What is a mobile website?

Thursday, December 29, 2011
What is a mobile website?

Since the invention of the printing press, technology has been changing the way we do business. The Internet has been the biggest agent of change in history and if you’re a business owner who isn’t up on the latest tech news, you can get left behind pretty quickly. A stunning number of web surfers now access the Internet via mobile devices. A mobile device includes smart phones and larger devices like iPads. While your website may load on a smart phone or on a tablet computer, (which is, in itself an achievement), do you have an honest to goodness mobile website? If you don’t know, chances are, you don’t. Here’s why.

To put it simply, a mobile website is one that is specifically made for mobile devices. If you could put the two side by side, you would see a dramatic difference. Not only are mobile devices smaller, they contain significantly less graphics, have essentially no streaming video and are missing things like Flash. The content on your mobile site may also be completely different. Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s look at each one of these issues one by one.

It makes sense that you would minimize or even remove large graphics and pictures from a mobile website. When you consider how much smaller the screen is, you would have to shrink things down considerably and that would likely make it too difficult to see. Many mobile websites are, in fact, a throwback to the very early days of the Internet when text based browsers ruled.

Most mobile websites are also missing video and programs like Flash. While many people watch video on their iPhones and iPads, there is a concern about loading times on unreliable wi-fi networks, which is why video is missing from most sites built specifically for mobile. Flash is also missing, but in this case, it is because Apple, the industry leader, chose to leave it out of their products.

Probably the biggest difference between a regular website and a mobile website is the content. More and more these days, brands like Apple are removing large chunks of text from their site and saying what they have to say in a sentence or two. Since the screens are so much smaller, you have room for even less text and studies have shown that people will click away if they are faced with too much text to read. You’ll have to reduce or rewrite your existing text so it is brief and to the point.

The truth is, you’ll likely have to see the difference a site built for mobile makes on a smart phone compared to a regular site that has been shrunk down. The usability, the convenience, and the speed in which it loads is just fantastic. It also gives your business a cutting edge look and feel. It says that you’re ahead of the curve and you’re ready to cater to the needs of the modern mobile consumer. A miniature regular site just isn’t going to cut it anymore.