iPhone/mobile web app development: stand-alone or complementary?

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Friday, 6 August 2010

Offering a mobile website is now a real possibility for most organisations. If you've already decided to build a mobile website app, should it be completely stand-alone, or should it share information from your organisation's already-established website?

High-quality content management systems (CMS) make it easy to achieve your goal and re-use content for a mobile site, or present entirely different content to mobile devices. If you aren't already using CMS that can handle mobile sites, upgrade to one that can.

As always, the correct approach is dependent upon your marketing goals, and your resources.

Complementary

If your goals for mobile visitors are much the same as for your traditional desktop website, then it makes sense to present the same information in a more mobile-friendly format. Your CMS should enable you to give people using mobile devices like iPhones a separate design, optimised for their screen sizes.

Building a complementary mobile web app also makes updating easier and less expensive, as updates to the main website will be automatically reflected in the mobile version.

Stand-alone

If you foresee vastly different goals for mobile visitors, because they will typically want different information, or a small sub-set, when using a mobile device, then it makes sense to build a separate, stand-alone mobile web app.

A stand-alone mobile web app gives you the freedom to build features and make updates that aren't influenced by your main website. The flipside of that is that developing new features and new content is obviously more expensive than simply re-using what has already been built.

So where to from here? It's time to start working on your mobile strategy, deciding on the correct approach, and get building. Your main and mobile websites should work together to help you achieve your goals online.

Contact Webdragon for a free consultation about your mobile strategy.

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