March 26, 2009

Location, Location... Mobile

By Corvida Raven of (FriendFeed/Twitter)

Two years ago the mobile web was not a huge deal to me. I hated the way Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) displayed web pages. Add that to the fact that I was deeply committed to graphic design at the time, and you'll understand why I ignored this market. It was frustrating to look at, and even harder to interact with. At the time, no one could reach me there. It was...(gasp!) a dead zone! (Dun, dun, duuuuuun!)

Today in Mobile

Fast forward to today when I'm checking my e-mails and RSS feeds from my iPhone. I'm getting directions from the Google Maps app on both my iPhone and Nokia E-75. I prefer Live Search Mobile on Motorola Q9c running Windows Mobile. Now that the mobile landscape is changing I've been changing with it. You almost have to have a mobile app or optimized site in order to pitch me.

I have three cell phones utilizing two of the best mobile web browsers available: Skyfire (Nokia, Windows Mobile) and Mobile Safari (iPhone). I'm also a lot more mobile than I was two years ago. Mobile optimized sites are simply becoming a must in this day and age. I'm here to let you know that you'd better hop on the bandwagon. However, don't just hop on the iPhone's bandwagon, Instead, make your services available to every mobile platform.

Mainstream Web Compatibility

With three devices running three different Mobile OS' and browsers, it should come as no surprise as to why mobile web cross-platform support is important to me. However, this isn't just personal. Mainstream users are dying to catch on to the mobile web too. The problem: the junk doesn't work on their phones. You can blame it on the handset all you want, but your users shouldn't be forced into buying a specific phone just to play with your service. In the same breath, they shouldn't be tied to their computer either.

Of course this doesn't apply to everyone. Limited functionality is a given with the mobile web, but you can't expect it to improve if you don't at least attempt to improve it. My friends are really trying to get into accessing information on the go while we're out and about. They see me do it all the time on my iPhone and think the iPhone is some sort of gadget god. They should be thinking that your app or service is great, not just the iPhone. They can't do that because if you take the iPhone out of the picture, they still wouldn't be able to use quite a few of the services I use.

Mobile Me & You

My location is ever-changing. I'm deeply invested in accessing information on the go. It's making my work more flexible and allowing me to make my day more productive. Now I can still go outside and socialize, with everything I need only a tap away on my phones, and I hate when I encounter something that can't be done until I'm back home with my laptop.

These days I'm waiting for Skype's iPhone App to be released. Can we say unlimited calling for cheap? I'm loving all the location awareness and Geo-tagging features that are being rolled out into mobile apps. However, the sites need the same love people. Not everyone owns an iPhone, you know.

Read more by Corvida Raven at