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Monday Morning Mobile: Development Differences Part II; Toolset

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By Seth Kaplan and John Packes

RISMEDIA, August 2, 2010— Last week in our conversation with John Packes, director of product development for Mobile Card Cast, New York (www.MobileCardCast.com) we looked at the differences between developing for the traditional Web and Mobile Web. What we uncovered is that from a conceptual and information architecture standpoint, the two development processes are fundamentally different.

Shortly thereafter, in a conversation with Ryan Jennings, managing partner of Indigo6, a Graphic Design & Digital Communication Company based in Norwalk, CT, he expressed to us how his firm views the challenge of continuing to focus on their core competencies while meeting consumer demand for Mobile to stay ahead of the curve. “Given the range of mobile device capabilities, it’s impractical [for us] to manually version content for delivery to the largest audience. Today, digital agencies need to partner with channel experts like Mobile Card Cast to ensure the message [they create] reaches the largest audience in the most compelling way,” Ryan explained. This strategy will allow Ryan and his team to remain focused on creating the content knowing that the integrity of that content will not change no matter what mobile device it’s being viewed on.

So how do the differences in traditional Web development and Mobile Web development impact me, my brand and my real estate business? What are the practical differences and what do I stand to gain from working with a dedicated Mobile Web developer? For this, we turn back to John Packes for a detailed explanation.

John: Let’s start with your website; you probably did a fair amount of research before selecting your provider. Most likely, you chose your website provider because they could deliver a good Web experience for your brand and add value to your business. Beyond just presenting your logo and information on the Web, the ‘cool factor’ probably played a role in your decision. Additional features such as Flash, JQuery animations, SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities, a backend admin panel, and infinite others may have also impacted your decision. Web companies use those to stay ahead of the curve; that’s their toolset.

In Mobile, the toolset is completely different. For example, Mobile doesn’t rely on SEO explicitly because all search traffic should go to the website first, and seamlessly redirect in the event a Mobile Device is detected. Mobile also doesn’t utilize Flash since it’s not compatible with most phones. However, the Mobile development toolset leverages the power of the Mobile device to provide for a different and more interactive experience. Let’s start with the most popular—GPS technology—which can be utilized through the mobile browser to point mobile users to destinations (homes for sale) that are physically near them. Mobile also allows for integration of the other device features such as click to call (not on PC), click to email, and click to SMS functionality to allow your customers to instantly contact you. Mobile providers can coordinate and integrate intelligent SMS strategies in order to build your marketing database and drive traffic to your Mobile website. Furthermore, Mobile can allow users to impulsively make donations or product purchases directly through your mobile website, while your product or brand is fresh in their minds. The Mobile toolset of yesterday was limited. Today, it expands daily as mobile devices account a greater percentage of Internet traffic while the devices and networks available become increasingly sophisticated.

Because the toolsets used vary so widely, it is rare that you will find a company or individual who is an expert in both. Make sure your provider is well versed and is utilizing a current Mobile toolset when transitioning your business and brand to the Mobile environment.

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