Oops…

I inadvertently hit the wrong link and re posted a re post of a re post.  Duh.  So here is the one I really wanted to show off from Michael Scully.  As the Mobile vs. App vs. Desktop web site heats up this becomes very important.  Enjoy.

StevenB

Marketing ReImagined

Mobile Websites

5 things every mobile site needs to deliver

August 10, 2012

 

Michael Scully is vice president of mobile product and strategy at SoundBite Communications

By Michael Scully

When you first decide to launch a mobile site, you might ask yourself, is it not just like my desktop Web site, but smaller? Definitely not.

Today’s mobile users are on-the-go, looking for information that is easy to access and quick to find, all on a screen one-twentieth the size of their traditional monitor.

By 2013, more people will be searching the Web on their mobile phones than on a desktop or laptop. Below are the five things that your mobile site needs to deliver.

1. Simplicity. The mobile screen is significantly smaller than a traditional desktop screen, and it cannot be used to clearly represent the same amount of information as a traditional desktop screen. Keep it simple.

You may have to reorganize or reprioritize your information to keep it easily accessible on the small screen. Make sure on any given screen, the user can spot right away where she is supposed to look, what she should click, and what she is able to do with your site.

2. Touch-friendly user interface. Thumbs are bigger than mouse pointers, so leave plenty of space between links. Use big buttons and avoid small text links that can be very difficult to tap accurately with a finger.

If your mobile Web site is designed like an application, consider grouping general navigation options at the bottom of the screen rather than the top. It is easier for someone to tap the bottom of the screen while holding the device at the same time.

This is counter to most desktop sites, where the main navigation usually lives on the top of a site.

3. Contextual relevance. According to Google, one out of seven searches are currently made on a mobile device.

Mobile Web users are often looking for something very specific.

If a visitor to your site is on-the-go, what is she most likely looking for? It is highly likely she is looking for a) your location, b) your hours, or c) your phone number, so put that front and center.

Make sure this information is easy to find, and do not bury it on a sub-page like you might on a desktop site.

4. Speedy load time. Load time matters. A study from Gomez found that 40 percent of consumers would abandon a mobile Web site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

In that same survey, 71 percent stated that they expect a mobile site to load as fast, if not faster, as on their home computer.

A lot of variables affect wireless connectivity and transfer speeds. Not all of them are under your control, so use technology solutions to optimize the parts you can.

Be sure your images and videos are right-sized including smaller files for smaller screens, minimize and send only relevant code, use caching and CDNs, and watch your performance statistics.

5. Path to more information. Your mobile visitors are your most driven users. They are actively seeking you out to connect and jumping through extra hoops to do so.

Give visitors a way to interact with you from your mobile site. This can be the ability to find directions to your store, to click-to-call or even to buy something, since 50 percent of searches lead to a purchase.

ONCE YOUR MOBILE site has been developed, you can leverage it as a key component of your communications strategy. Integrate it seamlessly with your existing voice, text and social outreach, use it to gain opt-ins for your mobile database or grab a piece of the mobile commerce pie.

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5 common mobile marketing mistakes

As mobile marketing becomes the NEXT Big thing and more prevalent this article by Rimma Kats re-posted from Mobile Marketing becomes very relevant.  Hope you gain some insight from it.

SteveB

Marketing ReImagined

By Rimma Kats

Consumers using mobile coupons

Nowadays, marketers are incorporating mobile into their efforts to stay ahead of the game and drive engagement. However, companies are still making several common mistakes such as leading consumers to a non-optimized site, which can deteriorate the user experience.

Mobile provides great opportunities for companies to reach as many consumers as possible on a device that is personal to them. With the explosion of new technologies such as augmented reality and QR codes, marketers are adding them into the marketing mix to reach tech-savvy consumers.

Here, industry experts sound off on the five common mobile marketing mistakes.

Poor execution
Last year alone, companies such as Target, Boar’s Head, P.F. Chang’s and Chipotle ran mobile advertising campaigns.

However, they all had one thing in common – they were not optimized for mobile.

While creative for a campaign may be great, without a properly executed mobile-optimized landing page it is nothing.

Marketers need to realize that if they are running a mobile campaign – it has to be optimized throughout.

Consumers no longer want to pinch-and-zoom.

“In my opinion, the biggest mistake marketers make in mobile is not linking the campaign to tracked performance metrics,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of sales and business development at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“Online, performance is measured by clicks and likes and other non-monetized engagement,” he said. “Mobile, on the other hand, is all about capturing that contextual here-and-now, real-world moment when consumers are most likely to buy.

