I am about to give you a cutting edge view of a bit of American technology adoption. It’s a shocker akin to hearing in 1970 that color TVs were overtaking black and white models.
Today, smartphones are on a clear path to outsell dumb mobile phones within the next 12-24 months. (In a nutshell, smartphones can handle web browsing, email, and run thousands of apps while dumb phones can only make calls and text.)
In March of 2010, The Nielsen Company reported that smartphones accounted for 25% of the U.S. mobile market, up from 23% in the previous quarter. By the end of 2011, Nielson predicts smartphones will overtake dumb phones in the U.S. market.
Rather than make you take the normal loopy ride through my brain where I tend to ramble about history, books, or pop culture, let me simply lay out why you should care. More of your potential and existing customers will be looking at your website on their phones in 2011 and beyond. Here is my finely-crafted, two-pronged web marketing strategy for dealing with what is the beginning of a major shift in consumer behavior. I’ll also give you the scoop on how your standard website appears on a smartphone and how a mobile version of that site can be even better.
Prong One – Make sure your phone number is in a prominent place on your home page (upper right or left corner to be specific). High end mobile devices now display web pages better than ever, the displays are still small hence the "shrinkage" reference in the title. Prominent placement ensures that our ever-aging population can easily find and read the number.
Prong Two – Make sure that the phone number is created for your web page as text, not as an image. A phone number housed in your website’s HTML code as text rather than a gif or jpeg image gets treated more intelligently by smart phones. Smartphones can identify 10 or 7 digit combinations as phone numbers and allow a user to simply touch or mouse over the number to initiate a phone call. It’s basic stuff now for smartphone programmers but a great leap forward from where we all were five years ago. However, if your phone number appears so tiny it can’t be found, then "Click-to-Call" functionality won’t help you too much.
The Good News
If we built your website in the last year, we can pretty much guarantee it works well on most modern smartphones. This is due to Market Hardware’s strict web design and development standards. In geek speak, our websites allow mobile browsers to interpret our code with ease because they are built using standards-based CSS and XHTML. Our sites also avoid the use of unfriendly elements, such as tables and Flash animation, which fail in mobile browsers.
Older mobile phones use "WAP" (Wireless Access Protocol) pages specifically designed for phones, written in a very light & limited code called HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language). That being said, newer smartphones can display full websites. However, their small screen size generally makes these sites unreadable. This is where a "mobile website" built specifically for smartphones comes into use.
There are roughly five different mobile browsers currently being used on a plethora of different phones, making the testing of each browser and phone combination quite difficult. And, although newer smartphones will render our websites with less difficulty than a non-standards-based website (such as table-based, or sites with Flash animation), there are still some obstacles to overcome. Most devices cannot access a secured connection, read Flash animation, open PDF documents, or open video websites. In addition, the speed of mobile service, although improved in the last few years, is still pretty slow when compared to broadband, requiring mobile web pages to be made up of smaller files. This limits the use of images and overall styling of the mobile website.
If we built your website in the past 18 months, it was created on our "Mariposa" web development platform. In plain English, this means we can create a low-cost, mobile version of your site that will provide an optimized experience for current smartphone users, and will work with most prior generations of mobile access technologies.
If your website is older than 18 months, it would be best (but not absolutely required) to transition it onto our Mariposa developmental platform in order to create a mobile website for you. Even if we didn’t build your standard website, there’s a very good chance we can create a mobile website you for you. Contact us to learn more about a smartphone-friendly Mobile Websites at 888-381-6925 or at email@example.com. The introductory price is only $295.
By 2013, mobile phones could easily surpass PCs as the way most people hop onto the Web. Statistics show that the total number of PCs will reach 1.78 billion in three years, while the number of smartphones and Web-enabled phones will shoot past 1.82 billion units and continue to climb after that.
Source: global research firm, Gartner, Inc.
"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog."
~Dwight D. Eisenhower - WWII 5-Star General and American President
1890 – 1969
You might be wondering how Apple’s iPad fits into the mobile space, and the short answer is that it doesn’t really get classified as a mobile device. Due to its larger resolution screen size, it will render websites the same way as any small laptop would.
This article was written by Market Hardware's Griffin Davis. Reach Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach anyone on his web expert team at (888) 381-6925.