Choosing the right mobile website type
So, you understand that the world is going mobile and you need to get a mobile site for your business - but now what?
First, don't panic, they aren't as expensive as you might think!
Learning the different types of mobile sites available along with the pros and cons of each can help you bravely enter the world of mobile. Mobile is offering the biggest shift and growth opportunity we have seen since the birth of the world-wide-web.
Also, distinguishing the difference between a mobile site and an 'app' is important, as these are very different and often confused.
Apps are custom-made applications that your customers need to download onto their smart phone to use. Mobile websites are accessed on the web browser of a mobile phone, and are generally a mobile friendly or trimmed down version of a standard website.
1. "Honey I shrunk the website"
This mobile site is a copy of your desktop website, but has been resized for a mobile, often without some of the design elements that make a website easy to use and appealing. A piece of code is added to your site, and detects the screen size and reformats accordingly.
Pros: Usually the least expensive option and the resizing code can be added to most desktop websites.
Cons: A reformatted version can be unwieldy on a mobile where information is needed quickly and easily and design elements that are lost can impact badly on your brand and the user's experience.
2. Fully Responsive Site
If you are about to launch both a new desk top website and a mobile site, then you can consider a fully responsive design as an option. This approach means building a website which responds and displays information optimised for a wide variety of screen sizes.
Pros: Your customers get all the information from your main website; you have only one URL and only one site to update for both web and mobile.
Cons: Slower to download, usually more expensive than a mobile specific site, and you will need to plan carefully knowing what your business and your customers' needs are since this is a big investment and you are creating a presence for all platforms at once.
3. Mobile Specific Site
A mobile specific site is one designed to take advantage of being on a mobile device and provide information users would require 'on the go'. For tourism businesses, location information or directions, 'click to call'buttons and a mobile friendly booking functionality are important features which can be included on this type of mobile site.
Pros: Your site is truly focused on engaging with mobile users, not just 'accommodating' them.
Cons: You have a separate site to develop and maintain, even if they share content.
20% of travel is researched via a mobile device and surveys indicate that this number will grow to 50% in just over a year. Potential travellers are searching for information while commuting to work or waiting at the doctor's office while others are searching while on holiday and often booking at the last minute.
Equipped with this information, your tourism businesses should prepare for mobile sites growing in importance, perhaps even more important than your desktop website very soon!
Interested in learning more about mobile websites? We've put a bit more info on mobile websites over here.