Mobile web vs web; should you develop 2 sites?

As the smartphone market increases, the demand for mobile content increases as well. And not just smartphones, but wireless devices all together. The question isn’t if companies should have 2 sites; one for mobile and the other for desktop. The question is what content will people find valuable to interact with via mobile versus their desktop? I would also add the question what is the environment that the audience will be interacting with the mobile site?

There are numerous conversations around whether or not you should develop your site to be mobile enabled versus developing a separate mobile site altogether. On one side it involves a little more investment to develop 2 sites; one for the desktop and one for the mobile device. Creating 2 databases and file structures has been argued to be cumbersome, duplicative and costly. But there is a clear difference between mobile content and web content and that should be weighed into the consideration.

Let’s take into consideration what people will and will not do on the mobile. Are people ready to apply to jobs directly off their phones? Not quite. The tools are starting to get there to facilitate the mobile resume, however user confidence of submitting a mobile resume to represent who they are to a prospective employee is not quite there yet. And simply sniffing out the mobile browser accessing your career site and then feeding them a mobile version of the same content proves to have problems.

The mobile web is content driven
Most smartphones (including the iPhone) cannot read flash content. That kills a lot of specific feature areas that are developed for websites. This includes social platforms like Facebook. (Take a good look and compare Facebook mobile to your Facebook on your desktop. Notice Facebook mobile doesn’t have FBML components). However going back to the question of what content people want on the mobile, the behavior is completely different. The content they want is more linear, quick, simple, and transactional. So if your careersite relies on a major flash component on the homepage, you will need to rethink the mobile interaction design for the mobile user. This is a process of mobile development that takes into consideration the needs, behaviors, mobile environment of the user designed against overall site goals. The major areas of difference are dictated by user behavior.

In developing for mobile:

• The copy is edited down to easy digestible segments
• Overall content is organized to be simple, and linear
• Content driven; the 90/10 rule applied to content vs. graphics
• Transaction based for quick benefits
• Mobile SEO

Establish your mobile strategy
So before you ask yourself if you need 2 sites and that your careersite should be mobile enabled, make sure that you have a mobile strategy in place first. Mobile strategies include specific goals and objectives that mobile will deliver against. It outlines who and how your audience will interact and even find your mobile content, and how it will deliver against your overall strategic goals.

TMP Worldwide
Written by TMP Worldwide

3 Comments

  1. mobile site

    Great article. Personally I believe that a company will need two sites, just because the mobile device market will expand and because of it’s limited screen dimensions and different navigation needs the user will want a differently formatted site.

  2. Rajesh Prakash

    Nice Article. I personally suggest companies to have their website in both mobile and desktop for simple reasons. The main objective to have a website is to promote your company and grab the business (B2B or B2C). If another website in Mobile is going to bring you a huge number of visitors and helps you to increase your customer base or helps your customers to have an easy access on your services or website on the go, then probably I hope that no company will hesitate or rethink to have their website on mobile.

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