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 Google.com, Ask.com,
Yahoo.com and Facebook.com. Also coming into
the top 10 were WashingtonPost.com,
Flickr.com, Live.com, Weather.com and
USAToday.com. 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 m.gmail.com, m.facebook.com,
(for train schedules) and mobile.yell.com (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
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
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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