It’s very easy to forget about how many devices may view your website on a daily basis, simply because when you factor in mobile internet, the options can become overwhelming. It’s important to consider the popularity of these devices when planning your website strategy because most budgets will not allow for a site that both looks and works great in every mobile device in the market. With that said, focus should be placed on a top-down strategy of serving your mobile visitors. This means starting with Apple products, as when iPad and iPod Touch are factored in with the iPhone traffic they control a significant majority of the mobile browsing market-share.
Luckily, Safari (the default browser on Apple devices) is a very capable browser and, in many cases, your website will render and function properly without any additional work needed. However, in some cases, the mobile version of Safari will just not function how you would expect; the most common of these cases being when it encounters Flash elements.
Flash elements can make up various parts of your website, from simple adds, multimedia players or other interactive elements to being responsible for displaying your entire site. In these events, most well-developed websites will offer non-Flash-equipped browsers with an option to install the missing plugin. This helps take care of non-mobile web traffic, but leaves your Apple product viewers hanging.
If your website uses Flash for primary functionality, you need to offer alternative content for viewers using Apple devices. Luckily, this can be done fairly easy by contacting your web developer and asking for user-agent specific content targeting. This will allow you to display one version of content to some users (a Flash slideshow, for example) while displaying a different version of content to other users (a set of images instead of a Flash slideshow, for mobile Apple users).
Other considerations should be taken when creating mobile versions of your site as well, such as scaling back on graphics usage, breaking up content so that it can be navigated easier and otherwise altering the way your website works to make it deliver information to viewers using much smaller screens and much slower internet speeds than your primary audience.
Additionally, if you expect a large share of your viewers to be mobile users, then you can take advantage of certain browser functionalities of mobile phones to deliver a more intuitive, unique website experience to your mobile viewers.
Even for the technically inclined, grasping the range of devices, functionalities and other intricacies of the mobile internet, its devices and users can be simply too much to comprehend. If you are interested in discussing your existing site’s mobile preparedness, or simply want to discuss ideas on how to take advantage of a growing mobile internet viewership, just drop us a line. We’re here to help!