Yes, I am one of THOSE people…. everywhere I go, my iPhone goes with me. I mean, who knows when I’m going to need to catch a moment in action with my phone’s camera? Or resolve an argument on the spot by Googling the answer to a heated debate? Let’s face it, mobility is here and is only getting more and more critical as time goes on.
In his SPLF presentation, Mobility Showdown: App vs. Web and Other Controversial Topics, Mobile Entrée’s Joe Herres took an in-depth look at mobility’s role in the enterprise, as well as explore some hot topics when it comes to deploying mobile solutions. Joe opened his presentation delivering the genesis of the rise of mobility: “It all starts with a need.” While past generations may have conducted all of their business from a desktop computer in their corporate office, these days, business is being conducted here, there, and everywhere, due mostly to the rise of mobility and the mobile user. However, as the need for mobility has increased, so too have concerns related to mobility begun to rise.
According to Joe, one of, if not the biggest, issues related to mobility in the enterprise is security. As businesses have begun to benefit from the gains that can be reaped from implementing mobile solutions enterprise-wide; however, this issue has slowly waned. By focusing on providing a service versus a device, businesses can take advantage of mobile VPNs and other solutions that help IT control mobile users as well as unburden IT resources. While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) used to be a highly frowned upon concept, the rise of increased security and quantifiable benefits has made BYOD a desirable – and financially advantageous – option for a number of organizations.
When it comes to mobility, one of the biggest issues facing IT developers is how to develop sites that cater to the mobile audience. As users juggle desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones for viewing websites, optimizing the user interface has become a hot topic in the IT world. When it comes to adapting web pages to a variety of different devices and screen sizes, there are two main approaches that developers can take: responsive design and a dedicated mobile site.
So what is responsive design and what are its benefits? Joe explained that the responsive design approach utilizes CSS, HTML, and more to create a site that provides an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices. One of the main benefits to designing a site using responsive design is that it involves building a single site versus separate desktop and mobile sites. This helps to retain continuity for desktop and mobile users with minimal back-end design work. Conversely, a dedicated mobile site requires more back-end work, as it means developing separate desktop and mobile websites as well as increased ongoing maintenance. However, there are a number of benefits to developing separate sites. A dedicated mobile site provides a more app-like, user-friendly interface and experience for mobile users. This includes faster load times, improved SEO, and better overall site delivery.
With both responsive design as well as a dedicated mobile site having their advantages and drawbacks, which option should an organization choose? According to Joe, the decision is easier than it seems – look at your organization’s requirements and pick the option that works best for YOU. Whether your goal is to create a site that is faster and easier to update or one that provides a better mobile experience, both options are viable approaches to optimizing your website and engaging mobile users.