“When we build a mobile commerce site for a retailer or brand, we sell our services via the inclusion of integrated marketing tools that drive sales and connect the dots between mobile marketing and mobile commerce.”

Chasing shiny objects
For many big brands, mobile is all about the new shiny objects – many of the technologies that their competitors are using.

However, companies are forgetting the No. 1 rule: Keep it simple.

“Marketers often forget that with mobile the job is the same as it always was – to sell more stuff,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, New York.

“The what remains the same, it’s the how that’s different,” he said. “Some who fail chase shiny objects rather than go for mobile products and tactics that work.

“Ford saw a 15.4 percent lead-generation rate by adding a simple SMS call to action to traditional media. In my mind, that case is what’s cool with mobile – not the pixie dust stuff we might get at SXSW that can move a marketer’s business backward.”

Following the path of online advertising
Mobile seems to be following the well-traveled path of online advertising with the same old strategy of placing ads around the experience taking up valuable real estate with irrelevant, interruptive and ignored advertising, rather within it.

It is important that marketers understand what their target consumers are doing.

“Mobile marketing holds tremendous promise for marketers and the medium is experiencing a fever pitch,” said Chris Cunningham, cofounder/CEO of adtivity by appsavvy, New York. “We continue to ignore activity behaviors, while advertising to have association with premium sites.

“The definition of premium has changed,” he said. “If mobile publishers and advertisers continue down this path, we’ll be left with another broken digital marketing promise.

“How do we fix it before it’s too late? We need to change our mindset and think beyond what we already know and for the first time in the Internet’s history think about the user – the people.

Measurement
For years, marketers have been talking about the dilemma of measuring their campaigns and, many times, companies simply run an initiative without tracking their results.

Companies spend a great deal of money and effort to executive and effective mobile campaign. However, those that do not track it are not only missing a big opportunity to better connect with consumers, but better reach them in the future.

“Marketers are jumping into mobile without tracking the effectiveness of certain tools,” said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of ScanLife, New York.

“Mobile can deliver some amazing business intelligence that marketers never had access to,” he said.

“Marketers need to use technology to help them decide what is effectively delivering the best ROI.”

No promotions
Another mistake mobile marketers make is not promoting their mobile programs effectively across all promotional platforms.

Every successful mobile marketing is based on the number of consumers who participate in it, so promoting the program to drive opt-ins is key.

“Many unsuccessful programs can be tied to a poor call to actions such as using small text to promote opt-in information, lumping the program call to action with the promotion of other mobile programs or limiting promotion to just the Web, banner ads or simple in-store signage,” said James Citron, cofounder/CEO of Mogreet, Venice, CA.

“The greater the promotion of the program, the greater the awareness of the program and the stronger the chance of increasing opt-ins and participation,” he said.

 

5 common mobile marketing mistakes

This article hit home with me because I am constantly reminding my clients that mobile marketing is not just a stand alone media like TV, Radio, Newspaper or Yellow pages.  It is an opportunity to extend their reach in all other efforts.  Here is a few ways to do this:

  1. Number one of course is point of purchase.  In store signage.
  2. QR codes and vanity key words in all traditional media
  • Use your vanity key word in TV and Radio like 1-800 numbers used to be used.  Mention early and often through out the spot with a call to action to SAVE now.
  • QR codes can now be used on TV spots because most people have the ability to freeze the picture.
  • Of course if you are using Newspaper ads, by all means put your QR code and Vanity key word in your ad

Vanity Key Words can be very powerful tools.  For instance one of my clients is Fun City Pizza and their vanity key word is ‘funcity’.  Everything they do and everywhere they go they make sure and either incorporate ‘funcity’ into their marketing efforts and communicate it orally.  “Just text the word ‘funcity’ to the number 71441.”  See how it just rolls off the tongue?

Enjoy the article below and let me know your thoughts.

StevenB

Have Fun, Make Money and Provide the Worlds Greatest Experience in Your Industry.

 

 

This is a re-post of an article by Rimma Kats originally posted on Mobile Marketer

Nowadays, marketers are incorporating mobile into their efforts to stay ahead of the game and drive engagement. However, companies are still making several common mistakes such as leading consumers to a non-optimized site, which can deteriorate the user experience.

Mobile provides great opportunities for companies to reach as many consumers as possible on a device that is personal to them. With the explosion of new technologies such as augmented reality and QR codes, marketers are adding them into the marketing mix to reach tech-savvy consumers.

Here, industry experts sound off on the five common mobile marketing mistakes.

Poor execution
Last year alone, companies such as Target, Boar’s Head, P.F. Chang’s and Chipotle ran mobile advertising campaigns.

