With the recent explosion in popularity of mobile and tablet devices, many of our clients are interested in improving how their website works when it’s being viewed on the mobile web – particularly with an iPad or an iPhone. What an interesting circle we’ve covered.
A few years ago, we rejoiced that 99% of web browsers were supporting Flash technology and that it could be added to all websites. You see Flash technology in the more visual elements of many websites, where there are moving pictures (not real video) or interactive maps or products where you can zoom in/out for more detail. The addition of Flash makes the website more interesting and more interactive for the visitor. It was a great day when we learned that 99% of all browsers would support Flash, which meant that no visitors were left behind.
It’s been interesting to us that over the past few months, particulary since the iPad came on the scene, that we are now lamenting the use of Flash on the website because the Apple devices (iPad and iPhone) do not support Flash. We’re at the point where some visitors are once again being left behind because their devices don’t let them see those very cool Flash slideshows or interactive pages.
Don’t fret – There are two viable solutions.
The quickest solution is to build a detection tool into your website that will recognize if the visitor is coming from a device that can view Flash. If it doesn’t, then you should serve a non-flash page or element instead of the usual flash element that can be viewed in the regular website browser. On many websites, Flash is used on the home page for a slideshow or introduction, as well as on the product detail page, whether your product is a home floorplan or a gift basket of oranges. It is sometimes used on a map or directions page, where the zoom in functionality is useful. By delivering the non-Flash page, your website should display on the smaller iPhone/iPad devices without the broken Flash pages.
HOWEVER, there’s another solution that takes this a step further and that is to develop a .mobi website. The .mobi website is designed to fit on the small screen of handheld devices, and to provide reduced navigation and briefer content, to accommodate your visitor who is viewing on a small screen. This ensures that someone viewing your site on a smartphone (such as an iPad/iPhone OR a Blackberry, Android, etc.) will be able to quickly get through the site to find the most popular content that someone viewing on a small screen would need.
For example, a potential homebuyer wants to get directions to your Open House or to see information about the inventory or model home. A potential online shopper is looking for product details and photos, an easy way to place an order online with as little typing as possible. You can accommodate their needs with the .mobi site by eliminating some of the less popular navigation links (such as About Us or Partners), and providing drop down menus on the forms (to reduce the need for typing). Include a link to view the full site, and you’ve provided your visitor with everything they need while they are researching your company.
If you want more information on how to set up a non-flash or a .mobi website for your business, please call us at 321-309-6900 x 314 or send an eMail to info@BlueTangerineSolutions.com.
Are you using a Flash detection for your mobile website or do you have a full .mobi site? What works for you?