MGI Tipster – Volume 12, Issue 11

November 19, 2013   |   Vol. 12   |   Issue 11
Optimizing websites for mobile devices



As the technologies of mobile and portable devices move ahead at near light speed and new capabilities seem to be added almost daily, many of the websites that these new mobile devices connect with are still hurrying to keep up.

Websites are designed to maximize the full space of a traditional desktop monitor, and while traditional websites can be viewed on most mobile devices, they can be difficult to read and navigate.

That’s because web pages do not size well on mobile devices resulting in text that is often too small to read. Also, links and buttons may be difficult to click, and web pages may require considerable scrolling and zooming to view all of their content.

Who is optimizing

At this juncture in the development of the new mobile era, most large websites have been optimized, particularly commercial firms that depend on mobile to feed their online revenue streams. But smaller companies, and especially small and medium sized associations, have not yet upgraded.

And it’s important that they do so and soon, because nearly three-quarters (72%) of users say it’s important to them that brands have mobile-friendly sites. That means optimizing for mobile as well as PCs and laptops is critical, and that adds considerable complexities to website management.

Speaking the language

There are two ways to modernize a website for mobile. The first is to add Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to traditional HTML code, which dynamically controls the content flow based on screen size. The second solution is to create a separate site altogether just for mobile viewing, to be able to handle the platforms that run mobile devices such as Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, and Blackberry’s OS 10.

The process is very much like adding layer upon layer of new code to HTML-based websites to accommodate visitors who increasingly use phones, tablets, and other portable devices in place of traditional PCs and laptops to access the internet.

New consulting

Technology firms that offer web development services to bring HTML-only websites into the smartphone age have been springing up ever since mobile smart devices hit the mainstream market. But only recently have lower pricing and greater access to technical expertise enabled smaller sites to afford the upgrade to serve mobile markets.

As a result, many businesses that sat on the sidelines during the rapid and sweeping move to mobile are now at last optimizing their websites.

Getting started

The process of becoming a mobile content provider is relatively uncomplicated for well-trained programmers, but it can be time consuming, particularly with so many mobile platforms to support.

Of course, the more complex the website, the longer the mobile fitting process can take. Some common website functions, such as online forms and the backend processes needed to support them are more difficult to design and require more time to complete.

Test and launch

After a website has been updated with mobile coding, the process moves to the quality control (QC) phase where it is tested. Marketing General Incorporated fully optimized and tested its mobile site with the help of two programmers in less than a month.

Firms that provide mobile programming services typically charge a flat fee for initial coding and set up, and then they charge a monthly fee for monitoring and ongoing maintenance.

Going mobile

If it’s time your organization developed its mobile communications, we can help. To find out more, contact MGI Vice President of Operations Tom Beauchamp at 703.706.0377 or email him at TBeauchamp@MarketingGeneral.com.

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