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Smartphone, Wireless, and Mobile Technologies Forum

Any advantage to having a separate Mobile site?
Is new technology just going to make .mobi redundant?

 1:27 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)


A number of competing sites in one sector I work in are slowly launching separate .mobi sites for their business.

They expect registered members of their own sites whilst out and about on the move to be visiting the .mobi version of their site and to be able to interact better as they offer a simpler text based version which is easier to navigate via a mobile device.

Now donít get me wrong, the idea of a separate .mobi site I find very attractive. In principle it sounds like a good idea, mobile phone access to the net is increasing so why not jump on board early and a site with easy text options for mobile users is a winner based on todayís technology?.

However, having got over the initial excitement of .mobi I am now thinking that it could be a complete waste of time and money. This is from the view point that mobile access to the web is still advancing and the fact that some mobile phone users can get through more of the latest phones a year than they do new pairs of pants! Hence, as the mobile device gets improved out with the old and in with the new very quickly.

It would be better, I would have thought to replicate an entire website exactly how it is on a mobile device and to improve the way that the mobile phone device navigates around a standard web page rather than adapting a website to fit what could soon be an out of date mobile device?.

Iím interested in other webmasters views on this as currently Im thinking of sitting back and waiting a while.

If every competitor builds a .mobi version of their site then so beit, but I just get the feeling that if / when mobiles website access and navigation gets improved no one will want to use a text type based .mobi site if they can reach the fully functioning 100% version of the site and navigate well on it anyway. Hence money and time invested now into .mobi could be a waste of time?.

I guess in conclusion its down to:-

A) Can a website as it stands ever be fully displayed on a mobile phone handset that offers full easy working navigation as good as it would if you had accessed the site from a home computer and

b) how long can we expect to wait before mobile devices are significantly enhanced (if possible) to offer this?




 3:49 pm on Oct 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

The .mobi TLD is a separate issue.

If you expect a significant percentage of your users to access your site from mobile devices, you should have a mobile version of your site.

Whether you do that as .mobi, mobile., or by parsing user-agent strings is a nuance.

A similar sentiment was expressed on another unrelated thread here recently. I think those who think that mobile devices will advance to the point where they can easily use "normal" web content are missing one important point:

Cell phones are never going to have 19" screens.


 9:17 am on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)


Cell phones are never going to have 19" screens

This could be where i have the problem. You see i dont think we need 19" screens. Either some kind of extended screen say a pull out or a fold over and some kind of zoom in/ out function to provide the view required.

Im no technical expert but i cant see why touch screen technology couldnt be used like say the way the nintendo DS works with a pen? that sort of thing?.

My thoughts are that mobile phones may not look like they are now going forwards, users want better experiences they may want video calls, the mobile could become more of a communication/data facility and it doesnt need to look like a phone.

Time will tell i guess but as soon as a new product comes out that can offer a better experience zillions of phones are in the bin thats for sure and thats why i think making a mobi site COULD be a complete waste of time.


 8:20 pm on Oct 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Scrolling a window around a larger virtual screen is never going to be a satisfying user experience. It's a great capability to have in an emergency, and it's also a great way to show-off your new iPhone to your friends - and that is it.

If you are bored in an airport with nothing to do and two hours to kill, scrolling a window around on a larger virtual screen is better than nothing. When you're running late, hoping your flight has been delayed, and want to check it's status NOW, that zooming/scrolling nonsense is just an impediment.


 4:15 am on Oct 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Im no technical expert but i cant see why touch screen technology couldnt be used like say the way the nintendo DS works with a pen? that sort of thing?.

It's been done in Japan, but it wasn't an overwhelming success: D800iDS
It's great for entering complex Japanese characters, but not faster than a keypad for entry.

Side scrolling on a phone will not go over well with your viewing public. A PDA is one thing, but on phone screens, which are generally smaller, it becomes a real hassle. If you can format your content to fit your user's screens you'll have a better chance of retaining those visitors.

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