What is This… A Website For Ants?

Guest blog originally posted here So you have got by so far with some success, not paying an awful lot of attention to the digital side of the business. It is possible to be successful without a website; it is possible to grow a business and a sales career with no understanding of the digital sphere.  It will be tough though! People, who work smart rather than just hard, were the first to start using digital tools to grow their business. Fax, Mobile Phones, Email, Websites, Social Media, Smart Phones and Tablets are a linear progression in communications technology that have empowered progressive generations of people to be more effective in  communicating and executing their business responsibilities. None of the above list with the exception perhaps of the mobile phone has been a revolution in itself, none of them can eliminate the need for genuine human contact but they can make it all the more easy to acquire and more meaningful when it happens.

So Then Why Mobile?

If your website is an important part of your business marketing and I expect it will be, how does it look and work on a mobile phone? Most websites do work on a touch screen mobile phone to a greater or lesser degree. That said, they mostly do not work very well. Why? What is this? A website for ants! It is a bit annoying when you click a link in a marketing email or worse follow a link from a social media app onto a blog or website that is not mobile optimised. The whole page is usually displayed with any content representing on a micro scale. It is hard on some designs even to identify the content you were looking for and you may end up pinch and zooming into a number of articles before you find the right one. This is really bad for the UX (user experience). Have you ever tried to read an article and double clicked the content, expecting it to snap to the screen width but it doesn’t? Yup another common UX fail… I mean you Big companies are still getting it wrong, but they are improving, the window of acceptance is closing, soon people will stop overlooking how bad your mobile UX is. And if you have a flash website… Forget about it… Get my number from Sean because you need a new website yesterday! Oh, I mentioned email above. Did you know that at least 30% of your emails are opened on a mobile device, most commonly an iPhone? You want your recipients to click those links on your marketing email right? Well then you better make sure that the website that they lead to is mobile friendly.

So Then Why Now?

Now is the time to act. The reasons being numerous but for a start, the technology is ready. Responsive design is a new technology that can enable a website to be enjoyed fully on any platform. Using something called CSS3 media queries the website changes the style sheets and resizes images dynamically ensuring an optimal representation of the site content whatever the device. This is a huge step forward. The traditional mobile sites were stripped down and unloved versions of desktop optimised websites. But no more is that the case. Now your mobile website can be just as rich and just as engaging as the desktop version. Thanks to another cool technology, HTML5, you can have that slick animation back that you thought was killed off with Flash. Just please no more animated intros… Manuel will show you to your rooms – if you’re lucky. You know what I hate, when I follow a link and I go to a mobile version of the site I was trying to visit and it sends me to the home page, not the content I was expecting. It’s no way to treat your customers. Right now, you can get away with it because you probably are not the worst culprit. Soon however that is going to change, people are lifting their expectations of the mobile web, don’t   get stuck in the past and let your website become the mobile browsing equivalent of Fawlty Towers. That sounds expensive you say? Well it does cost a little more, it is a breakthrough technology and it will get cheaper over time. Right now to have a website developed responsively would cost about 30% more than a website alone so it represents a cost similar to that of having a website and mobile site. In my opinion, you have to make room in the 2013 budget for getting your mobile strategy in place.

Insights by Matthew Jensen

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