Monthly Archives: August 2015

Mobile Web Development Tools for Dummies

Whenever we talk about mobile web development tools, we automatically forget that – unlike the developers who use them day in and day out – the customer may have very little understanding of what it actually entails. To the developer this may seem to be the way things should be, but it’s actually far more likely for a customer to invest in something if they understand it.

So without further ado, here is our simple overview for newbies and nerds alike on mobile web development tools for 2015.

Most of the tools used by developers are, simply put, designed to make the transition of information from your existing website into a responsive page which works across mobile platforms. Sometimes this means handling code, others layout, and some perform cloning to save you time. Here are 3 of the most nifty bits of kit for any developer today.

Mobify
Mobify is a miracle for developers, and in terms of workload it really does create a molehill out of a mountain.
All of your existing website content is neatly organised for the mobile web in an instant, removing all of the labour once involved. With Mobify developers can spend time on designing and optimizing with the time saved in coding. 

Responsive Wireframes
This useful tool really helps you to visualize the problem for which responsive design is the solution for your site. By allowing you to simulate how your layout will appear across different devices you are given an insight into how different users will experience your site, and plan to optimize across your entire potential customer base accordingly.

Interface Sketch
This tool can be really handy when working one-on-one with a client. It’s really visual and makes planning a breeze with clients who might be unfamiliar with the more technical aspects of web design. Features like drop and drag allow for simple elegant pages to be put together in seconds.

 

Who Should Consider Mobile Web App Development?

You know who’s most important in your business, right? Precisely, your customer. And you love your customer. By now just about every niche of every industry has it’s own tailor made mobile website or mobile web app, and if you don’t, then surely you can understand why your customer has been thinking that you don’t love them anymore. But which is right for you, making a mobile responsive website, or development of your own mobile web application?

There is a great deal of totally unhelpful information out there, so let me break down the most important things to know. Firstly of course you need to ask what your app or website would be used for (i.e. what your business does), then you can start working out which will work best for you and your customer.

Mobile trends have recently bent in the direction of app use overtaking web browsers for certain uses, but this still entirely depends on the usage. Applications look spectacular, and they seem the most friendly way to use a mobile, little typing or scrolling is required, and all of the other laborious parts of browsing the web on mobile seem to vanish. On most apps you find yourself only needing to click, which is basic, but ideal while on the go.

This possibly explains why for shopping the web browser is still the way to go, if you work in the retail business you should probably stick to a mobile web browser.

The same is true if your website is some kind of archive or library, searching is far more preferable using a browser, and the same is true for reading long text.

If however your content is some form of tool, then a web app might be the way to go. People schedule their lives on their mobiles, they check their cholesterol, manage their finances, and set little reminders. For any utility based business idea, a mobile web based app is a great idea.

Instructions in one form or another seem to be another really popular use for mobile web apps. Whether the instructions are for recipes, or directions to the nearest florist, people just seem to love using apps. Finally if you’re teaching a language or something similar, then a bright app which only needs one thumb to operate would be the obvious choice.

Is Mobile Website Design Expensive?

With almost half of all web traffic now coming from portable devices, it’s more important than ever to have a functioning mobile website. One of the main concerns people tend to have when considering to adapt their website for the web is about cost. As you would expect this can vary a great deal, and there are some key variables to consider before getting into anything. As an average though most websites for small businesses will cost less than $2000. Keep reading for our guide for mobile website design prices.

First off, what is the state of your current website? If your current site doesn’t do much, and you aren’t using e-commerce then maybe it isn’t worth working from your existing design. Basically ask yourself how costly your existing website was, and if you did pay very little for a really basic site originally, it’s probably worth removing that site and going back to the drawing board.

Now you can design your website mobile first, meaning that you design it primarily for mobile use, since adapting to the desktop’s larger screen is far more easy than vice versa. Essentially meaning you get to start afresh for your website, and have a fully optimised mobile site for around the same price as the mobile site alone.

If on the other hand your website is already professional, works really well, and you do really well from sales online then as you might expect, things may be a little more pricey. If you take thousands of orders each month then the website, and framework required might mean you see your web design soaring up to and above $10,000. This includes important security features for handling all of those transactions safely.

Though the likelihood is that for this scale of business you will probably need multiple staff to handle orders alone, and so this is generally for larger organisations, and as I’ve said, this won’t apply to most small business.

The Best Practices for Developing a Perfect Mobile Website

In just a few years the monopoly has shifted for internet use, the desktops once mighty 90% has plummeted, and mobile web commerce is poised to overtake. Here we’ve composed a checklist of the essential dos and don’ts for best practices in mobile web development today.

Accessibility
Is your site accessible for all? There was a time when designing for iOS (iPhone) was probably sufficient but today Android, Windows, and others all need to be considered. This means making the pages that make up your website fully responsive, or preparing to lose your young customer.

Minimalism
On the mobile web, simplicity is key. This means many things, first and foremost the navigation around your site needs to be quick and simple. Menus should be kept concise, and direct, avoid using sub-menus at any cost.
Anything that seems gimmicky isn’t welcome on your mobile site, so do away with all drop-down menus, and anything else that makes your site untidy (including all unnecessary images). You should also think seriously about removing anything which requires a Flash player.
This also means keeping media to a minimum, and never auto play music or videos, a commuter on the busy 6:45 AM train in rush hour won’t appreciate it, and it will slow the user experience too.

Utilise the platform
Mobiles can do things that desktops can’t, and this is something to take advantage of. It is also very likely that it will become increasingly relevant as time goes on, so get used to it!
Also the way we use our phones today is impressive, and indigenous peoples might find the speed at which we interact with our telephones to be fairly frightening! But that’s the convenience of them, and click to call buttons save so much time proportionately. Looking for a pen and jotting down a number could take anything from 15 seconds (if you have the pen to hand) to a couple of minutes. Click to call on the other hand doesn’t take a second.  Direct GPS directions too don’t really apply when you’re sitting at your desk, on mobile however… very handy indeed thanks!

Could Your Business Capitalize By Developing a Mobile Web App?

Hundreds of thousands of mobile apps are used everyday, by millions of users globally. Many of these are apps are native applications, which (without going into too much detail) basically means any app that you find in one of the many app stores, which is then installed and downloaded onto your portable device.

The rest are web apps, which are far easier to manage, and do not require acceptance from any app store. It’s worth asking for any business, especially if you see your competition using them, should you develop a mobile web application for your product or service?

A web app isn’t really an application, and doesn’t require any downloading or installation. It’s more like a transformation of your website, so that it appears app-like. There are many benefits to doing things this way, as opposed to using a native app.

First off native apps can be more costly to set-up, and require more maintenance in the long-term. Also as mentioned there is no need to submit your app to anyone for publication when using a mobile web app, and your customers don’t need to download anything to use your service.

Another big advantage of using a mobile web app is that you can drive all your normal web traffic directly to the app from their web search. This is because, as mentioned, the web app is actually just a way to redesign your website to act as a native app.

On the downside, for large scale operations web apps may turn out to be more costly. Also unlike native apps, a mobile web based app cannot access mobile feature like the microphone, speaker, camera, and so on.

In the end you should take into consideration what the majority of your competition seems to do well with, and do plenty of research before deciding if a web app is the right way for your website to go. If you are considering to design a native app for your website, it might work well to use a web app first, to see how your customer base responds.