Remember back when the internet was becoming popular and your company had to build this thing called a “web site” or risk losing business?
It’s happening all over again with mobile.
More and more people browse the web with smartphones and tablets, yet most web pages/apps were designed for PCs. These web pages/apps are difficult to navigate on mobile devices because they were built for large monitors and mouse-based navigation…not the small screens and touch navigation found on smartphones.
What does this mean? Just as the web brought about a fundamental change in how businesses reach customers, the rise of mobile requires a similar adjustment. Specifically, to properly address the rising number of mobile users, you must change your web apps in two ways:
1. Provide a mobile-focused interface
To do this correctly, build 3 different HTML layers of your web apps: One for smartphones, one for tablets, and one for PCs. Place logic inside the apps that identify the user’s browser and display the appropriate layer. If that sounds confusing, this page explains the concept in greater detail. If you’d like to see an example, check out this demo site and adjust “device” drop down box to view mobile versions.
2. Give users a way to seamlessly switch platforms
What happens if a user needs to switch from the desktop version to the smartphone or tablet version? For instance, maybe a salesperson needs to access the app outside the office, or a customer wants to save your app for later access on their smartphone or tablet. How do you let users merge seamlessly between each version? The answer: QR codes!
What are QR codes? Going back to the demo site, you’ll notice that each application has a QR code in the top right corner. Scan that QR code with a smartphone or tablet, and it will direct you to the smartphone or tablet application version. Simple, isn’t it?
If you want to learn more about QR codes, here’s a nice explanation. If you want to learn how to automatically add QR codes your web apps, here’s a great tutorial you’ll want to read: How to add dynamic QR codes to your web apps.
The rise in mobile computing requires a fundamental change in how we do business and/or reach customers online. How are you preparing your web apps for this inevitable trend?