Posts Tagged ‘mobile webdesign web2.0 iPhone’

Mobile Web Design

Rethinking the iPhone’s Role in Computing

This article raises an interesting question about the iPhone. Is the iPhone a computer that happens to make phone calls or is it a phone that has huge computing capabilities. Tim Bajarin compares the iPhone to the Palm Pre and the Blackberry in this article and points out the huge gap between the iPhone and other PDAs. I think that Apple’s decision to go more toward a computer that happens to make phone calls is going to revolutionize the telephony, computer, and design industries. I believe that eventually, the iPhone will be your “pocket” computer and when you get home, you will put it in some sort of docking station where it will be hooked up to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals and people will no longer need to have a laptop or a desktop unit. Just as many people are getting rid of their landlines in favor of just using their cell phones, mobile users will just have their “pocket” computer. Especially in light of all of the cloud computing options available as well as the many ways to have all of your documents and files to be web-based, these factors will only accelerate the move toward the handheld computer, in my opinion. The question then becomes, will the other companies continue to add computing features to a phone or will they follow the Apple path?

Designing for the Mobile Web

This is a fabulous article that goes through seven steps that a mobile web designer needs to think about and various aspects to be aware of as they design for the ever increasing mobile web market. Brian Suda takes you step by step through the initial considerations a designer must take. A couple of things struck me as I was reading this article. One, the decision whether or not to have a separate mobile web URL, a subdomain, or allowing the server to detect the device you are using is a really important decision for the designer. I personally would design a subdomain. I cannot tell you how many times (borrowing my husband’s iPhone) that I go to the mobile web site or it is a case of the server detecting the device, and the site provided does not contain the information or the capabilities that I need. I get incredibly frustrated that I cannot go to the “original” website to get to what I need. Secondly, this also leads into the very important aspect of knowing your visitor and providing the correct mobile web content for them. As designers, are we providing the access the visitor wants in an easily attained manner or does the visitor have to go through ten clicks to get to their desired destination? Lastly, this then brings up designing for the “stubby, fat finger” that is the new stylus. The iPhone has created an environment with only one button and your finger. Are the menus too close together, is it too difficult to log-in, or do you try to click one thing and get another? I liked how Suda points out that iTunes allows the user to set up a mobile profile that already has their log-in information and settings and then gives the user a unique URL to connect to via their mobile device. I think that Apple again is leading the way in how we will eventually be designing this capability into a good majority of our websites, especially if the website contains e-commerce.

The App Gold Rush

This blog discusses the boom in app production and as designers we need to be aware of this blossoming industry. As another career path, we may be designing apps to be used in mobile computing. The blog discusses Zinga, Yahoo, and the big daddy of them all, the Apple App Store. The statistics are incredible and I can easily see myself in this career, in fact it holds quite the appeal to me. I believe that this industry spin off of the mobile web design phenomenon is only going boom as the iPhone leads the pack and the other manufacturers try to catch up. App design is something that even web designers need to be aware of as they design a site. Would it be advantageous to the company that you are designing a website for to have an app that would lead customers to their door or add revenue to their bottom line? For example, let’s say The Cheesecake Factory had an app for the iPhone where you threw cheesecakes at targets for points. If your High Score reaches a certain level for the week or the month, then the user receives a $5 gift card from The Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory can then imbed ads and gift card purchase opportunities within the app. So besides the advertisement value, the app could also be a profit center for the restaurant chain. I think we are only beginning to grasp the design potential of the app boom.

On the Clock

This article is pretty silly, but it does bring up the potential of always being on the clock with your employer, especially if your mobile device is provided by the company. I believe that the web design work environment is going to change in the next few years to more designers working from home or at least not in a brick and mortar office. Therefore, your mobile device, whether it is an iPhone or other cell phone, will be an integral part of your career. I have too many friends that are “on call” 24/7 because of this mobile age, especially if the phone is company owned. As future employees, we will need to be aware of this phenomenon and be prepared to take a stance on whether being always available is part of the job or just a boss taking advantage of your time. Time is our most precious commodity and if I am available 24/7, then I have just taken a HUGE pay cut.

Fun Theory

Okay, so this is a VW ad on YouTube, (Thanks to StumbleUpon) but it does point out that as designers we need to think about the visitor having fun on our sites or with our apps. The more fun and appealing we make our sites and apps, the more we stand out from the competition and this translates to more hits and downloads. So, as designers we can no longer just have informative or pretty sites or apps, people want to be entertained. Apple has definitely raised the bar with the iPhone and its capabilities and we need to take design to the next level and make websites and apps appealing on a whole new level – fun.