4.5 ways to present content on mobile devices

4.5 ways to present content on mobile devices

8 Oct

Author : Brad Muncs, Categories : Mobile websites

Viewing information from the internet on your iPhone or Blackberry (or any other smarphone) can create a bit of confusion about expectations, especially since mobile websites are a relatively "new" concept.

There are 4.5 ways to present information available online on mobile phones (in order of complexity):

1. Normal website:

A website that is not optimized for mobile devices (usually looks either weird or completely unreadable on most phones).

EXAMPLE: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/

2. Mobile version of website:

The website's content is displayed so that users can see it correctly with the majority of cellphones.  In this case, it’s basically the same website, but styled differently (usually by applying another theme or “CSS” to the output).

EXAMPLE: most blogs created with WordPress (which has a default mobile theme), such as http://bouquinrouge.wordpress.com/

2a. Mobile version of website with content filtering:

As an alternative to having all the content of the normal website visible with mobile phones (some parts of it might not be relevant to mobile usage), it is also possible to filter which content from the website should be visible on mobile devices so that mobile users don’t have to go through so many pages.

EXAMPLE: http://m.bucuti.com

3. Independent mobile website:

In this case, a completely different website is created for mobile devices - specific content and features that are relevant to mobile users (kind of like a microsite that is optimized only for mobile phones).  It is even possible to create “app-like” versions of websites but that do not need any download or installation on the user’s phone.  This is often used for websites that have user accounts and perform specific functions (such as renting a car like Communauto’s online “réservauto” feature).

EXAMPLE: http://communauto.com/mobile/

4. Mobile application:

“Applications” are software that must be downloaded and installed on app-enabled device platforms such as BlackBerry, iPhone or Android.  These programs often focus on a few specific functionalities (ex: news feed) and their goal is almost never to present "static" content (ie: brochure-type info).  The main objective of apps is user interaction and functionality (the popularity of game “apps” is a good example of this). 

EXAMPLE: Time magazine APP (note: Time also has a mobile website @ http://mobile.time.com )

Tags : applications, blackberry, cellphone, devices, iphone

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