But wait, you say... doesn\'t the Android, iPhone and iPad display normal web sites just fine? The answer is \"yes\" and \"no.\"
First, iPhone and iPad do not support Adobe Flash, so if your web site
uses this technology it will not render on the iPhone or iPad.
Second, although these devices do have full featured web browsers
(Google Chrome for Android and Apple Safari for iPhone & iPad), the
screen sizes are much smaller than typical, which require the user to
pinch zoom to read the copy effectively. This works, but it certainly a
hassle for users.
Third, many web sites today are designed to work in fast bandwidth
environments. This means they are normally graphically heavy, resulting
in download speeds that acceptable for workplace or home broadband, but
much slower for 3G phone users.
In fact, 3G speeds -- although faster than dial-up -- are typically
unreliable in their consistent speed. A user may receive 500 kbps for a
few seconds then be dropped back to less than 60 kbps at other times.
This can vary as well by the phone carrier, network loads at the time,
What about 4G, you say? 4G is certainly more typical of broadband
speeds (several Mbps) seen on desktops. However, 4G is not widely
available and also suffers from inconsistent speeds as well.
Finally, even if you ran 4G consistently on a mobile device, the
processing speed for these devices is normally much slower than desktop
or laptop computers. Whereas most computers sold today utilize
dual-core processors running at over 2 GHz, or even 2xdual core,
quad-core or 2xquad-core, mobile devices today top out at 1 GHz.
There are additional factors besides processor speed as well that I
won\'t compare in this discussion (such as processor cache), but suffice
to say that mobile devices do not have nearly the horsepower that
desktop or laptop computers have to handle high bandwidth sites as
quickly. If you believe a web site is a small impact on processor
speed, you\'re correct. But if you think that you won\'t notice the
difference on a mobile device versus your desktop, you are fooling
yourself. In fact, just connect your mobile device up to your home or
company WiFi, then open the same web site on the two devices. If the
target web site is not smart enough to detect the mobile device and
instead sends you to the same site as the desktop, note how much more
slowly your mobile device loads the web site.
All this to say that the optimal way to target these \"up and coming\"
mobile users is to create a mobile friendly web site. \"Back in the day\"
of the mid-2000s, this meant creating virtually a text-only version of
the web site, as mobile devices were not very robust. These days,
targeting Android devices and iPhone/iPads merely means lowering the
intensity of the graphics a bit and building to consider the smaller
display size. While iPad does run at 1024x768 (a respectable screen
resolution typical of computers sold 5 years ago), smaller mobile
devices such as iPhones and Android phones usually run around 960x640
(iPhone) and 800x480 (larger Android phones). Although this sounds very
close to the iPad, the physical screen size is enormously smaller in
iPhones and Android devices, meaning that 14pt fonts (typically used on
standard web sites) may look acceptale on the iPad\'s 9.7 screen, but
would be way too small to read on an iPhone\'s or Android\'s 3.5\" or 4.3\"
So by now, you hopefully understand the need to target mobile devices
differently: larger fonts, smaller screen footprint, fewer graphics,
etc. But, you may ask, how do you create a mobile friendly web site
without having to maintain two separate sites?
is where intelligence about web site creation comes in. If the site is
created and maintained in a database, and if the information stored in
such database has been well-planned to include potential mobile devices,
then the answer is fairly simple: design a mobile friendly layout and
drop in the content from the database.
In the case of sites developed by Net by Design, Inc., and using our
content management system or custom-written content management tools,
this process is fairly straightforward. For example, if you are a
homebuilder maintaining neighborhoods, floorplans, and available homes,
Net by Design would develop mobile friendly designs of these pages and
incorporate the content currently maintained on the existing site. The
results would be a mobile friendly site that is automatically maintained
when the current web site is maintained. Carefree!
Now that the site is created, you are free to market it in numerous
ways. This can be providing mobile-friendly tags (such as QR codes) on
all your printed advertising, or simply having your current web site
detect mobile devices and automatically forwarding them to the
appropriate mobile site.
With proper planning, building a mobile friendly web site will not only
satisfy your mobile users (and certainly not frustrate them), it can
convert more prospects into customers by reaching the ever-growing