However, they all had one thing in common – they were not optimized for mobile.

While creative for a campaign may be great, without a properly executed mobile-optimized landing page it is nothing.

Marketers need to realize that if they are running a mobile campaign – it has to be optimized throughout.

Consumers no longer want to pinch-and-zoom.

“In my opinion, the biggest mistake marketers make in mobile is not linking the campaign to tracked performance metrics,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of sales and business development at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“Online, performance is measured by clicks and likes and other non-monetized engagement,” he said. “Mobile, on the other hand, is all about capturing that contextual here-and-now, real-world moment when consumers are most likely to buy.

“When we build a mobile commerce site for a retailer or brand, we sell our services via the inclusion of integrated marketing tools that drive sales and connect the dots between mobile marketing and mobile commerce.”

Chasing shiny objects
For many big brands, mobile is all about the new shiny objects – many of the technologies that their competitors are using.

However, companies are forgetting the No. 1 rule: Keep it simple.

“Marketers often forget that with mobile the job is the same as it always was – to sell more stuff,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, New York.

“The what remains the same, it’s the how that’s different,” he said. “Some who fail chase shiny objects rather than go for mobile products and tactics that work.

“Ford saw a 15.4 percent lead-generation rate by adding a simple SMS call to action to traditional media. In my mind, that case is what’s cool with mobile – not the pixie dust stuff we might get at SXSW that can move a marketer’s business backward.”

Following the path of online advertising
Mobile seems to be following the well-traveled path of online advertising with the same old strategy of placing ads around the experience taking up valuable real estate with irrelevant, interruptive and ignored advertising, rather within it.

It is important that marketers understand what their target consumers are doing.

“Mobile marketing holds tremendous promise for marketers and the medium is experiencing a fever pitch,” said Chris Cunningham, cofounder/CEO of adtivity by appsavvy, New York. “We continue to ignore activity behaviors, while advertising to have association with premium sites.

“The definition of premium has changed,” he said. “If mobile publishers and advertisers continue down this path, we’ll be left with another broken digital marketing promise.

“How do we fix it before it’s too late? We need to change our mindset and think beyond what we already know and for the first time in the Internet’s history think about the user – the people.

Measurement
For years, marketers have been talking about the dilemma of measuring their campaigns and, many times, companies simply run an initiative without tracking their results.

Companies spend a great deal of money and effort to executive and effective mobile campaign. However, those that do not track it are not only missing a big opportunity to better connect with consumers, but better reach them in the future.

“Marketers are jumping into mobile without tracking the effectiveness of certain tools,” said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of ScanLife, New York.

“Mobile can deliver some amazing business intelligence that marketers never had access to,” he said.

“Marketers need to use technology to help them decide what is effectively delivering the best ROI.”

No promotions
Another mistake mobile marketers make is not promoting their mobile programs effectively across all promotional platforms.

Every successful mobile marketing is based on the number of consumers who participate in it, so promoting the program to drive opt-ins is key.

“Many unsuccessful programs can be tied to a poor call to actions such as using small text to promote opt-in information, lumping the program call to action with the promotion of other mobile programs or limiting promotion to just the Web, banner ads or simple in-store signage,” said James Citron, cofounder/CEO of Mogreet, Venice, CA.

“The greater the promotion of the program, the greater the awareness of the program and the stronger the chance of increasing opt-ins and participation,” he said.

Is There a Place for Word of Mouth Advertising in the Digital World?

digital business solutionsLets cut to the chase.  Absolutely!  In fact it is alive and well and possibly more effective today then it was 20 years ago.  It is simply just a process of leveraging where your customers want you to be.  Did you get that?  Not where your comfortable, but where your customers are comfortable.  Here is a graphic of the minimum digital properties your small business should own:

Pitfalls

To this I would caution that email marketing is seeing signs of decline for effectiveness.  Even though the latest studies show that open rates are up, that stat is skewed because of the proliferation of “Deal of the Days” (groupon, livingsocial, etc.)  In a couple of weeks I will share with you why Groupon is bad for business, but that is another post on another day.  In my real world interaction with small business and my email marketing to 40k plus subscribers, there has been a significant decline over the last couple of years.

One item not on this list that I would suggest for the small business owner is a blog.  It is a great way for you to communicate and vent, specifically when it is tied to all of your other digital properties.
Another downside is time.  Some of these products do take time. (which most small business owners don’t have)  The alternative is to hire a service to manage your accounts which can actually be quite cost effective.  However, with the proper connections between all or your products it really is a simple task to post once and have your promotions, events or thoughts travel to all of your digital properties at the same time.

