You hear a lot of buzz words when people talk about mobile. Responsive, mobile apps… there is a lot of confusion, and it is unfortunate that this leads to a lot of businesses ending up with something that won’t meet their needs.
One thing that all of these options have in common is that when someone goes looking for their website using a phone or tablet (aka “mobile device”) some version of their site should come up that is appropriate for the size of their screen. This means no more of the “postage stamp” look needing to be zoomed in on or, worse, the exploded view of a tiny corner of the site.
There are really three different types of mobile to consider for websites, each appropriate for different needs and circumstances.
One buzz word is “responsive.” This is a type of website designed to scale in size depending upon the size of the viewer’s screen. A well written one can look good on everything from an oversized wall monitor to a smart phone. This is great, but not for everyone. Someone browsing with their phone is going to be unhappy when a site that is heavy on large images bogs down their browser and sucks up their media allowance. The context and intent of the viewer needs to be taken into account. Someone looking for an address or hours could care less about a massive shopping cart.
The second option is a mobile website plugin that reconfigures the content of the despot site. This is effectively the same as a responsive site, but can be an easy solution for some WordPress sites.
The third is a standalone site that presents only the content that is appropriate for someone browsing on the go. This can be a great solution when the site is big and complicated, or the searchers are local and looking for a storefront business. It also offers the twist of hooking an editable WordPress mobile site to a static desktop site that the business owner needs help with updating.
Next week’s Tip will address the differences between a mobile website and a mobile app.
To your business success!