There’s a reason that more and more people are starting to ask about the “mobile version” of their website. Consider this – how long has it been since you’ve picked up your phone to use it other than for calling or texting? My guess is less than 24 hours, maximum. Whether you’re traveling, waiting for the mechanic to pull your car around or multitasking while catching up on this season’s TV lineup, the fact of the matter is that our Smartphones have become part of our everyday life. Some would even go as far to say it’s an extended part of their body. Even with our extra appendages, let’s not forget about those nifty little gadgets that we like to refer to as tablets. For the occasion when your Smartphone screen is too small, but your laptop is too bulky, you can combat your first world problems by having a wireless solution for any occasion. So, for the people that continue to ask the question “How will my website look on a Smartphone or tablet?” the strategy behind it may be more involved than your ever imagined.
The first question that you (or your web design company) should be asking is “What’s the overall purpose of the website.” Seems like an easy question, but it’s not always as crystal clear as you think. After having your come to Jesus moment, next is determining how your users navigating the website. And the better question – is this how you want them to flow through your site? Now that everyone has a clear or better understand, you can next determine the best approach to your new Smart Website.
Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
One option to explore for your site is a mobile version. For those visitors that are on the go, tactics can be put in place in order to detect this, thus displaying the mobile version (isn’t technology great?). A mobile website is a great way to enlighten and refresh your mobile user’s experience. Just think, you can make husbands around the globe faint upon receiving the credit card bill thanks to their wives online shopping. Or perhaps imagine taking away the stress of booking a hotel room while you travel cross country to explore the all the nooks and crannies that America has to offer. Whatever the situation, you can provide an accessible version of your website for your viewers that stay on the go.
On the down side, you’re looking at extra moolah to have an entirely separate site designed. Sure you can carry over design elements, products and the like, but placement and content will need to be examined under the microscope. That means back to the drawing board and starting again with your Information Architecture. Just like any project, careful analysis of your current users and their habits is a must in determining the return on investment.
Making Your Website Responsive
No, this isn’t a request to follow after having one too many to drink. Better yet, it’s another option in developing your Smart Website. To paint a picture of how this works, let’s imagine that you’ve been living it up in a 10,000 square foot house with all the space you could ever want. Then the day comes that your sister, her husband and your sweet toddler nephew come to visit. They never use to complain about having their pick of which color themed bedroom to stay in, but now that their visits are shorter, with a toddler and all, they simply want to do one thing – visit their beloved sibling. Family is pretty important to you (oh and so is your love for shoes), so you decide to bite the bullet and downgrade to a mere 6,000 square foot house. Problem is, you still have furnishings from a 10,000 square foot house and can’t bear to part with even one piece. In your new environment, you have to figure out how to rearrange what you already have and make it work in your new smaller space. The same goes for a responsive website.
Instead of giving a your site a completely new web design, you become a sly and crafty web developer that has the ability to organize and arrange content, even in the smallest of viewing screens. You still have to keep in mind that additional planning and web design ingenuity will be needed to accomplish your new transformer website, but it can make all the difference for the end users.
There’s An App for That
You have to admit, there are millions of apps available on the market. Whether free or costly, useful or pointless, funny or serious, the selection is endless. That means that everyone should have one then right? Well maybe, maybe not. There are a few things to consider. For example, is there a process or commonly accessed information where an app would benefit users? Is the additional money to develop an application going to provide value to your customers, assuming that you provide them with the download for free? Or, do you plan on charging a fee for your app? If so, you’re now faced with advertising your app and competing in that big old sea of app invested water. App development all depends on providing an additional value to your users or having the guts and raw ambition to make your brilliant idea a reality.
Regardless of which path you decide to take your website down, as with most decisions it all starts with evaluating your options and determining the value that you want to provide your viewers and your business.