Making Marketing Fun Again

Marketing should be fun.  The reason it became un-fun is because of cost and lack of tracking or effectiveness.  It is very hard today to get a decent ROI on traditional marketing efforts.  Think your TV advertising is kicking butt?  I have a client that purchased $7500 worth of TV advertising and was ecstatic that many of his customers were mentioning that they saw him on TV.  Good…but, I asked him to track new customers and existing by making it part of his greeting: “Hi welcome to _________, have you been in before?”  Yes or No “Did you see our TV ad?”  Here is where it got interesting, a 4 week flight brought in 57 new customers.  Seems like it worked, right?  That is until you divide $7500 by 57…ouch, that is $131 per customer!  We could go deeper into the mathematics of actual ROI by factoring food costs and so forth, but i think you get the idea.  Paying a marketing company a couple of hundred dollars a month doesn’t look so bad now.

Back to the original thought, marketing should be fun.  When you have a mobile marketing platform, Facebook and Twitter, you can put all of the crazy things you have always wanted to do but couldn’t afford the failure of paying the bucks up front.  Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Make it worth your customers effort.  Groupon didn’t invent half off (75% off for the business owner) just the delivery system.
  2. Have multiple offers and change them up often.
  3. Use your platform to post community events.
  4. Use your platform to announce new product, menu items or special buys.
  5. Get a calendar with all of the obscure holidays listed.  One of our most successful holidays is Emelia Earhart Day.  It took a couple of years but, the rise in engagement was significant.

So go out there and have fun, engage your customers and they will create word of mouth advertising for you and it will by far be the most cost effective marketing you have ever done.

Here is a fun piece we’re doing for the launch of Marketing Reimagined.com :

We’re Nuts

Have Fun, Make Money and whatever industry your in, Provide the Worlds Greatest Experience!

Small Business Owner Jumps from 1st Story Window, Frustrated While Desiging a Mobile Website

If only the business owner had read this article first.  Mobile Website design is a completley different mind set then a desktop site.  Desktop is content, content, and more content.  And Google likes that.  However, a Mobile Website is all about content, content and more content on a diet.  This is an excellent article on 10 Key Considerations for Your Mobile Web Design Strategy.

 

What follows is a synopsis of an excellent piece written by Brian Casel 

The full article can be found HERE

Mobile Web Site Examples

New Rules for Creativity on a Mobile Website

There’s no turning back now. The web has gone mobile. More users are accessing the web from more places on more devices than ever before. What does this mean for web designers and site owners? It means that in every project we do, we must address a mobile strategy.

Your strategy will differ depending on what type of project you’re working on, but make no mistake, you do need some kind of strategy for how your website (or your client’s website) functions in the mobile space. Whether you’re designing a site that is mostly static (is anything on the web really static anymore?), a content-driven news site, or an interactive web application, it’s best to pursue a well-rounded approach — one that includes a thoughtful look at your mobile website user experience.

In this article, I aim to highlight 10 crucial items that you, as the web designer, developer or site owner, need to consider at the outset of your mobile site design project. These ideas touch on all aspects of a process, from strategy to design and implementation. But it’s important to be accountable for these points up front to ensure the successful launch of your mobile site.

1. Define Your Need for a Mobile Site

Usually a mobile website design project comes about through one of the following circumstances:

  • It’s a brand new website in need of both a desktop and mobile strategy.
  • It’s a redesign of an existing website, which will include a new mobile site.
  • It’s an addition of a mobile site to an existing desktop site, which won’t be changing.

Each of these circumstances brings a different set of requirements, which will help you determine the best way forward as you consider the items discussed below.

2. Consider the Business Objectives

In most cases, you, as the designer/developer are being hired by a client to design a mobile site for their business. What are the business objectives as they relate to the website, specifically the mobile site? As with any design, you’ll need to prioritize these objectives, then communicate that hierarchy in your design. When translating your design to mobile, you’ll need to take this a step further and focus on just a couple of top priority objectives for the business.

3. Study the Data of the Past Before Moving Forward

If this project is a redesign (most web design projects are these days), or an addition of a mobile site to an existing website, hopefully the site has been tracking traffic with Google Analytics (or another metrics tracking software). It is wise to study the data before diving into design and development.

Analyze things like which devices and browsers your users are accessing the site from. While you want to be sure the site is built with device support in mind, you can target these browsers as high priorities when you go from design, through development, testing and launch.

