Mobile Monday – You Must Format for Mobile!

Seriously I can not make this any clearer. Wait yes I can.
 YOU MUST FORMAT FOR MOBILE!
If I knew HTML I would make that statement blink on and off and shoot lasers into the air. How you do this will depend on what type of Business you are. It could mean developing an App, formatting your website, or creating a mobile micro site. I am specifically talking only phones with this post.
My Droid2 has a slightly bigger screen than the IPhone. And that screen is way too small for sites that are not mobile formatted. Yes with my fingers I can zoom in to see content but seriously it is a pain in the ass. Normally when I get bumped to the browser from a link if it is not formatted I close it. Sometimes I remember to then go to the page when I get home. Often by then I had forgotten. 
Screen size is why Mobile Video-TV will never be the primary choice (at least not on phones). It will be the last choice. The “well I really want to watch this and have no other larger screen around” choice. When your site is not formatted either vertically or horizontally so everything fits when I view it and I can scroll you get put into this group with the video.
To make this very simple:
If you are a content provider your choice is formatting for the screen size or creating an App specifically for your content. NY Times, Huffington Post, ESPN all have Apps. But I have seen plenty of mobile web formatted content sites that look nice on the phone. And if I turn the phone sideways when the page is sized for that width I have no problem reading the words. Sites like the Daily Show enable you to view the videos to your screen size. Both Skyfire and Firefox Mobile Browsers lets these pop out. It is the print that usually is not Mobile compatible.
Music is very App-Centric. I have Pandora, Soundcloud, and Slacker Radio on my Droid for streaming music. Sites like www.wunderground.com are perfectly formatted for my Droid so I can pull up my browser and check the weather instantly. 
One caveat with formatting for content is the Vertical/Horizontal. I like to read before I fall asleep. Normally with my head on the pillow and me on my side. When I use NubiNews Droid App to read the Economist or the New Yorker it is a fixed vertical screen. So when I turn the Droid on its side it stays fixed so I can read it just like if I was sitting up. For the BBC News App, if I lay on my side it switches to Horizontal and then the words are in the wrong position. So no BBC in bed. Economist and New Yorker yes.
If you sell via Mobile you have major challenges. Apps can help give a very unique experience. But you can also format you web page. The biggest challenges here are do people have to Type, Press Buttons, or ever Cut and Paste? This is a big challenge for phones. You need to make it so people are not trying to use a finger nail. I have been to some sites that drive me bonkers because I have to press on some very teeny lettering. There is also screen size limitations. People can really only see a few items at a time. This makes browsing products very tedious. Especially if clicking on an item brings up an un-formatted browser page!
Amazon has a very simple and sleek App. It is a search bar. Type in the search it pops back a list. The problem with Apps vs a Mobile Formatted Site is you need an App for each platform. I know Pizza Hut and Dominos have IPhone Apps. They do not have Droid Apps. There is a Pizza Ordering App for the Droid. But when using that App I can order from many different companies. An App would ensure I don’t choose another Pizza Place from within the App.
As I mentioned in determining a Mobile Strategy LINK the biggest factor in determining what technologies to pursue. Which means figuring out in what ways will make it easiest for someone to engage, connect, consume, purchase via their mobile devices with your company.
To App or Not to App that is the Question? That will be my next mobile topic.

*that bitchin high performance shopping cart is available at Target in case anyone needs one. LINK

Addendum: Yesterday Mr. Ben Kunz tweeted a LINK that had Mr. Edward Boches and Mullen interviewed in an Ad Age Article. I clicked the link on my Droid. The article came up. With the whole page fit into my Droid2 screen. The writing so teeny I could decipher the letters. I tried enlarging but then couldn’t get the paragraphs to fit my phone so to read I had to slide it right and left! Ad Age Fail!  BTW Ben and Edward have great blogs to read see links in my list to the left!

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About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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