Why you need a mobile website

The thriving smartphone market is affecting businesses in more ways than first thought.  With the recent release of the highly-anticipated iPhone 4, and the continued discussion around other android handsets – mobiles are no longer just for texting and talking.

An article in the Advertiser on 21st September 2010 highlights that mobile phones are replacing the PC as the preferred means of surfing the web.  Surprisingly, the report shows that “half of users in their 30s accessed the web using their mobile device … even though they had access to a computer.”

So what does this mean for businesses in the online world?

If you believe that a large proportion of your website users are accessing your site via a mobile device, it could be worthwhile investing in a ‘mobile version’ of your site.  This sort of site is generally a simplified design that remains consistent with the branding of your current site, but that is designed to fit within smaller screen sizes, be easier to navigate, and quicker to download.  These sites can be setup within the code of your original site, so that the site recognises when it is being accessed by a mobile device – and then the mobile site will then display in place of your regular site.  An example of a mobile-friendly site is http://m.news.com.au

However, not all businesses have the budget to allow for the development of a mobile site.  It could be worthwhile checking out how your website appears on a mobile device to work out if there’s any minor changes you can make to allow for easier access.   This could include resizing images and minimising the use of Flash features.

If you’re interested in how your site looks on a mobile device – then pick up your phone and get surfing!  But if you’re one of the few people out there that are yet to embrace the ‘smartphone revolution’, you can head to http://validator.w3.org/mobile to see how mobile-friendly your site is.