4. Practice Responsive Web Design

With so many new mobile devices being released every year, the days of checking your site in a few web browsers and launching are over. You’ll need to optimize your site for a vast landscape of desktop and mobile browsers, each bringing a different screen resolution, supported technologies, and user-base. As recommended in the well-known article Responsive Web Design, you can craft the desktop and mobile site experiences simultaneously.

5. Simplicity Is Golden, But …

As a general rule of thumb when converting a desktop site design to mobile format, you want to simplify things wherever possible. There are several reasons for this. Keeping file size and load times down is always a good idea for a mobile site. Wireless connections — while faster than years past — are still relatively slow, so the faster your mobile site loads, the better.

Usability considerations on the mobile web also call for a simplified approach to design, layout, and navigation. With less screen real estate at your disposal, you need to choose your placement of elements wisely. In short: Less is more.

6. Single-Column Layouts Usually Work Best

As you think about layout, a single-column structure tends to work best. Not only does this help with managing limited space on the smaller screen, it also helps you easily scale between different device resolutions and flipping between portrait and landscape mode.

7. Vertical Hierarchy: Think in Collapsible Terms

Does your site have a lot of information that needs to be presented on the mobile site? A good way to organize things in a simple and digestible way is to set up a collapsible navigation. Taking your single-column structure a step further, you can stack chunks of large content in folding modules that allow the user to tap open the content that they’re interested in and hide the rest.

8. Go From “Clickable” to “Tappable”

On the mobile web, interaction is done via finger taps rather than mouse clicks. This creates a very different dynamic in terms of usability.

When converting from a desktop to mobile site design, you have to revisit your “clickable” elements — links, buttons, menus, etc. — and make them “tappable.” While the desktop web lends itself well to links with small and precise active (clickable) areas, the mobile web requires larger, chunkier buttons that can be easily pressed with a thumb.

9. Provide Interaction Feedback

Speaking of interaction, you’ll need to make sure you provide obvious feedback for any actions that occur on the front-end of your mobile site.

For example, when the user taps a link or button, it’s good practice to have that button visually change states to indicate it has been tapped and the action has been initiated. It’s common to see a white-colored link turn fully blue on the iPhone when tapped. This visual feedback is familiar to most users and you’d be wise to take advantage of it.

10. Test Your Mobile Website

As with any project, you’ll need to test your mobile website on as many devices as possible. Without owning all these devices, it can be somewhat tricky to find ways to accurately test for each.

This article provides a thorough breakdown of how to test a mobile website across the most popular platforms.

Off you go!

Visit Marketing Re Imagined and Digital Air Media for some other guidelines and other mobile web examples.

Club Victoria Open for Frisco Festival – Get Your Cajun On

Located at 113 W Walnut

 

Club Victoria Creole Nouvelle will be open this Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the Frisco Festival and be open those days through September.  We should be getting our liquor license by the end of September with a invitation only grand opening of the completed bar area and expanded menu and hours happening sometime in early October.  Thanks for the great turn out at the Twilight Walk last Friday, we were slammed.  If you have any questions or comments please see Victoria or email vic@digitalairmedia.com.  We will look forward to seeing everyone this weekend.  Please text clubvic to 71441 or scan QR to be entered into a contest for a $50 Gift Certificate and special offers, events and news.

 

August 24th and 25th

 

The Frisco Festival has been delighting people from all over for more than two decades. Located in the Rogers Historic District it will be held this weekend  Friday, August 24th and Saturday August 25th, this family-friendly festival is named in honor of Rogers’ rich railroad heritage. Area businesses sponsor what is the area’s biggest party including rides, music, delicious food, car shows, and so much more. A few signature events include the Chilisalapeno Competition, Kid’s Connection, Frisco Chicken BBQ, Frisco Idol, several car shows, main stage entertainment … all topped off with street dances on both Friday and Saturday night.  This event is so big it has its own website. Check out www.friscofestival.com  for more information about the upcoming event!

3 Reasons Your Company Needs a Mobile Ready Website

Here is a great example of a Desktop Website vs a Mobile Website.

There is no question that mobile phone use is increasing. In fact, there are 331 million wireless subscriber connections as of Dec. 2011 vs. 221 million in 2006. As such, mobile browser use is also on the rise. Data from StatCounter suggests that as of April 2012, approximately 8.56% of website traffic is from a mobile device vs. only 3.02% just two years ago in April 2010.

This sharp increase in mobile browser usage signals a significant shift in how users consume content online. The fact is 63.2 million Americans own a smartphone, 35% of whom access the mobile Internet from their device (comScore).

The question is how can your business best position itself to take advantage of these mobile usage trends?

One logical solution is to build a mobile-ready version of your website. If a complete redesign is not possible, a mobile front end to your site should be considered at the very least.

