Mindless Philosophy






Really… One Site fits all?

by Darren Street

Created on: Monday September 9, 2013

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It’s a technical world we live in these days. Modern smartphones can do much more than connect us to other people. They can connect us to leisure activities, shopping opportunities, monitor what the weather is going to do and check the road traffic to see if we will be late attending that meeting this evening.

One-Size-Fits-All

Smartphone hardware is getting ever easier to use and more intuitive to navigate. The proliferation of applications or “apps” for specific devices grows on a daily basis, however my question to business owners is…

Should you be developing smartphone apps at all?

It may seem like a redundant question, but unless your app is specifically interacting with the hardware (such as the phone camera or the data storage) then a standard website can do the job just as well.

Historically, businesses have been encouraged to provide a main website for desktop users, specific mobile optimised websites for smartphones &  tablets AND apps for Apple IOS Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices.

That’s quite a lot. All need to be updated and maintained.

If the apps don’t provide any cool functionality over the standard website then they can be overlooked and underutilised.

Take for instance the BlockBusters app. This allows you to search their catalogue of thousands of films and directs you to their nearest store.

This functionality is hardly new and is also available on their main website. So why have it? Why go to the expense of writing it and of maintaining it?

Should you be developing smartphone apps at all?

Perhaps, because viewing the blockbuster website on a smartphone is not entirely a pleasing experience. It appears full width so the site is tiny and unless you "pinch and zoom" it's not really very mobile friendly.

A new coding methodology is set to revolutionise the industry allowing businesses to invest in a single website that views correctly on a desktop, tablet and a smartphone 4 inch screen. A single website that adapts and modifies its text & graphics to be optimally viewed on any internet browser, big or small.

The good news is that this “responsive” technology exists and is increasingly becoming more popular. Let’s consider the benefits:

  1. Easy to develop and maintain. Forget about all the versions of hardware dependent apps and cut-down mobile targeted sites. Edit your main site and updates are instantly available without lengthy amendment procedures.
  2. It’s flexible.  Add animation effects and movies to your targeted desktop visitors,  but exclude lengthy animation effects to smartphones as they may be connecting over a slow GSM network.
  3. It’s fast. Smartphone visitors get an optimised start-up, only making essential server requests.

So  to answer the question “One Site Fits All”?

For most websites out there, definitely. That’s not to say Smartphone apps don’t have a place because they will be with us for many years to come.  

However the future, I believe, is the web, so does Google. I think they might know a thing or two about technology.  

What do you think?

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