There has been a lot of talk around Rattleback about creating a mobile version of our current site. It’s not that we are debating whether or not we need one, because we do. It’s a matter of what lives in it. Is the site a responsively designed version of our site in its entirety? Or is it rather just a “small-handshake-how-ya-doin-tip-of-the-hat” brief overview of who we are and what we do? Where if you really want to get more granular, you click the link that says “visit full site.” There are schools of thought behind each and which is the “correct” way to go, but I thought I would just take the time and open a dialogue with you — our trusted readers.
Cut it down
Some people are of the notion, and I am one of these people, that a mobile site is just a shadow of the full site. Meaning you cut features and cut content that are not necessary to the mobile user. Do they really need access to a news event from 3 years ago? Probably not. Do they want to read a full page worth of content on a 2″x3.5″ screen? Maybe if they were standing in line at the DMV, but even then it seems like a drag. So you have to wonder, in the case of mobile, is more really better? Mobile sites in general have other things to deal with, such as download times and data eating tasks. And it seems nowadays, people lose their patience at the drop of a hat. So, if your site takes just a second too long to download quickly, they’ll probably skip away. Possible client lost. The point being that if someone really wants to read more in depth, they will just click the “view full site” link and blammo, there you have it.
On the other hand, if you build your website with the ability to respond or adapt to the size of screen a user is on, it simply increases your site’s reach. A responsive website automatically changes to fit the size of the screen. Whether it be a phone, a tablet, or a monitor, the site configures itself to the platform. This means that you will have access to pretty much every feature of your full site on your mobile site. For a small company, that may not be much, but if you are a large corporation it means your users would have mobile friendly access to the hundreds of pages of content your full site probably has. And maybe there are people out there who live and die by their phones and would sit and read endless pages of content on their phones, but i am not one of those people. It may have even replaced their laptops when traveling, so greater access is a benefit to them. But again, is it just too much?
I mean, Google thinks you should build your websites to be responsive, and who am I to question Google?
In the end, I think you just need to define what you think your mobile user’s expectations are when it comes to using a mobile site and create around that. Do they want more or less? Do they have 30 seconds or 10 minutes? How much benefit will they actually get from viewing your site on a tiny screen? Or would they much rather just pick up the phone and use it for it’s original and antiquated purpose, to just give you a call. So what do you think, trusty reader? Let me know in the comments section below.