By now, everyone seems to recognize that their website should perform well for the increasing number of mobile viewers out there. There's an app for that, right?
Well, we are about to be inundated with a pile of similar yet incompatible mobile platforms and App Stores. Just to name a few, we have:
- Apple iPhone
- Google Android
- Nokia Symbian
- Microsoft Windows Phone 7
- HP WebOS
- Samsung Bada
AND that's just the capable phone platforms. AND that is excluding carrier operated App Stores like Verizon's V-Cast App Store. AND that is excluding the tablet operating systems, which browse more like a desktop than a phone anyway.
So you want your website to perform well on mobile, but do you really want to develop 7 distinct native apps and maintain those apps? Plus, do you really expect your customers to take the time to install an keep an app updated, just to look at... A website???
The smartest and savviest website operators are investing their time and money into making their site deliver mobile friendly content. Look at ESPN or Engadget on your mobile and see what they did.
We were faced with a similar challenge when CFM wanted to make a mobile friendly site ahead of the Farnborough Air Show this month. The mobile strategy we developed is a simple and effective one, and can be applied to many sites out there:
- Choose an effective browser detection library which works with your website's framework.
- Enhance the existing CMS to support a Default Desktop Template as well as a Mobile Phone Template. It's important that the Desktop template be the true default so as not to interfere with SEO.
- Enhance the "Desktop" template to include some tablet/iPad specific hooks (to provide alternate to flash content).
The advantages of this method are obvious (but why not spell them out!). Up front development is greatly reduced because you don't have to code proprietary apps. Maintenance is reduced because a single CMS controls all content for all users. And the end user is easily able to view your content, by standard conventions that are compatible across all platforms.
So there you have it... Complexity, simplified!
More Info: CFM Mobile Website
More Info: Case Study on Cicada's Website