Planning your mobile strategy
Having read our article about selecting a mobile presence for your business, the next step is to consider your overall mobile strategy. The strategy and presence you choose for mobile go hand-in-hand, they are decisions made on a case by case basis and determined by considering your users, the type of content you present online and your business sector.
Consider your users
The primary consideration for any web project should be the users, since they are usually your customers. When considering users and your mobile strategy you should seek to answer the following questions:
- Why will users be accessing my online content using a mobile device?
It is to purchase a product or make a booking? Or merely to find out more about your company? Or am I providing a tool for my employees?
- What will they be looking for?
Will your users want to find contact details, directions, opening times? Or maybe read your latest news?
- Is there any content from main website that they won’t need to see?
Word documents for printing, for example, probably aren’t very relevant to mobile users
- Are there any new features or content they’ll need?
With a mobile app you could take advantage of device features like the camera, push notifications and GPS
- Where will users be when using a mobile device?
Will they be out and about? Or sitting comfortably at home? An iPad user at home may browse together with a partner, whereas a smartphone user may privately browse on the train.
- What type of device will they be using?
iPad users may typically be at home, and possibly connected via Wi-Fi. There could be an opportunity to present these users with a great interactive brochure?
Some of these questions can be answered by looking at your website statistics (Google Analytics for example), some from placing yourself in your users shoes. Further insight may be gained by gathering information from users via a simple questionnaire.
It’s definitely ‘horses for courses’ when it comes to mobile solutions. If you’re primarily a B2B company and your website generally serves as a simple online advert, an elaborate mobile strategy is probably not going to give you a great return. On the other hand, a retailer selling technology products targeted at the younger market may see a great return, as their tech-savvy customers use their smartphones to pick up the latest gadgets during lunchtime or on the bus home.
At this stage it’s going to be useful to research the competition and have a look at their sites. Have a look at the big players online also – Amazon, BBC, John Lewis etc. – and be inspired by their mobile presences.
Some examples follow showing how a variety of businesses tailor their approach for their sector. These are dedicated mobile sites:
Having answered questions about your users and considered your business sector, you are well placed to begin drafting a content plan for your mobile site. Using your desktop website as a starting point, work through the key pages and functions and identify if they should be retained as-is for mobile, optimised for smaller screen situations, or removed for mobile users entirely.
When reviewing content for each page, consider the following:
- Can this content be more concise? There’s a myth that mobile users have a shorter attention span, but we must remember that all internet users have a short attention span! If you could make your content more concise for the mobile version, you could probably amend the desktop version too.
- Do we need to change image sizes? You probably do. Smartphone users won’t wish to download huge images through a slow 3G connection, whilst iPad users will thank you for glorious high-resolution photos that look great on a retina display.
- What about video? Any video that’s embedded on your desktop site is likely to use a Flash player, but these generally aren’t supported on popular mobile devices. Video should be embedded using a more modern HTML5 method.
- How will you manage content in future? In years gone by businesses published content for both printed materials and the web. That situation is fast becoming publication for web & mobile.
Now you’ve considered your users, your business needs and the mobile presence that best suits you, then next step is to put the plan into action!