Mobile website planning: the must-do

This newsletter shows the most important step when planning your mobile website.

My bike is great because nobody wants to steal it. It’s a banged-up 30 year old English lightweight. I thought of replacing it, but the frame fits me, the handlebars are the right width for my shoulders, and I have peace of mind when I lock it up.

My chariot -- 1880s style

My chariot — 1880s style

A masterpiece from the 1880s

The basic design of my English lightweight hasn’t changed since the 1880s. That’s because it’s a masterpiece of efficient design that meets challenging parameters. For example, it is propelled by the rider, so it has to be light weight. At the same time, it has to be strong enough to support the rider, easy to fix, and cheap to build.

Projects and parameters

Now, we work with parameters all the time, whether usability, budget, or audience expectations. The projects with the most challenging parameters are mobile websites, designed to be viewed on smartphones.

Your mobile website challenge:

  • A small screen
  • The user interacts with finger gestures, not a mouse
  • Typing is difficult, reading is too
  • User is on the move

Planning for your mobile website

We believe all websites are driven by user-centric content.
So first, we need to understand the mobile user:

  • Who are they – are they different from traditional website users?
  • Where are they when they use the mobile site?
  • What devices are they most likely using, for example tablets, iPhones, etc.

Job one: content

Once we understand the mobile user, we can consider content. We always start with the content on the traditional website, and look at:

  • What content do mobile users immediately need?
  • What actions do they want to perform – in what situations? For example, if a user is in a cab on the way to the airport, what would he need to do on the mobile site? Or what would a user shopping in a mall need?

Less is best

The answer is always to offer more focused, minimal content than your traditional website. Focused content enables mobile website structure to be flatter, so users don’t get lost. And it enables users to quickly perform the actions they want, so they have a good user experience. And if they have a good user experience, your audience will continue to think of your brand in a positive way.

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FACT OF THE MONTH

The MySpace social networking site was purchased by News Corp for $580 million in 2005, and sold by News Corp for $35 million in 2011.