VANCOUVER, Wash., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- If you think creating a mobile version of your Web site for handheld devices is just a matter of taking the same content and fitting it on a smaller screen, think again. This is one of the biggest mistakes companies make, say the .mobi experts at MyDomain, one of the leading Web site hosting companies and one of the first .mobi accredited Web site developers. Businesses from media outlets to top retailers to mom and pop shops are all rushing to put their content on mobile sites that can be accessed on the go from the explosion handheld devices. However, most are actually inhibiting customer use and revenues by not carefully adapting their Web content for the mobile experience.
Chris Campbell, Senior Marketing Manager at MyDomain, offers insight on the top 10 challenges that customers face and need to address when creating a mobile version of their Web site:
1. Trying to fit all of the content from your regular Web site into the mobile version of the site: Campbell notes, "This is a common issue. Web site owners don''t see how they can fit all of their content into a small mobile browser -- and the answer is that they shouldn''t. Mobile Web users aren''t looking for pages full of content, they are looking for quickly accessed and easily digestible pieces of information that are useful to them on the go." 2. Determining what information is important to the mobile Web surfer: "A person surfing the mobile Web is usually interested in a company''s most basic information. They want contact information, address, directions and a summary of the services they provide," says Campbell. "For instance, on the mobile version of a restaurant''s Web site, it doesn''t make sense to have a bunch of content on the historical significance of the building that the restaurant is located in. Users on the go want to see a phone number, address, link to a map, and a menu -- that''s it." 3. Understanding how Web site navigation is different on a mobile device and the importance of keeping it simple: Fancy navigation on a mobile Web site is not only a bad idea, it actually can inhibit use. Campbell says that navigation should be kept as simple as possible and link to specific information with the fewest amount of clicks as possible. "Many times, the best use of a homepage on a mobile site is a simple list of links. Visitors to a mobile site are looking for specific information and hoping to find it quickly and easily." 4. Understanding what is involved in taking credit card orders over a mobile Web site: Taking e-commerce credit card orders on a phone is not a problem, but it is important to understand that a separate mobile payment processor is necessary. 5. Knowing when and when not to include images on a mobile Web site, how to optimize those images that are included, and why this is so important: The most important point to keep in mind is that huge images are not going to display correctly on a mobile site. "The dimensional size of images is important -- but it is even more key to ensure that all images are optimized so that they have a very small file size. This is critical to making your Web site one that will download and display quickly. It will also make sure that your visitor doesn''t end up with a huge phone bill because they transferred too much data trying to download your Web page. If this happens, that visitor will certainly not come back to your mobile site." 6. Understanding mobile Web site link coding and how it is different from a regular Web site -- i.e. "hot keys": Campbell stresses that coding your mobile Web site for ease of use is very important. "Hot Key" link coding is essential technology to use. This is a way to code the pages so that the numbers on the phone correspond to links on the page and activate them. "This makes navigation much easier for the Web surfer and improves the odds that they will return to the site since getting around is intuitive and simple to handle. Phone numbers can be coded so that when clicked, they automatically have the cell phone dial that number. Since many mobile site visitors are looking for contact information, the phone number link will most likely be the most used feature on the site." 7. Knowing why it''s extremely important that all Web site code is perfect: "Mobile Web site browsers are not as forgiving as Internet Explorer or Firefox," Campbell notes. "It is extremely important that the code for a mobile Web site be exactly perfect so that it is able to resolve to the mobile browser without errors." 8. How to know when you''ve got it right -- ready.mobi: There are many tools available to determine how ready your current site is for mobile use and also to determine if a site you are working on is going to work correctly. is one example of this. MyDomain has its own branded version of this tool, available at 9. Perceived difficulty understanding and managing the code and content on a mobile site: There''s nothing fancy or new about managing the code and content on a mobile Web site. It works exactly the same way that a regular site does. The difference is only that it needs to be simple, optimized for small file sizes, and coded perfectly -- with no errors. Obviously, it also needs to be laid out so that all of the content fits into a small mobile devices window. 10. Determining the proper functionality to include on a mobile site: Campbell says, "Many of the tools and items that are found on regular Web sites will work perfectly on a mobile site. Forums, blogs, polls and forms, for instance, work great on a mobile site. However, flash video, dropdown navigation windows, and heavy file sizes will not. It is important to keep a mobile site simple and easy to use. While flashy aspects can make a regular Web site artistic and fun, it will make your mobile Web site difficult to download and can make the user experience frustrating."