Trimming The FatLeave a Comment
Over the past several years, there has been a debate raging online and offline about the benefits of building separate mobile sites verses using techniques like responsive design or building an app. There has never been a clear winner in this fight and unfortunately I’m not going to offer you one here either. However, I want you to stop and think for a moment before starting your next big web project and how you will deal with your content on a mobile view. No longer is it a question of rather or not you should offer optimized content for mobile rather ask yourself how am I going to deliver it to my audience while providing the best experience possible?
The stats continue to climb in mobile usage. No longer can we boast that our sites should only deliver content to desktop browsers or that our audiences are only interacting with our content while at home or on a bus. We have no control over how or where our content is being received. Maybe it’s from a tweet, or a Reddit link. Maybe the content was being viewed on a Kindle PaperWhite or broadcasted on a SmartTV. We have no idea. Our content needs to be ready for all of these cases and for ones that don’t even exist yet.
But we’re just going to publish it on the web and hope for the best. That should take care of it, right? Well, maybe you’ve given it a bit more thought than that and have included a social media strategy to help deliver it across various social networks. But have you actually thought about how your audience is going to view and interact with your content. These strategies are great for a very limited portion of your traffic, but do they actually work for everything. As far as the internet world has come, people still scan information rather than read word for word. They look for the relative information that applies directly to them.
This does not mean you should limit the content you provide your audience like most mobile sites tend to do. We can’t decide for our audiences what they can view or interact with if they choose to view our content on a mobile device instead of on a desktop. But wait, can’t we just give them a link at the bottom to view the “Full Desktop” view. Absolutely not. We then run back into the issues of having content that isn’t optimized for these various devices. Meaning we’ve wasted a significant amount of time and resources while creating this separate view. By creating a limiting experience, we also find ourselves in a situation where we have to update two sets of information. Unless you have an extremely large budget and a bunch of extra time this can be an exhausting and frustrating exercise.
We need to provide our audiences with the ability to scan and access all of the information that is available. How we can make this relative to our audiences is by conducting a content audit on our information. When performing an audit like this, we should look at several different pieces of information like last time the information was updated, relevancy to our company, relevancy to the audience, click throughs and traffic. If you feel that the content shouldn’t be on your mobile view then ask yourself should it really be on your desktop view? By using mobile as a guideline for importance and relevancy for audiences, we can start to make smarter decisions when it comes to our desktop layouts. Our sites will finally become extensions to our companies rather than just a necessity. Make your site work for its existence rather than just being your online presence. This will help increase your traffic, search engine rankings and other performance objectives that most companies are looking for. In the future, it will help you make decisions on how and why your site should scale. Take a moment before you start planning out your next site redesign by looking at the content. Trim out the fluff and organize your content with the mindset of relevancy to users and importance on the smallest screen size. Let your content will help to focus your decisions on whether you need a mobile site, responsive design or an app.