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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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.

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

Mobile Website vs. App (ios-android)

Digital Air mobile website vs. Mobile App (Application):
Which is Best for Your Organization?

Mobile Websites


For Broad Marketing Outreach, A Digital Air mobile website is the Place to Start

If you’re planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization one of the first considerations that will likely come to mind is whether you want to create a mobile application for users to download (app) or a Digital Air mobile website, or perhaps both. Digital Air mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.

What’s the Difference Between a Digital Air mobile website and an App?

Before you can evaluate the benefits of a Digital Air mobile website vs. an app it’s important to understand the key differences between the two. Both apps and Digital Air mobile websites are accessed on handheld devices such as Smartphones (e.g. iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and tablets.

A Digital Air mobile website is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and accessed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The obvious characteristic that distinguishes a Digital Air mobile website from a standard website is the fact that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface.

Like any website, Digital Air mobile websites can display text content, data, images and video. They can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping.

Apps are actual applications that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being rendered within a browser. Users visit device-specific portals such as  Apple’s App Store, Android Market, or Blackberry App World in order to find and download apps for a given operating system. The app may pull content and data from the Internet, in similar fashion to a website, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

Which is Better – an App or a Digital Air mobile website?

When it comes to deciding whether to build a native app or a Digital Air mobile website, the most appropriate choice really depends on your end goals. If you are developing an interactive game an app is probably going to be your best option. But if your goal is to offer mobile-friendly content to the widest possible audience then a Digital Air mobile website is probably the way to go. In some cases you may decide you need both a Digital Air mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s pretty safe to say that it rarely makes sense to build an app without already having a Digital Air mobile website in place.

Generally speaking, a Digital Air mobile website should be considered your first step in developing a mobile web presence, whereas an app is useful for developing an application for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser.

Advantages of a Digital Air mobile website vs. Native Apps

If your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communications, a Digital Air mobile website is almost always going to make sense as a practical first step in your mobile outreach strategy. This is because a Digital Air mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness.

Immediacy – Digital Air mobile websites Are Instantly Available
A Digital Air mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, etc).  Apps on the other hand require the user to first download and install the app from an app marketplace before the content or application can be viewed – a significant barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion. 

Compatibility – Digital Air mobile websites are Compatible Across Devices
A single Digital Air mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device. Furthermore, Digital Air mobile website URLs are easily integrated within other mobile technologies such as SMS, QR Codesand near field communication (NFC).

Upgradability – Digital Air mobile websites Can Be Updated Instantly
A Digital Air mobile website is much more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update content. If you want to change the design or content of a Digital Air mobile website you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible; updating an app on the other hand requires the updates to be pushed to users, which then must be downloaded in order to update the app on each type of device. 

Findability – Digital Air mobile websites Can be Found Easily
Digital Air mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld (using device-detection).  In contrast, the visibility of apps are largely restricted to manufacturer app stores.

Shareability – Digital Air mobile websites Can be Shared Easily by Publishers, and Between Users
Digital Air mobile website URLs are easily shared between users via a simple link (e.g. within an email or text message, Facebook or Twitter post). Publishers can easily direct users to a Digital Air mobile website from a blog or website, or even in print. An app simply cannot be shared in this fashion.

Reach – Digital Air mobile websites Have Broader Reach
Because a Digital Air mobile website is accessible across platforms and can be easily shared among users, as well as search engines, it has far greater reach capability than a native app. 

LifeCycle – Digital Air mobile websites Can’t be Deleted
The average shelf-life of an app is pretty short, less than 30 days according to some research, so unless your app is something truly unique and/or useful (ideally, both), it’s questionable how long it will last on a user’s device. Digital Air mobile websites on the other hand are always available for users to return to them. 

A Digital Air mobile website Can be an App!
Just like a standard website, Digital Air mobile websites can be developed as database-driven web applications that act very much like native apps. A mobile web application can be a practical alternative to native app development.

Time and Cost – Digital Air mobile websites are Easier and Less Expensive
Last but certainly not least, Digital Air mobile website development is considerably more time and cost-effective than development of a native app, especially if you need to have a presence on different platforms (requiring development of multiple apps).

Support and Sustainability
The investment considerations of app vs website don’t end with the initial launch; properly supporting and developing an app (upgrades, testing, compatibility issues and ongoing development) is more much more expensive and involved than supporting a website over time.

 

 

When Does an App Make Sense?

Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular, and there are a number of specific use scenarios where an app will be your best choice.  Generally speaking, if you need one of the following, an app makes sense:

  • Interactivity/Gaming – for interactive games (think Angry Birds) an app is almost always going to be your best choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
  • Regular Usage/Personalization – If your target users are going to be using your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote) then an app provides a great way to do that.
  • Complex Calculations or Reporting – If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (think banking or investment) an app will help you do that very effectively.
  • Native Functionality or Processing Required – mobile web browsers are getting increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS. However, if you need to access a user’s camera or processing power an app will still do that much more effectively.
  • No connection Required – If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense.

As with any project, when developing an app you want to ensure that your are getting an optimal return on your investment. What you want to avoid at all costs is the needless and expensive exercise of building an app to do something basic that can be achieved with a Digital Air mobile website.

In Conclusion

As long as mobile remains a relatively new frontier, the “app vs web” question will remain a very real consideration for organizations seeking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-driven, or if your aim is to deliver content and establish a broad mobile presence that can be easily shared between users and found on search engines, then the a Digital Air mobile website is the logical choice. On the other hand, if your goal is interactive engagement with users, or to provide an application that needs to work more like a computer program than a website, then an app is probably going to be required.

Digital Air Media is a provider of Mobile/Smartphone marketing solutions for small to medium business.  email: info at digitalairmedia dot com or call 479-685-3142