Mobile optimised sites are completely dependant upon design
Apps and sites can both provide businesses with extensive consumer benefits
The pro’s and con’s of mobile for business
Friday 17th February, by Stephanie Clark
The most important question in a business’s mobile strategy is whether to do anything unique for mobile in the first place. Some businesses will never get considerable mobile usage and should stick to making their desktop sites less insufferable on small screens.
Mobile applications are more usable than mobile-optimized websites because only restricted optimization is possible during website design. An app can pinpoint the specific limitations and abilities of each unique device much more effectively than a website can while operating inside a browser.
For user experience purposes, iOS has already forked into iPad vs. iPhone. Even though they technically have the same OS software, the two devices need two very distinctive user interface (UI) designs. (See our free report on iPad usability for tablet usability considerations.)
In contrast, mobile sites will retain some cross-platform capabilities, so you won’t need as many different designs. High-end sites will want 3 mobile designs to target phones, mid-sized tablets (like Kindle Fire), and big tablets. Using concepts like responsive design will let you adapt each of these site versions to a variety of screen dimensions and capabilities.
The same basic UI design will work for both a 6.8-inch tablet and a 7.5-inch tablet if you just shrink or stretch things a bit. (A 5-inch phone would depend upon a fundamentally different design– not just a modified layout– with fewer features and abbreviated content.)
Most important, new web technologies such as HTML 5 will considerably improve mobile site capabilities. We’re presently seeing mobile sites from publishers such as the Financial Times and Playboy with UIs that are very similar to applications offered by equivalent newspapers and magazines.
A last perk of a mobile-site approach is better integration with the full web. It’s much easier for others to link to a site than to integrate with a 3rd-party application. In the long run, theInternet will defeat smaller sized, closed environments.
There are obvious arguments for both applications and mobile sites. While some businesses believe that mobile development priorities should be focused on either a mobile site or an application, the reality is that customers are using both channels, so an integrated approach is the optimal solution.
The use of smartphones have multiplied in the last year, which means that there are far more opportunities to reach consumers via a mobile app.
According to Olswang, 22 % of UK consumers already have a smartphone, with this percentage rising to 31 % among 24-35 year olds. According to research from Gartner smartphone purchases worldwide will reach 467m in 2011.
Smartphones are becoming significantly sophisticated with an expanding number of functions, which means consumers are now engaging with brands via multiple channels on their phones.
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