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  Mobile Phones and the Internet

Once the internet was something people accessed at home or at work but over the past several years internet access has been made available to people wherever they happen to be, through their mobile phones.

Anyone who tried accessing internet sites when this feature was first made available was likely disappointed and frustrated. Information was hard to find, hard to reach and often hard to read using a mobile phone. The text and graphics and interactive features people were used to from home computers simply weren’t there.

It didn’t take experts long to figure out if the technology wasn’t consumer friendly, it wasn’t going to get used. Research into internet phone use looked for common reasons consumers were not accessing internet sites via mobiles. The most common reasons were the site’s page structure, appearance, download cost and download speed.

In 2007 a company called dotmobi, the first Internet address designed specifically for mobile phones, evaluated the most visited internet sites looking specifically at mobile readiness. Not surprisingly the top 10 list included,, and Also coming into the top 10 were,,, and See a pattern?

People are using mobile phones to access the internet but for those need it now and can’t wait kinds of things – Google and Ask for answers to questions; weather and news sites to get the latest; and social sites like Yahoo and Facebook. Why are the top 10 sites are made up completely of need it now sites? Perhaps even yet applications are not completely consumer friendly and users find it’s still better to wait to get home.

Dot mobi’s site offers a feature called the .mobi mobile Emulator. The idea is that a company can type in their current domain name and the program simulates what mobile phone users see when they access the site. At the very least it gives web designers an idea of where they’ve gone wrong and what needs to be changed.

Another group graded European mobile sites and their usability and listed their top picks as,,, (for train schedules) and (a UK based directory service). Again, all need it now kinds of information, which although great to have, begs the question of why other kinds of sites aren’t appearing in the top lists.

Recently the Nielsen Company announced that mobile internet access can extend the audience of sites by more than 10% over home traffic. If that’s the case, companies who rely on their websites for sales and consumer traffic must find ways to draw their audiences into this mobile world or will get left in the dust behind those who do.

In Japan, where mobile internet use is above and beyond what most of the rest of us are used to, a survey was conducted to see how people used their phones and how easy that phone use was. While about 40% said they could find what they wanted easily, more than 50% reported they found it “somehow.” The majority of sites users visited were based on their list of favorites with the next highest usage coming from sites accessed from the start menu. The question becomes, what must a site do to get in on start menu options, or become a “favorite.”

The connectedness of a mobile internet world could revolutionize the way people shop, work and live, bringing information and control to the average person wherever they happen to be. For that to happen though companies must recognize the coming wave and make themselves more mobile phone ready.


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