If you are using a specific browser, say Safari, to visit a website like bbc.co.uk, you don't have to write safari.bbc.co.uk
in order for the website to be displayed in a Safari-optimised way, it usually just happens. So why should we have to guess the address when using a mobile browser?!
Is this even a problem?
If a website doesn't automatically detect a mobile device and deliver mobile content, the user will have to guess what the mobile address is, and there are quite a few options to be guessing from. Here are some using bbc.co.uk (which on a side note I think is doing a good job providing mobile content):
- m.bbc.co.uk (works)
- mobile.bbc.uk (works)
- wap.bbc.co.uk (doesn't work)
- iphone.bbc.co.uk (doesn't work)
- bbc.co.uk/m (doesn't work)
- bbc.co.uk/mobile (doesn't provide same content on phone as in regular browser)
- bbc.mobi (doesn't provide same content on phone as in regular browser)
After some investigation where we looked at websites registered at www.fdim.dk, the Danish Internet Media Organisation, we could clearly see a trend. The web developers would either:
- Not provide a mobile friendly website at all: 28%
- Provide a mobile website via a dedicated address similar to m.bbc.co.uk only: 55%
- Provide, or redirect the user directly to, a mobile website when visiting the regular address like bbc.co.uk: 17%
- Websites which provide, or redirect the user directly to, a mobile website when visiting the regular address similar to bbc.co.uk gets 3.47% visitors and 5.15% page views from mobile devices in average.
- Websites which do not automatically provide a mobile website will only get 1.51% visitors and 1.37% page views from mobile devices in average.
That is 2.3 times as many mobile visitors and 3.7 times as many mobile page views if we automatically redirect to or provide a mobile webpage!
Does this mean we should automatically redirect to a mobile friendly website if the user is using a mobile phone?
I strongly believe so. It is better usability and will make your users happy. However, we cannot be certain from these statistics that doing this will provide more users, only that more users will use the mobile webpages.