About seven million iPhones and six million Balckberrys were sold in the third quarter of 2008. To this add a million and a half Android phones and growing “smart phone” (the dumb phone begin the one you currently have) sales from Sangsung and LG and you have a significant number accessing the online world not from the desktop or laptop but the palmtop.
How are you going to attract and retain these potential customers? You might start by trying to access your current online presence – email newsletters, web site, blog etc. – from a handset. Chances are their appearance and usability range from ungainly to unreadable. Your fancy design work just gets in the way.
Some web sites really get mobile. Google.com, for example, apparently senses that you’re coming from a mobile browser and serves a page formatted for a phone. This is the exception. A simpler, though workable, approach is to have a mobile presence with a different URL.
A common practice is to use the subdomain name m. For example,
m.cnn.com or m.flickr.com take you to versions of the parent site, which are much more readable on very small screen. Alternatively, some firms have created sibling web sites with the new top level domain .mobi. Working examples include time.mobi, msn.mobi, fox.mobi, hertz.mobi and zagat.mobi. Other attempts such as businessweek.mobi were less readable on my iPhone as well as having some problematic links.
For sites requiring more interactivity, special client software may be needed. For example, the full functionally of Twitter is not available through m.twitter.com, though I suspect it could be. Instead you need special client applications such as Twiterfon and Twitterberry.
What’s an over worked marketer to do? Until you can get a site designed for mobile The exercise of distilling your message, format, and content for a simplified handheld site might be just what makes your brand or products standout from the usual suspects.