You have seen them walking along the street with their heads down and their hands out in front of them, thumbs fidgeting on a handset that looks less like a phone and more like a mobile computer. And you wonder what they see that could possibly be so interesting that they’re about to walk into a streetlight (or get mugged).
Although you can’t tell if they’re reading an important email or just texting their friends, there is an increasing chance they are reading a website. In a Pew study of mobile phone use before 2008, at least 19% of Americans had already used a cellphone or PDA to access a website, and since then use of cellphones like the iPhone that can access web represent an increasing portion of any website’s visitors. Because these devices use a smaller screen, and mobile websites might be loaded for different purposes, communicating on a mobile website is different.
Some differences seem more obvious than others: like most writing for websites, a mobile website should be succinct, with catchy hooks that make you want to click through and read the rest of the story. Most mobile web browsers will only display around 50 to 75 words of legible text on screen at a time, so you’ll need to make the point quickly. The screen itself promotes sites that are easy to navigate with narrow vertical scrolling, as opposed to the wide horizontal columns used on monitors for navigating most desktop web browsing. And because people are using the web on the go, they are visiting sites for different reasons; one trend is location-based information services that take advantage of GPS and Google Maps (which should be the subject of another post on this blog of its own).
This website is specially configured for reading on mobile browsers, including the iPhone and Blackberry handhelds; simply visit the site on your mobile device and it should look a little different. By utilizing a plugin to WordPress, you will be able to use most of the features in this site on your mobile device, including the latest blog posts, sending an me an email, leaving a comment, or just searching the site. I would like to welcome any feedback you might have about my own mobile website, so that I can make adjustments for these rapidly changing communications tools.