What we've been up to, what we're thinking.

Декабрь 2012

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile, it's not should, it's how?

So why do we need to "go mobile"?

You may have seen the statement that "Mobile browsing is set to overtake desktop by 2014". Now is the time to be ready for that change.

4 billion mobile phones are currently in use across the world and 25% of those are smartphones with both figures growing daily. App stores are still going from strength to strength with Apple's figures at 1 billion downloads a month and Android not too far behind.

Because of these stats and the way customers are now consuming content, every business needs a mobile experience. Customers' expectations are evolving and a mobile experience is something that has now become the norm. Having to pinch and zoom is no longer something people are prepared to do. If you don't have mobile on your agenda then get it there quickly! It's no longer whether you should optimise for mobile, but how?

Deciding what to do should all be about your customer and what they need from a mobile experience.

The two most popular ways to improve a mobile experience are either to create a Mobile Websites or an App - and sometimes having an app and a mobile site working alongside each other can be beneficial. A mobile site allows users to access pages viewed through their browser.  Apps on the other hand are downloaded applications available from stores such as iTunes (Apple), Google play (Android) & others like Blackberry. The app is installed direct onto the device and ready to be used with the simple click of the icon.

Which could work for your business? Here's a basic overview of the two, with the benefits and challenges for each solution.

Mobile Websites

There are various different ways to approach a mobile site build; optimise your whole site and build a stand alone version, choose certain areas of site or build a responsive designed site using media queries to work out the device the content is being consumed on.

Which you do depends on the content you have on your main site and how customers use the site. Analysing customer behaviour should make it easier to make an educated decision.

When does a mobile website make sense?

  • Allows you to increase the traffic to your site
  • Makes it easy for customers to find you
  • Improves usability
  • Improves your customers experience of your brand
  • Increases conversion.
  • Improves your search ranking
  • Any updates to your desktop site can be automatically duplicated on your mobile site (all handled in one CMS)
  • Greater reach (compatible with all mobile browsers)

What are the challenges?

  • Speed. Even the best site needs a good signal to work well. With the emergence of 4G this could soon not be an issue, but for now it's a consideration. Is your content needed everywhere at anytime regardless of network coverage?
  • Navigation. Linked to speed is the ability for mobile users to quickly find what they are looking for. Mobile users are easily put off and if your navigation isn't intuitive they will leave.

Mobile Apps

Good Apps are typically more intuitive and easier to use than a mobile site. Having an app allows a bespoke approach to an individual device in a more joined up way than a mobile website viewed in various browsers.

Apps interact directly with the phone and utilise its existing functionality, such as GPS and Camera to improve the user experience. Apps can work without internet connectivity & they can be constantly running in the background of the device giving a business the ability to send automatic updates ('Push' notifications) to the user.

When does an app make sense?

  • If you are making a game
  • When you want to utilise the phone's functionality such as camera or GPS
  • When a high level of personalisation is needed
  • When content needs to be consumed offline

What are the challenges?

  • Apps tend to be more costly and normally take more time to build.
  • To truly get 'reach', apps are required for each operating system. The big hitters at the moment are Android, iOS and Windows Mobile.
  • The app stores have an approval processes to decide if your app is suitable. This can lead to delays.
  • You need to tell customers about your App. The App can only be accessed through the app stores and not in organic search, so you should consider putting some budget aside for promotion.

To conclude

There's no right answer and we've only just touched on what a mobile optimised experience can do for you. At Palmer Hargreaves we first work out the best approach for you and your customers and as we develop both Mobile Sites and Mobile Apps, we don't come at it with any bias. Here are a couple of our Mobile case studies;

Mercedes Actros Truck Mobile Website. Clearly a great way for customers to find out about the new truck but also used as key sales aid as it incorporates rich content such as video. /work/mercedes-benz-new-actros-mobile-website

Bayer CropScience Apps.  App technology was used to replacing the time consuming process of creating printed 'manuals' for weed and pest products. Because of the speed of change to Bayer's Crop Protection products, the manuals were also pretty much out of date the day after they were printed. With Apps, the content is accessible to farmers 'on site' in their fields & with a CMS back end driving the content they can be very easily updated. Several thousand of these Apps have now been downloaded & they featured in a recent Financial Times article about how farmers are embracing digital technology.


Give us a call or drop us an email and we will work with you to find out what works best.

Ben Atkins - Digital Manager, Palmer Hargreaves


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