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Use Your Existing Data to Fuel Your Entire Mobile Strategy

by Tim Williamson

Multi-channel DeliverySo, you've decided to start planning your mobile strategy but don't know where to begin. Should you choose a mobile website, responsive design or go with a mobile app? There's so much information out there, how do you pick? I'm going to show you why, with the right CMS, it doesn't matter which one you choose first. You'll be able to successfully expand your mobile presence one step at a time.

Responsive Design

An elegant page layout and a cleverly designed navigation will certainly please your mobile visitors. Sometimes that's all you need and you can find plenty of examples where companies have relied entirely on responsive design to provide their mobile experience.

Combining the layout and responsive capabilities of Sitefinity makes it easy to transform the desktop version of your website into one that fits perfectly on mobile phones and tablets. Reusing your existing pages and content allows you to deliver your message to a much wider audience without the need to manage it in multiple locations.

It's very important to remember that just because something is pretty doesn't guarantee it's usable.

No matter how great your design is or how many devices it displays on, you can't expect your visitors to put up with things like endless scrolling (yes, paging is just as bad), complex filtering or tapping on tiny links and/or buttons to find what they're looking for…especially when they know exactly where the “back” button is.

Mobile Websites

Sometimes you may want to do more than change the way your content behaves on mobile devices. You may want to serve it up in a completely different structure or an interface that's custom tailored to the needs of visitors with smaller screens (larger buttons, optimized images, etc.). Sitefinity powered, mobile websites are a great way to do that.

Mobile websites are a good way to speed up your site on smaller devices by allowing you to reconsider what you're sending from your server. You can send leaner HTML, CSS and JavaScript that doesn't include things like image rotators (and the accompanying images), light boxes or things that require browser plug-ins.

Using a mobile website to better provide your existing content to mobile visitors is great! Using it to completely remove sections of content that are available on other devices though…not so much. Make sure to avoid that.

Mobile Applications

When it's no longer enough to simply display your information, Sitefinity's Mobile App Builder makes it easy to create interactive mobile applications driven by your existing content. (Yeah, the same stuff that's being shown on the desktop, responsive and mobile versions of the site. See where I'm going here?)

Instead of overwhelming visitors with mountains of information, wouldn't it be great to use device capabilities to highlight exactly what's going to be the most relevant? Common questions like the ones below can be easily answered based on information from device sensors.

  • What are the hours and address of your closest store?
  • How do I get to your business from my current location?

Start bringing in data collected through other channels like email campaigns, feedback forms and countless other systems and you'll realize the possibilities of what you can accomplish are endless.

Which Way is Best?

Responsive design, mobile websites and mobile applications are all important parts of providing a great mobile experience for people wanting to interact with your brand. None of them should be considered better or worse than the others. What's important is creating a good experience on whatever devices your visitors are using. Focusing on one method is easy but usually ends up causing a lot of problems when visitors with unsupported devices start getting frustrated.

 

To wrap up, you need to cater to all of your visitors with a comprehensive mobile strategy. It's not important which type of mobile experience you decide to develop first. It's more important to choose a platform that provides the tools and capabilities necessary to tackle the next one…and the next one…and the next.

Learn how you can use Sitefinity to create and manage your own mobile sites and apps by exploring these video tutorials.

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