By: Fatema Fatakdawala
I recently had the opportunity to attend a hands-on workshop for the development of mobile app strategies at the Centre for Social Innovation Annex in downtown Toronto. The workshop consisted of a brief presentation by the award-winning mobile developer James Eberhardt followed by some interesting discussions in breakout groups of six people with at least one expert.
From James’ presentation, it was clear that we are moving towards a world where smartphones mobile devices such as the iPad, HP Tablet and Blackberry Playbook are rapidly replacing laptops and desktop computers. In order for businesses to keep up with this trend, they need to re-think the layout of their websites so that it is easier to navigate on a smaller screen of a handheld device.
The group exercise was very helpful as it not only gave me a broader understanding of the importance of making your webpage mobile friendly (by reducing the number of clicks per page, having less text and more visuals, etc.), but also provided specific feedback from several different perspectives (non-profit, small business, emerging entrepreneur and book author) when it came to setting goals for improvement. One key takeaway from the discussion was as follows. While it is good to have links to external content on your website, it should be well-balanced with the links to internal webpages to encourage users to delve deeper into your website.
Overall, some food for thought for startup firms that are not sure whether to market their product/service using a mobile app is as follows.
1) Do a significant percentage of your clients visit your website using a smartphone or mobile device?
2) If yes, will the design of a mobile app increase that percentage and add value to your product/service?
3) And finally, once you have invested into and created a mobile app, how can you ensure that users will download it and re-visit your app on a regular basis?
If you want some quick answers, refer to my last blog on Three Tips to Mobile Marketing
Fatema joins the RIC team as the Communications Officer responsible for marketing, social media, event and web management. She is a graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
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