Bite the Apple for The Mobile Migration

With the launch of the Apple iPad 3, you might be realizing that this whole mobile device revolution is not just a passing fad.

In fact, last year for the first time, smart phones outsold personal computers. According to a March 7, 2012, Forbes article, more than 487.7 million smart phones were shipped last year, up 62.7 percent from prior year compared with just 414.6 million personal computers — including tablet computers. 

A frenzy to be first

This Golden Ticket for an iPad3 is courtesy of Danielle SterniPad mania and NCAA basketball fever are in full swing around the country today. In Norfolk, Va., Danielle Stern, assistant professor of Media Studies at Christopher Newport Univeristy, was one of the first in line at the Apple store with 10 other early adopters.

"It all moved so quickly, 20 minutes from line to setup," she shared via Twitter. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal report 450 people waited for the third-generation tablets at an Apple store in Toyoko. Read a full recap of the frenzy in a USA Today article.

"As for the new toy, it's perfect. I'll give more feedback once I've had time to explore," she added.

Look at your website — on  your phone

Learning the new iPad might be easiest thing, but determin how your organization uses the technology to enhance its internal and external communication is a much bigger question.

How does website look on the new iPad or growing number of other mobile device? If you’ve not checked it on a tablet and a smartphone, you need to. Borrow one if you must — I regularly co-opt my husband’s iPad. Plus, there are bound to be lots of deals on older models.

OK, so you just pulled up your site on your phone and you see that most of the links are missing and you have to scroll all over the place and zoom and zoom and zoom to see anything. How long do you think most people will spend on that kind of site? Not long.

Expanding your reach

If your website isn’t mobile ready, you’re likely missing out on a vast swath of your potential market.

And if your primary market is under 35, you should get busy on your mobile site or app today. In fact, in February, the 18-34 set was officially dubbed Generation C — C for connected.  Their favorite mode of connection — a smartphone.

Of course, that’s also now shifting some to tablets. My husband teaches educational technology at the university level and said he recently had a doctoral student in his class who does all of his work on a tablet. All of it.

Going mobile

So what can you do with your current site to make it more mobile?

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Take out unnecessary images and eliminate Flash (the player). You can ask your developer about using jquery or even animated gif files. Try to keep page info to one screen to cut down on scrolling. Think like a mobile user as you navigate the site and cut down on menus.

When you plan your next redesign, do it with an eye for making it mobile.

Adobe’s November 2011 Inspire magazine offered 10 great tips for designing a mobile website. Mashable offers these helpful nuggets.

Also, be sure to check out what other great mobile sites look like. Check out CBS.com, ebay.com and humanesociety.org, as well as industry leaders like Google and Twitter to see what they look like on your phone.

You don’t have to be a mobile guru to be part of the mobile migration, but go ahead and bite the Apple. You'll be glad you did.

Donna Dunn is not a fad follower, an early adopter or any of the like. In fact, she’s still debating on whether to trade in her traditional Blackberry for a smart phone.