You want to go Mobile, but not sure how? Is it simply, by making your website mobile friendly? Or is there something more to it? Let us find out what you need to do
According to Gartner’s predictions made last year, half of the internet users would access the net exclusively by using their smartphones or tablets by the year 2018. According to Google if a webpage is not mobile friendly, its ranking drops hence Google decided to change its algorithm for searches that happened via smartphones. Google wanted number of ‘Google searches’ on mobile devices to exceed those made on computers.
It is convincing that you need to make your website mobile in order to stay ahead in the Market and make your web presence stronger, but the trouncing question is how?
In the past couple of years, IT companies have adopted different approaches to go mobile. Some built sites exclusively meant for usage only via mobile devices. Others went in to make their websites responsive. Some used re-coding strategy to automatically adjust as per the device usage and some smart ones decided to build mobile apps as their mobile strategy. The strange part is that many companies have adopted all the above mentioned methods to go mobile, where as some of them have not done anything and are yet to start.
Being on the web involves elements of responsive design, smart apps for targeted users, optimizing web content for display on mobiles, but what most companies lack is a properly outlined Mobile strategy to bring all these elements to fruition together using a systematic approach.
1. Begin with a high level Mobile Strategy
Create a unified high level mobile plan with some well defined strategy, optimized process and strong governance around creation, support and management of mobile websites.
Initially by beginning with smartphones and leveraging responsive design and high end techniques such as adaptive image compression, an enterprise can make the experience better for all users. Users will view exclusive content optimized for the device and nothing else ensuring a quicker response time and a better user experience.
2. Build a sound and detailed Mobile strategy
It is possible to build a sound mobile strategy only if you have understood what has to be done. And that is possible by getting answers to all the basic questions and having a thorough understanding of user requirements. You need to perform requirement analysis, understand requirements and you will definitely have the right foundation for commencing to build an effective mobile presence.
3. Build your mobile website or App or both based on your user requirements
A company will have a diverse set of users and hence the company should consider the best approach based on each type of user and their necessary requirements. The company may leverage both options a) building a mobile website and b) creating a mobile app. The mobile apps are usually for the targeted customers who are loyalists and who have a continuing long lasting relationship with the company. Whereas the mobile website offers more capabilities, better customer service and support.
The company may use both together the app and the mobile website. The advantage it gets of creating a mobile-first website is that when the company wants to offer the full functionality of the website, it does not have to design everything natively for the app. It can reuse code portions of the mobile website to easily build the complete experience in the apps as well
Providing a great user experience on the apps can be accomplished native to the platform whereas for functions common across all platforms, e.g. checking order status, companies can use a hybrid model.
Many companies depend exclusively on their mobile websites and don’t build mobile apps. They believe that the evolution of HTML5 tools and responsive design they can build the desired functionality. And that designing and maintaining of mobile apps for different platforms is a huge ongoing investment of finance and of time.
4. Find out the Geographic location of your target users
Based on the geography of the world, most users in specific areas access the internet only via smartphones. In such areas it is best to design an exclusively mobile website for such customers. While in other geographies mainly the developing countries it is a good idea to leverage responsive design for accommodating multiple platforms. Apps too can make it work.
5. Organize your own mobile development teams
Although you may have a strong mobile strategy in place, it may not be sufficient. As having the right mix of a powerful mobile development team in the organization is equally important. There has to be strong collaboration between the technology team and the marketing team to accomplish the desired outcomes. The designers and developers need to be agile, iterative and collaborative in order to avoid conflicts and issues that may be time consuming and may not give desired results.
6. Future Platforms can’t be ignored
The word Mobile is not restricted to smartphones and tablets, but has extended to phablets, wearables, and many other IoT devices that are slowly growing towards being Internet-enabled. If you wish to provide an omni-channel experience to your users it is necessary to have a robust back end and abstract it from users so that they can have a seamless experience for a range of Platforms while ensuring that data and images are not tied to a particular device / platform. If you want your app to run everywhere you may use Cross Platform compilers, or build HTML5 web apps, or HTML5 Hybrid apps.