With over 42 million smart phone users surfing the internet, and 98% of those owners surfing the internet from their phones according to dotMobi, .mobi sites are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
At Infomedia, we are constantly thinking about what information appears ‘above the fold’ on the websites we create. ‘Above the fold’ refers to those ancient fire-starters called newspapers and the top half of the front page. This was the part of the newspaper that could be viewed without even touching the paper, the part that the most important and attention catching news was printed. In recent years, and with increasing frequency, we are thinking about ‘above the fold’ for .mobi sites as well.
With over 42 million smart phone users surfing the internet (.mobi sites are websites created especially for smart phones), and 98% of those owners surfing the internet from their phones according to dotMobi, .mobi sites are becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity. These smart phones give you less screen real estate to play with and they have a subtly different set of goals. Its not unusual for a smart phone user to be on-the-go or only have a few minutes available as opposed to the traditional web surfer with a large LCD and a comfortable chair to sit in. To buy into a stereotype, the smart phone user needs quick access to basic information.
Let’s use an average run of the mill restaurant as an example. A traditional web user looking for dinner would be interested in the menu, reviews, and media (pictures, video, and or audio); in exploring the atmosphere of the restaurant. A smart phone user would like to get all this information as well but probably doesn’t have the time to explore the whole website from a 3’x2’ screen. Instead, they will settle for easy access to information like location, phone number, hours of operation, menu, reviews from other smart phone users, and the option to explore media.
All those elements would be vital to a restaurant’s .mobi site. But just as important would be the navigation to the different elements. Large buttons with easily discernible functions are a must. Bandwidth limitations should also be a factor when deciding how to use imagery and media on a .mobi site; every minute it takes to load a content page like a menu is a minute in which a potential customer could decide to go to/with someone else.
But, the most attractive, enticing buttons won’t convert the casual browser waiting for his/her next meeting into a customer if there isn’t good content available to back up questions. On that small screen a fine balance must be achieved to share information effectively. It must be both easy to use and educational. Fortunately, it’s likely that building such a website wouldn’t be difficult if you already have a good existing website. Who wouldn’t want to reach 42 million possible customers?