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Mobile Questions from Synergy 2012
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Mobile Questions from Synergy 2012

CMS, Ektron, Responsive Design, Events
Published by Chris Osterhout on 02.4.13

Throughout the Ektron conference and over the past few weeks, my inbox has been flooded with questions regarding current or future mobile implementations, so I thought I would share the most common client follow up questions from Synergy 2012.

Ektron has once again put on a great partner and customer conference.
This year's Synergy theme seemed to focus on mobile and was stacked
with some really great industry thought leaders, such as Ethan Marcotte
and Luke Wroblewski. With mobile on everyone's mind, this year's
conference attendees seemed to be more excited than ever about the
prospect of creating or enhancing their websites’ mobile experiences.
Throughout the conference and over the past few weeks, my inbox has been
flooded with questions regarding current or future mobile
implementations, so I thought I would share the most common client
follow up questions from Synergy 2012:

Will an upgrade to Ektron version 8.6 make my website mobile?
This
is probably my favorite question to answer, because I attended most, if
not all, of the Ektron sessions this year, and I don't remember hearing
anything about an Ektron upgrade automatically making a website mobile.
The truth is, the newer versions of Ektron add a lot of great features
that will help your website become mobile, but they will not
automatically do it for you.

I have a responsive site now; how can Ektron improve it?
Ektron
offers a wide range of tools that will assist with presenting,
maintaining, and tracking activity on your mobile website. There are
three main areas where I believe Ektron can enhance your responsive
mobile website:

  1. Server Side Image Resizing - In version 8.6 of Ektron, the library
    can be configured to crop and compress several different sizes of any
    image you upload into the CMS. So, for example, if you upload a
    homepage rotator slide at 600 pixels wide, Ektron could be configured to
    automatically create smaller versions of that same image for use on the
    responsive website. You could then write a plugin for the new editor
    to embed the jQuery Picture syntax automatically every time a photo is
    inserted into the content area. In this example, Ektron would take care
    of the server side image resizing and jQuery Picture would take care of
    the client side image swapping. This change alone would dramatically
    enhance the user experience of your responsive website.
  2. Business Intelligence (BI) - With Ektron's release of the Digital
    Experience Hub (DxH), it is now possible to gain fantastic BI regarding
    how website visitors are utilizing your desktop and mobile websites.
    This type of BI gives you, as a website owner, great insight into the
    digital body language of your website visitors, allowing you to target
    website content specifically to different user personas.
  3. Targeted Content - Utilizing the BI mentioned above, you can now
    target specific types of content to different users in different
    contexts. So, imagine you are a university, and a current website
    visitor using a mobile phone fits the profile of a "Potential Student".
    You could use Ektron to present them with calls to action about
    upcoming seminars or admission forms rather than just displaying
    generic, non-relative calls to action.

I have Ektron, but I don't have a mobile site; how can I go mobile quickly?
Obviously,
there are a lot of options when it comes to going mobile with Ektron; I
mention a few of them here:
http://www.ektron.com/chrisosterhoutblog/managing-content-for-the-mobile-web/.
In my opinion, the best option for mobile is to rebuild the website
using responsive design. Unfortunately this is not the quickest or least
expensive choice. When responsive design is not an option (due to time
or budget restrictions), I suggest a mobile web application, but only as
a stopgap measure, because a strategic responsive website rebuild is a
far superior solution. A mobile web application can be created that
utilizes the same desktop Ektron content and presents it within a mobile
context. This will prevent your website content editors from having to
create content for both the desktop website and a mobile equivalent.

What should breakpoint for the tablet version of my responsive website be?
There
are a lot of common misconceptions about the exact breakpoint numbers
for responsive websites. These breakpoints should be based on the
website's overall design structure and not on common patterns for
responsive breakpoints. Here is a list of the standard breakpoints that
are often discussed along with responsive design:

  1. 0px – 480px (often referred to as “mobile”, i.e. Apple iPhone)
  2. 480px – 768px (often referred to as “larger smart phones and smaller tablets”)
  3. 780px – 1024px (often referred to as “larger tablets”, i.e Apple iPad)
  4. 1024px+ - (often referred to ask “the desktop browser experience”)

Do I need a separate domain for my mobile website?
If
you are using responsive design, the URL does not change when users
access your mobile site, which obviously yields the best ROI on your SEO
strategy. If you have a mobile web application, I do not encourage
separate domains for mobile. My reasoning for this is that when you
browse to a website on your mobile phone today, do you browse to the
mobile URL or the primary URL (cnn.com vs. m.cnn.com)? I would say that
nine times out of ten, you don't even know the mobile URL, because as a
website visitor, you are automatically brought to the mobile version of
the website from the primary URL. If your mobile web application is
using the same content as the desktop site, redirecting users to a
separate URL is unnecessary.

Over the course of the next weeks
and months I would expect these types of conversations to continue and
evolve. I strongly encourage companies to expand their mobile solutions
to better service their website visitors and enhance the ROI on their
website strategies.

 

Have questions or comments about this post? We'd love to hear from you.