Which publishers are doing a good job at optimizing their content for mobile users?
The web is quickly becoming an on-demand source at the fingertips of all of our users. While users without SmartPhones or PDAs might rarely see the benefit in surfing the web within an un-optimized environment, it’s plainly obvious to see that technology is escalating to this new on-demand standard, and we should be distributing optimized content on this platform. People want information, and they want it now.
ETForecast predicts that in 2008 alone there will be around 58 million PDAs sold worldwide in comparison to 38 million in 2006 and 24 million in 2004. 45% of those devices are predicted to be phone-based.
According to AT&T Mobility president and CEO Ralph de la Vega, 95% of iPhone owners regularly surf the web, even though 30% had never done so prior to iPhone ownership.
Some of the top runners in mobile optimized sites:
- Computerworld – (http://mobile.computerworld.com) – Not only do they offer a clean uncluttered look, but if you go to their search engine you’ll find an ad for their freemium. Just hand over your email address and they’ll send you a link for the case study. Bravo Computerworld.
- Facebook – (http://m.facebook.com)- Facebooks mobile interface is by far in the lead in terms of functionality. Usability experts and users alike constantly praise it. Every aspect of the website was well thought out in order to make all tasks easy to complete, view, and search.. with serious bandwidth optimization.
- PC Magazine (http://mobile.pcmag.com): Complete with ads, font-sizing buttons and a sleek design, PC Magazine’s mobile site is one of the best.
- MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com): Automatically detected by your mobile device, and easy to use. No clicking “next”, just everything you want and need right away. A very intelligently designed mobile site.
- Forbes – (http://mobile.forbes.com) – Easy to look up quotes from the main screen and access all articles. Complete with external advertising as well as internal ads embedded in articles for users to subscribe to Forbes’ mobile alerts.
- Car and Driver – (http://m.caranddriver.com) – Perfectly balanced text and graphics that show up with ease and works on a huge variety of handsets.
- The New York Times (http://mobile.nytimes.com): The site wouldn’t be used to do any kind of research, but if you’re just looking to read the latest stories, it’s adequate and easy to use. It even offers social functions like the ability to email the story.
- Internet Movie Database (IMDb) (http://www.imdb.com): IMDb is one of those websites that NEEDS a mobile presence, and movie fans are very happy with their mobile edition that self-detects.
- Google – (http://www.google.com/m) – Even with an easy to use interface, users still like optimized websites, especially search engines. The mobile Google homepage has no ads unlike the Yahoo! Mobile optimized homepage.
- Amazon Mobile – (http://m.amazon.com)- Very basic and optimized for the user already with an Amazon account, but it’s quick to load and easy to browse. The drawback is that you can’t see user comments, which is not in our favor, but likely in theirs.
- Marie Claire (http://m.marieclaire.com): It’s simplistic design is perfect for mobile, which identifies categories first, then headlines, and then dives into the tip.
- Time (http://mobile.time.com): Time doesn’t offer all of its content for mobile, but what it does offer is complete and lengthy, if that’s what you’re looking for.
- Wapedia (Mobile Wikipedia) – (http://wapedia.mobi) – Think mobile Wikipedia. Wikipedia does have it’s own lightweight version, but it was created by a 3rd party and is not as widely used or praised.
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According to a survey by WebCredible from November 2007 – January 2008 that received 1010 answers and asked users ‘Which would you use on your mobile/cell phone if speed & quality weren’t an issue?‘, here is how the content fared:
- 33% Email
- 25% Social Networks
- 20% Local information
- 13% Travel information/planning
- 9% Online Shopping
Many publishers still think that designing for mobile is not worth their time. Well my friends, the Internet that was accessed only from a desk is a thing of the past. Now, it’s for people on the go, in restaurants, in business meetings, walking their dog, in the bathroom while on a date, and traveling on trains… If users are looking for you when they need you, don’t you want to be there?