With the growing rush to mobile websites the volume of tweets, blogs and news stories on this subject has exploded leaving many marketers struggling to know what is the right platform for their brand. Here is an attempt to summarise the debate, from an end-users perspective, and provide a view on what the future holds for mobile websites.
Downloaded from the internet and residing on the mobile device itself, the mobile or native app are extremely popular. Today, Apple’s App Store contains more than 700,000 iPhone and iPad apps. The main advantages are that you don’t have to be connected to the internet to enjoy them and information and graphics can be viewed in a very clean look and feel.
Dedicated Mobile Sites
Mobile friendly websites get around the issue of poor information display by placing a mobile gateway over the top of the website which pushes mobile users to a separate, specifically designed-for-mobile version of the site. The big difference to native apps is that they reside on the web and only function when the user is online. Therefore they are perfect when you want to check your flight status but hopeless if you are stuck in a tunnel!
A major criticism of dedicated mobile websites is that the visitor only gets to see the content that the mobile gateway deems important. In today’s world mobile users are as likely to be browsing for information on their sofa as they are rushing to a meeting. Therefore they will expect Google to be able to lead them straight to the right page of your site, which is only possible if all of the site is present in the mobile version and at the same URLs.
The future appears to be in the form of a hybrid experience where the mobile websites just work. A good example is the Financial Times. Mobile visitors to www.ft.com are pushed to a site which creates a cache of their website on their device. One download gives the user offline access to every article in the site, allowing users to download the day’s content using WiFi in the morning and browse quickly and seamlessly during the day.
This approach of caching the most needed elements on the device and using the available bandwidth only for the live elements is perhaps what the future holds…until technology goes past us!
Waypoint is a Winchester marketing company specialising in delivering marketing strategy, content development and lead generation. For more information please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 862760.
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