How Important is a Mobile Website?

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How Important is a Mobile Website?

By now, you probably realize that today’s smartphones are capable of pretty incredible things. One of the most useful features is the mobile web browser. Mobile web browsers allow smartphones to view every website that a personal computer can view with only a few limitations:

  1. Since the screen is smaller, websites are going to show smaller and users very often rely on the zooming tools in order to read and navigate the content. This can be a slow and frustrating process for many users.
  2. iPhone and iPad mobile browsers don’t allow Flash content viewing and this can prevent access to important information.
  3. Complex web scripting is not always fully supported by mobile browsers and this can break some of the most important features of a website.

Many companies are choosing to eliminate these potential sticking points for their customers (and potential customers) by doing a special mobile version of their site or offering one or more customized versions of their sites that serve up the site’s most important information. Other organizations are even developing custom mobile applications (or apps) to facilitate their business. While offering apps and/or a “specialized mobile version” of your site ensures that mobile users can work with you as efficiently as possible, the relevant question becomes, “Is the investment into those technologies going to give a positive return on that investment?”

Before you can answer that, we recommend testing your own site on your smartphone (borrow one if you don’t yet have one). Imagine how a customer or potential customer would feel if they were visiting the site.  Consider who visits your website most often and what they do when they get there. If they are placing orders, delivering reports, or doing any sort of regular business on your site, the investment to help them expedite that process is very likely to be worth it.

People love to use apps and the popularity of mobile browsers continues to rise. Catering to these users can earn you lots of business and we’ve seen the juice be worth the squeeze more times than not. However, know that apps and mobile sites require all the existing content and functionality of your “regular” site to be published in a new format, and that publishing work has a cost.

We want to grow our business only by doing projects that give our customers a positive ROI and as mobile browsers continue to improve, less and less work is needed by web developers to make the site look optimal on those mobile devices. The above three limitations may fade as mobile browsers continue to evolve, but now is a great time to capitalize on the buzz!

We’d love to help weigh your options. Contact us and we’ll help you sort it out!

by Tara Loftus

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