OKC company releases mobile website design

OKC company releases mobile website design
by April Wilkerson
Dolan Media Newswires

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — As people increasingly use smart phones instead
of a traditional computer to access the Internet, businesses that don’t
change their websites accordingly could be ignoring their customers’
needs.

The Oklahoma City-based company Back40 Design Group recently
released its mobile website design – pared-down but informational,
readable websites that are suited for the mobile device user.

“‘Web surfing’ was a big term back in the day when people would go
online to surf for information and look around. But that’s not how
people use websites when they’re using their mobile device,” said Stacy
Brasher, director of operations for Back40. “When they’re using a smart
phone, they’re looking for action items or specific information.
They’ve come to your website because they want to call you or find your
address or get a map. That is what makes the mobile website necessary.
For those individuals, if they’re going to spend less than five minutes
on your website, they need it to load quickly, display what they’re
looking for and find the information faster than looking through a
full, perhaps 50-page website.”

The technology already exists so that a server can identify whether
a person is accessing a web page through a mobile device or a
traditional computer, said Ryan Hickman, senior programmer for Back40.
If it’s a smart phone, the server will load the mobile technology
webpage instead of the regular website, he said.

Back40 is helping clients create alternate websites that fit the smart-phone criteria.

Chief Executive Officer Dave Miller said the content of such a
website is an exercise in determining the heart of a business or
organization.

“It’s an excellent challenge having to pare down the content – it
makes you think about the most important messages about your business
or organization that we can present first with very little fluff,”
Miller said.

Websites for mobile devices need to relay information so the user
doesn’t have to zoom or click to lots of different pages, Brasher said.
The writing should be concise and buttons big enough for the finger or
thumb to find them. Logos should be consistent with a company’s brand,
yet simplified and high-contrast because they will be smaller. A logo
that looks good with several elements and effects on a regular website
would do well to be simplified for a mobile device. Numerous photos
also aren’t a good idea for a mobile web page, nor does Flash usually
show up on a mobile device. All that needs to be accomplished while
retaining a site’s pizzazz and purpose, Brasher said.

“There are a lot of intricate pieces that go into the concept of
simplifying something,” she said. “It sounds like the opposite of what
you would think, but it’s true: You have to think of all the small
details that will create lag time or slow down loads. Those are the
things that will frustrate mobile users. You have to eliminate
everything you can to make it as user-friendly as possible.”

On some of its clients’ mobile Web pages, Back40 puts two buttons at
the bottom – one for the phone number and the other for a map – which
are the two types of information a mobile user most needs from a site,
Miller said. If mobile users still want to access the full website for
more information, they also have that option with a link on the mobile
site.

Mobile websites are a growing part of Back40’s business – the staff
has been adding mobile sites for existing customers and selling
packages to new clients – but their clients are increasingly seeing the
benefit as well, Brasher said. People don’t take their laptops with
them when they go grocery shopping or for a night on the town, but they
do take their smart phones, she said.

“It’s a way for business owners to have 24-7 access to people that they didn’t have with a computer,” she said.

Brasher said Back40 has seen evidence on its own website of
increased smartphone access. In 2009, about 145 people used a mobile
device to log on to the Back40 website, she said. This year, the
company is seeing nearly that many smart-phone visitors in 60 days.

“We’ve always talked about having an elevator speech for your
company – you get into an elevator and you’ve only got a few minutes to
tell somebody what you do,” Brasher said. “That’s the same concept with
a mobile website. You need to pare it down to how short can I tell you
exactly what I do, why it benefits you and how you can contact me.”

© Dolan Media Newswires 2010.

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