Continuing the theme of “busy mom” from last month, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the need for organizations to optimize their sites for use with mobile devices.
I’m not going to tell you HOW to do it – the nuts and bolts are for others to discuss. Rather, I want to convince you of the NEED to do it.
First – some stats. Nielsen reports that as of Q1 2010, 23% of people with mobile devices now have a smartphone instead of a regular old boring/dumb cell phone. (Boring/dumb is what I currently have, by the way – early adopter I’m not.) Compare that to Q2 2009, when just 16% of consumers had a smartphone. This is a trend that’s only going to grow.
What that means is that more and more people are going to be viewing your website with a mobile device. And while I don’t have a smartphone myself, I do have an iPod touch that I used to access websites while on maternity leave. If you’ve never viewed a site using a mobile device, and you’re in charge of your organization’s web presence, then I implore you to borrow someone’s smartphone so you can see for yourself. After viewing a couple of sites, you’ll be convinced.
First, go to one of my favorite sites – Wikipedia. Wikipedia will sense that you are using a mobile device and will automatically display the version of the site that is optimized for mobile. It makes the browsing experience a lot better. Then, click on the link that says “View this page on regular Wikipedia.” You’ll see the difference.
Okay, so what does this mean for nonprofits? You’ll want to view this through the lens of how you want people to be interacting with your site using mobile devices. Wikipedia wanted to make it a better experience for people to look up information and then to easily read/consume what they found.
Nonprofits might have different goals. Do you want people to donate? Then you’ll need to create mobile-optimized donation pages. Are you running a big campaign around a piece of legislation? A mobile action center might be right for you. Does your organization publish research to which reporters and professionals need ready access? You might consider optimizing those pages.
And since people will generally just go to the URL for your main website, instead of the mobile version, you’ll want to put something in place to detect whether people are using a mobile device. And then, the $64,000 question – what to feature on that mobile homepage.
Making these decisions will certainly be a big deal – perhaps almost as much of a big deal as what to display on the main website, since there will be less real estate available. But don’t let that be a deterrent – rather, think of it as a challenge and an opportunity to test what works best. First impressions are everything – and let me tell you, I’m much less likely to go back to a homepage that isn’t optimized for mobile. So do something – anything – and then build on it.
Does your organization have a mobile version of your homepage? How did you decide what to feature on the homepage? Share the answers to these questions – and the URL for your mobile site – in the comments.