Accessing web sites from smartphones and PDAs is no longer the exception and businesses need to consider the implications. The ownership of smartphones in the USA alone doubled in 2007 to 14.6 million. Although Web browsers for mobile devices are becoming more technologically advanced, viewing websites from these items still entail making trade-offs such as horizontal scrolling, small screens, and slower download times.
What's happening to new mobile browsers?
There are two improvements that are making web use from phones more congruent with viewing the web from a computer:
(1) the ability to render web sites smaller -- essentially miniaturizing websites for small screens,
(2) the integration of technologies like Java, CCS, Ajax, etc. that allow mobile browsers to better mirror full-scale browsers.
The continuation of these types of advancements -- in mobile browsers as well as smart phones and PDAs -- should eventually minimize the differences between mobile and "regular" web viewing . But the difference is still real so until then...
What can organizations do?
- View your site on a mobile device to see what it looks like, its readability & viewability, and overall user friendliness.
- Minimize the horizontal width of your website.
- Carefully consider the size of images (download time and memory)
- Consider an alternative website designed for mobile access utilizing a .mobi (versus .com) domain.
Don't forget the customers who might come to you by mobile web access. How does your website project your brand to them?