With the search world, and probably a lot of us who use search, up in arms about Google Instant (Google using predictive text to virtually ‘guess’ what your searching for and returning instant results as you type), let’s not forget the mobile web.
I say that because those of us who use the mobile web (and we as an audience are growing exponentially by the day) are used to predictive text. For example, have you ever written a text message only to find your phone has replaced what you meant with completely different (and wrong) words?
The same predictive behavior exists for the mobile web and as a website owner you should be aware of this and a handful of other ‘rules’ in your mobile web playbook.
This might be a good time to talk about mobile stats: mobile subscribers should hit 5 billion in 2010. In 2009 half a billion people accessed the mobile web. HALF A BILLION.
A disclaimer will now makes it way into this post > If you don’t have a mobile presence you should get in touch with us so we can illustrate the value of doing so, starting with the hard facts surrounding the ever-growing audience using mobile web technologies to surf the net straight from their phones.
Playbook Entry #1: A whole new browser
The mobile web presents new challenges along with the increased need of being accessible on the mobile web. The first challenge is browser differences. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you’re going to lose visitors dues to an underwhelming experience and perhaps even lose them to a competitor who is optimized for a mobile browser.
The amount of information consumed and action taken will be directly related to the experience presented by the browser itself, which is simply rendering your existing site the best it can.
You should be aware that the most used browser on Mobile devices is Safari and the most used smartphone for mobile access is an iPhone. Also, Google is the most used mobile search engine. You should be optimizing for all 3 in order to cover the majority of all audiences.
Playbook Entry #2:
Your users are not using a laptop where other amenitties exist. In other words, because he/she is on a mobile phone, the information must be presented much quicker and with as few ‘hoops’ (of clicks) to jump through in order to get to the end of the proverbial rainbow (otherwise known as a conversion).
Playbook entry #3:
Your content formats should be optimized for the specific phone model and its operating system. In other words, if your website is being accessed via an iPhone and your content is delivered via flash, you can count that visitor as a loss. The moral of this playbook entry is that your content should be accessible to the user in the most efficient and usable manner as possible.