Here are three reasons why your company needs a mobile ready website:

1. Make it easier for mobile users to contact you. With a mobile ready website you can cut down on the clutter and focus on the important stuff, such as three bold buttons for phone, email and directions.

2. Make it easier for mobile users to read your content. Asking your users to pinch and zoom to read your content is unnecessary and dilutes your message. A mobile ready site allows you to increase readability and decrease frustration.

3. Make a bolder statement and stronger brand impression. Your business has likely invested significant money and resources into branding … don’t let that go to waste with a sloppy mobile presentation.

To see more examples of before and after shots go to Marketing ReImagined

Club Victoria Creole Nouvelle Opens for Business

Club Victoria opened last night to rave reviews.  I was fortunate to be part of this great experience.  From chopping veggies to designing the new menu, it was a lot of fun.  Don’t forget that the Sneak Peek continues tonight at 5 pm.  I will be there again helping out (most likely trying to stay out of the way).  My new office will be located upstairs in the next couple of weeks so I will get to meet many old friends and new ones as we hope to enhance the Downtown Rogers experience.  Text ‘clubvic’ to 71441 to get entered into a contest for a $50 G.C.  Here are some pics from last night:

A Father and his son were the first customers to walk through the door last night. They were soon joined by his Wife and other son.

Jambalaya was by far the most popular dish. Sold out!

The cheesecake brownies were the second most popular dish. We had some guests that skipped dinner and just had a brownie…things that make you go hmmm.

10 Ways Mobile Sites Are Different from Desktop Web Sites

 

By Shanshan Ma

What follows is a great article written by Shanshan Ma of UXmatters (user experience) a great site for inspiration and lessons to address the user experience.  The bottom line is that businesses need to adopt a very different thought process when building a mobile website vs. a full size website.  Enjoy!

StevenB

DigitalAirMedia.com

“The form-factor difference seems to have a dramatic impact on the success rates of users’ interactions, and therefore, should impact how we design mobile sites as well.”

Web site design principles and best practices are becoming well known these days. For example: In a process funnel, progress status should be readily visible across its pages. We should prevent errors from happening, but when errors do occur, provide adequate guidance to help users resolve them.

Many believe the basic principles and guidelines that are applicable in the design of Web sites should still apply when designing for mobile platforms. After all, Web design has evolved from basic, text-based HTML pages into today’s Web standards. So, we might expect that mobile sites that follow the same guidelines could easily reach the same level of success with users that desktop Web sites have achieved.

However, the design of mobile sites is still in its infancy. As Jakob Nielsen’s 2009 study on mobile usability pointed out, users’ success rates when using mobile devices to access mobile sites averaged only 64%, which is quite low in comparison to the 80% average success rate for users who access Web sites on a computer. The form-factor difference seems to have a dramatic impact on the success rates of users’ interactions, and therefore, should impact how we design mobile sites as well.

New principles and best practices will inevitably arise as mobile site design continues to evolve. As a first step toward achieving this evolution, I’ve looked at how some successful mobile sites already differ from desktop Web sites. Based on my analysis of several verticals, including airlines, ecommerce, social networking and entertainment, and travel sites, I have identified 10 ways in which mobile sites should be different from desktop Web sites.

1.  Content Prioritization

“While desktop Web sites often contain a wide range of content, mobile sites usually include only the most crucial functions and features—particularly those that leverage time and location….”

In comparison to the design of Web sites for desktop computers—typically, for a 1024 x 768 screen resolution—the biggest challenge in designing a Web site for a smartphone with a 320 x 480 screen resolution is how to cope with this dramatic difference in screen size without sacrificing the user experience. While desktop Web sites often contain a wide range of content, mobile sites usually include only the most crucial functions and features—particularly those that leverage time and location, as the example Orbitz desktop and mobile Web pages in Figures 1 and 2 show. Mobile site designs should give priority to the features and content users are most likely to need when viewing a site using a mobile device. Having insights into your customers’ needs dictates a lot from a content-development standpoint, as well as a site’s architecture and screen layouts.

Figure 1—Features on the Orbitz desktop Web site

Figure 2—Features on the Orbitz mobile site

orbitz mobile site

2.  Vertical Instead of Horizontal Navigation

“Vertical navigation has replaced horizontal navigation on more than 90% of the mobile sites I analyzed….”

