Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobification of your Website

The below article was published in Qatar Today's March 2011 issue (Qatar's No. 1 business magazine). Click on the images to read through.

*** Article Text***  Mobification of your website!
 When was the last time you spent more than 30 seconds on a mobile based website to find some content? You may try using your iPhone, Android or Blackberry to get a daily dose of news, social media or other information, however the experience may not be pleasant if the website is not mobile friendly and takes time to load? As new mobile devices, development platforms are introduced it is difficult to keep pace with the technology. A classic example is a Financial Institution planning to introduce mobile banking; however the management is not able to make up its mind on various options like -  Developing an iPhone Application
- Creating a customized mobile website for devices like Blackberry, iPhone, Android etc. A recent study by a Dubai based PR firm *Spot On Mobile Internet Usage proved that 45% of the MENA Internet users use mobile phones to access Internet This means there will be less dependence on the use of desktop computers as people prefer to access information on the move. The question is how your website will appeal to those 45% users who access it from a mobile device. Despite the fact that the expansion of a mobile web business has been on the industry list for a while; the dazzling adoption of smart phones will see it actualize in this decade. As per Mary Meeker, the managing director of Morgan Stanley and an active Internet analyst, the world is going through a 5th major technology cycle within last five decades. The 60’s was a mainframe era, the 70’s was a mini computer era, and 80’s was the personal computing whilst 90’s was the desktop Internet era. The current cycle is the Mobile Internet era, as per Mary Meeker who was dubbed as “Queen of the Net” by Barron’s magazine in 1998. Let us see few bite sized tips which may help you catch up with the 5th tech cycle and enhance your mobile based website: - Having the best of technology doesn’t guarantee traffic on your mobile website – With the massive influx of iPhones and other smart devices, users are migrating from desktop to these devices at a rapid pace. Some of these devices like iPhones don’t support the multimedia platforms like flash and others may have issues with JavaScript. Till date approximately 85 mm iPhone devices have been sold and your website may not reach these customers due to flash limitations. A few alternative programs like HTML 5 and CSS 3 can do the trick. Simplify your website – The mobile version of your site needs to be simple with minimal graphics. Eliminating graphics is an effective way to optimize your website. You may redo your website layout, menus, content etc. Develop an application for various platforms – As previously mentioned in the article; influx of various mobile development platforms has left many websites in a dilemma. Many organizations are not willing to pursue an app for various platforms/mobile devices. However it is wise to invest in the popular device like Google Android and definitely iPhone to extend your reach. Irrespective of the devices visitors are using, give them a link to access your standard website and vice versa. This can be done be placing a small link at the bottom of your application. Track your visitors – I am rather concerned but not surprised that many commercial websites don’t have metrics software installed to help them track usage. There are some good analytical software’s like Google Analytics and Piwik that can be used by your website to track number of visitors, daily traffic, etc at no cost. With the help analytical tools you can identify the pages that are frequently visited by the users. If the users immediately navigate away from your landing page, it may need to be redesigned. Another reason why you should consider launching a mobile website is because Qtel may launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) in 2011, which was announced in the World Mobile Congress, 2011. LTE is 4G technology which will result in: - High-Speed data connection can delivers speeds than can be 10x faster than 3G Lower operating and expansion costs for the operator may lead to reduction in customer usage prices. To conclude, mobile websites are here to stay and if you are new in the business ensure that your new website doesn’t get outdated before its launch.The mobile internet is so addictive that the embracing of the Apple devices is taking place at the rate of 11 times faster than that of AOL, as per Meeker. Helping to drive this is the 3G technology, which is expected to reach a penetration rate of 19% by 2011 E in Middle East and Africa. Wait and watch as the global mobile usage is expected to surpass desktop internet usage by 2013. 

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