December 2017, meaning that more people than ever will be able to connect to the web at high speed via their mobile phone or tablet devices. In addition, the rise of remote working has brought about a cultural shift amongst business people so that the office is no longer seen as the only place to work or make important decisions.
Designing for the small screen When I say 'mobile website' I'm referring to a dedicated site that has been developed specifically for mobile devices, and optimised so that it can be displayed on any internet-enabled device, displaying information in a way that's unique to the smaller form factors of these devices. So whether you're using the latest smartphone, like the iPhone 5, or a low end feature phone, you'll be guaranteed a consistent experience.
In today's world, where business people are increasingly turning to their phones for quick information on the go, providing online material in an easily accessible format can be the difference between a customer staying on your site and making a purchase, or going elsewhere.
For companies considering launching their own mobile websites, there are a few key pointers that should be followed. I've touched on the point that simply extending an existing site is not enough; companies must enhance them as well.
Enhancement means understanding the site's prospective users and their needs, and building the site around the content those users want and expect. It also means shaping the user journey through the site, so that a users' patience is not exhausted by having to spend too much time jumping around trying to find whatever it is they are after. For the same reason, data heavy pictures need to be used sparingly and text needs to be concise, or the user journey will be slowed down.
Integrate and updateCompanies looking to capitalise on mobile also need to make sure that their mobile offerings are fully integrated with any existing marketing activity. Regular updates must be made to the site to ensure that it is consistently aligned with current brand messages. What's more, software updates are crucial to ensure that the site runs smoothly and is easy for potential customers to use.
While the tips given above are by no means exhaustive, I hope they have demonstrated that building a mobile website is a potentially complex undertaking, and I hope it has also shown that it is a necessary one and an essential part of an organisation's overall mobile strategy.
A recent Econsultancy study revealed that 25% of online consumers said they would try a competitor if a company's mobile website was not working, while 64% said they'd only give a mobile website an average of three chances to work before moving on. The message is clear then; there's a lot riding on getting mobile right the first time.
Antenna Software provides a cloud-based enterprise mobility suite, enabling both IT pros and business executives alike to create and manage mobile apps, websites and content across the entire business.