Horizontal navigation, like that on the Urban Outfitters site shown in Figure 3, is a widely accepted means of structuring and presenting content on desktop Web sites. Users scan a navigation bar from left to right, then click a link to go to a different section of a site. A UIE blog post titled “The Challenge of Moving to Horizontal Navigation,” by Joshua Porter, talked about the benefits of using a horizontal navigation bar at the top instead of placing navigation on the side of a page. When a navigation bar is at the top of a page, users can typically more easily focus on page content rather than their being visually attracted to the navigation bar on the side. However, vertical navigation has replaced horizontal navigation on more than 90% of the mobile sites I analyzed, including the Urban Outfitters mobile site shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3—Horizontal navigation bar on the Urban Outfitters desktop Web site

Figure 4—Vertical navigation on the Urban Outfitters mobile site

3.  Bars, Tabs, and Hypertext

“We see much less hypertext on mobile pages. … Links instead appear in the form of bars, tabs, and buttons.”

Hypertext is the signature component of the Internet and the Web, as Figure 5 shows. However, we see much less hypertext on mobile pages. It’s not that pages are no longer linked, but that links instead appear in the form of bars, tabs, and buttons, as shown in Figure 6. The reason for this is the optimization of mobile design for users’ operation of mobile devices with their fingers.

Hypertext is ideal when users click links using a mouse on a computer, but tapping links using your fingers on a touchscreen mobile device is not easy. Users can too easily activate a link they did not intend to tap and accidentally land on an undesired page. This can lead to a bad user experience. Fitts’s law tells us that the time required to acquire a target area is a function of the distance to and the size of the target. Bigger objects such as bars, tabs, or buttons allow users to tap with more precision. It is essential to make the actionable objects on mobile sites big and easily noticeable.

Figure 5—Kayak Web page with links

Kayak full website

Figure 6—Kayak mobile page with no links

Kayak mobile site

4.  Text and Graphics

“Designers often remove promotional or marketing graphics from the designs of mobile sites.”

On Web pages, we can use graphics for many different purposes such as promoting, marketing, or navigating, as on the Dell Web site shown in Figure 7. However, designers often remove promotional or marketing graphics from the designs of mobile sites, as shown in Figure 8. The company logo remains for navigational purposes. Users can tap it to go to the home page. There are several reasons for this transition from many to few graphics. One reason is that some mobile devices do not support the software we traditionally use for desktop Web site design. Other reasons include the small screen sizes of mobile devices and the limited available screen real estate in which to display content, as well as the slow download speeds on mobile devices.

Figure 7—Dell Web page with graphics

Dell full website

Figure 8—Dell mobile page with minimal graphics

Dell mobile website-minimal graphics

5.  Contextual and Global Navigation

“While global navigation is common on mobile sites, contextual navigation is not.”

Desktop Web sites typically use various forms of navigation, as on the Best Buy site shown in Figure 9. Some of them are global and remain consistent across a site, while others are contextual and change depending on where users are on a site. However, while global navigation is common on mobile sites, contextual navigation is not. The Best Buy mobile site shown in Figure 10 provides an example of typical mobile site navigation.

The main reason for the reduction of global and contextual navigation on mobile sites is the limited screen real estate on mobile devices. However, a lack of global and contextual navigation may cause users to find themselves in the middle of nowhere, not knowing where they are. Therefore, it’s essential to reduce hierarchy when organizing the content on mobile sites, so users don’t have to dig too deeply to get things done. They should be able to achieve what they want to accomplish before becoming lost.

Figure 9—Multiple types of contextual navigation on the Best Buy Web site

Best Buy full website

Figure 10—No contextual navigation on the Best Buy mobile site

Best Buy mobile website

6.  Footers

“Mobile sites employ footers that provide access to content users often look for on a home page, keeping its links to a minimum, but they do not use footers containing quick links.”

There are two types of footers that are in common use on desktop Web sites. One type of footer provides links to content that users might expect to see on a site’s home page, but has a lower priority than the primary content on the home page—for example, Careers or Sitemap. Another type of footer provides quick links to content users typically need to view most often. As shown in Figure 11, these quick links are often grouped in lists in a footer, so users have access to them across a site. Mobile sites employ footers that provide access to content users often look for on a home page, keeping its links to a minimum, as shown in Figure 12, but they do not use footers containing quick links.

Figure 11—Footer on the Dell Web site

A typical footer on a full size website

Figure 12—Minimal footer on the Dell mobile site

Dell mobile website with minimal footers

7.  Breadcrumbs

“Breadcrumbs rarely appear on mobiles sites, and there is usually no necessity for them.”

