According to The Nielsen Company, over 56.9 million people accessed Web sites from their mobile phones in 2009. Gartner, one of the nation’s leading information technology research companies, predicts that the use of smart phones and other portable browser-enabled devices accessing Web content will surpass the use of traditional computers as soon as 2013.
To meet rising demand, businesses are under increasing pressure to design new strategic content, enable greater interactivity and provide added convenience through these new communication outlets. If your online content is not already optimized for this rapidly emerging distribution channel, now is the time to update your strategy. Think “Mobility.”
Consider the Medium… Recognize that the mobile environment works differently than the traditional PC-based online experience. Smart phone users connect in short bursts and they want to get right to the point. Desktop users may prefer to explore more in-depth information and may be willing to invest longer periods of time during the exchange. The mechanics of PC interaction also work differently than those of mobile phones. Large view screens, full-size keyboards and mouse cursors are replaced by tiny touch screens, thumb keys and voice commands.
Reexamine Existing Web Site Content… For best results, content for mobile delivery should be selected, organized and presented using a different approach. The nature of mobile content is more immediate, more personal and more service-oriented than traditional Web sites. Position your mobile Web site or downloadable application (“App”) as a separate but parallel customer resource, offering just-in-time information and assistance, beyond what is typically found over a desktop connection.
For the mobile community, timing is everything. Prioritize mobile content based on the customers’ anticipated immediate needs. For example, provide links to interactive directions or click-to-call reservations for customers traveling to your location. Don’t waste time or clutter smart phone content with detailed reference documents, lengthy demonstrations, or long-term planning guides that are best presented on your main Web site. View your mobile Web site as your customer’s “personal assistant,” standing by to provide quick and easy support whenever requested.
Consider Unique Mobile Content Structure… Eliminate Web design components that are not supported by most smart phone platforms, such as “pop-up boxes” or Flash animation. Simplify your page layout, streamline navigational links, and reduce the use of large graphics. Group your information into smaller, distinct “chapters,” allowing users to easily jump directly to desired content. Further, remember to let your customers know that you are specifically offering unique mobile content, promoting a reinvigorated online customer experience and inviting trial.
Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company. Contact him at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/bizXperts for more information about emerging online technologies.