On desktop Web sites, breadcrumbs are an effective way of reassuring users they are on the right page and allow them to backtrack on their navigational path like those shown in Figure 13. They make sense for large, hierarchical Web sites with lots of different content at multiple levels in a hierarchy. However, breadcrumbs rarely appear on mobiles sites, and there is usually no necessity for them. Limited space is one reason breadcrumbs are uncommon on mobile sites. But the main factor is that the design of mobile sites prevents users from having to go too deep into a hierarchy to find what they are looking for. Again, users should be able to achieve what they want to accomplish on a site before they start feeling lost.

Figure 13—Breadcrumbs on Amazon Web site

8.  Progress Indicator

“When users must progress through multiple steps to complete a process … there is often a progress indicator at the top of the page to guide users through the process. Such progress indicators do not appear on mobile sites.”

On desktop Web sites, when users must progress through multiple steps to complete a process—whether they are making a purchase, as in Figure 14, or filling out a long registration form—there is often a progress indicator at the top of the page to guide users through the process. Such progress indicators do not appear on mobile sites. Again, limited space is the main reason.

Use alternative approaches to make users aware of their progress without a progress indicator. For example, instead of using buttons with implicit actions such as Next or Continue, use buttons with explicit labels that inform users exactly what the next step is—for example, Proceed to Checkout or Specify Shipping & Payment. Users still receive information about where they are in a process and what to expect at the next step.

Figure 14—Progress indicator on Amazon Web site

9.  Integration with Phone Functions

“While mobile platforms place many limitations on design and content, they also open up new opportunities that traditional Web sites cannot provide.”

Smartphones are communications devices, so making phone calls is their most basic function. While mobile platforms place many limitations on design and content, they also open up new opportunities that traditional Web sites cannot provide. For example, there is better integration with phone functions such as direct calling and text messaging, which lets mobile sites facilitate ordering products by phone—as shown in Figure 15—or send promotional text messages. Usually mobile sites let users select a phone number, then call or text that number—without having to type the number.

Figure 15—Shop by phone on the Best Buy mobile site

10.  Localized & Personalized Search

“Another area of opportunity that is unique to mobile sites is the use of geolocation services or support.”

Another area of opportunity that is unique to mobile sites is the use of geolocation services or support. While this technology has been available for some time, only in the last five years has it gained traction in the consumer marketplace. Now, it is commonplace for mobile applications and Web sites to take advantage of this functionality by integrating it into value-adding services such as mobile search.

Many mobile devices can automatically detect where users are and give them local search results, as exemplified by the store location search on Best Buy, restaurant search on Yelp, and airport suggestions on Kayak, shown in Figure 16. This capability offers powerful opportunities for businesses to promote their products or services based on a person’s proximity to their place of business and their immediate intent.

Figure 16—Autodetection of geographical location to suggest an airport on Kayak

In Summary

Based on my company’s research, which looked at a number of mobile sites from various industries, I’ve discovered 10 ways in which mobile sites differ from desktop Web sites:

  1. In comparison to desktop Web sites, which usually contain a wide range of content and information, mobile sites usually include only the most crucial and time- and location-specific functions and features.
  2. On desktop Web sites, horizontal navigation at the top of a page is a widely accepted way of structuring and presenting a site’s content. However, vertical navigation replaces horizontal navigation on more than 90% of the mobile sites we analyzed.
  3. Hypertext is the signature component of the Internet and the Web. However, on mobile sites, there are few or no hypertexts on pages.
  4. On desktop Web sites, designers use graphics for many different purposes, including promoting, marketing, and navigating. Mobile sites avoid using promotional and marketing graphics and use minimal graphics for navigation.
  5. Various types of navigation are available on desktop Web sites. Some are global, so are consistent across a site, while others are contextual and change depending on where users are on a site. In contrast, while most mobile sites have global navigation, contextual navigation is rare on mobile sites.
  6. On desktop Web sites, footers typically provide either links to content users might expect to see on a site’s home page or quick links that are available across a site to provide access to content users often need. Mobile sites employ a minimal form of the first type of footer, but they do not use footers containing quick links.
  7. On desktop Web sites, breadcrumbs reassure users that they are on the right page and let them backtrack on their navigational path. Breadcrumbs are rare on mobiles sites and really aren’t necessary, because of the relatively flat structure of mobile sites.
  8. Process funnels on desktop Web sites frequently use a progress indicator at the top of each page to guide users through the process. Such progress indicators do not appear on mobile sites.
  9. Mobile sites offer better integration with phone functions—and present marketing opportunities such as facilitating direct orders by phone or sending promotional text messages.
  10. Mobile sites can take advantage of technology that automatically detects where users are to present local search results. When users set up their preferences or profile, personalized search results become even more relevant and valuable to them.