When delivering content to a mobile device, as an R+D team you have three choices:
- Do nothing to your website - let the user "double tap" and zoom and pan
- Design and develop a platform specific "App" - but then, for which platform (iPhone? iPad? Windows? Android?... the list goes on)
- Have a specifically designed UI that is optimised for use on a small screen through the web browser
At NBS we have decided to follow the third option when it comes to our most used website RIBAProductSelector.com.
One thing that you'll notice when visiting RIBAProductSelector.com on a mobile is that it now automatically redirects to the website m.RIBAProductSelector.com. This is a different user interface - but the same fantastic technical content. This approach is a principle that has also been recently adopted by bbc.co.uk/news as shown in the screenshot below:
|BBC News - now redirecting to mobile friendly version|
The screenshot below shows this experience with RIBAProductSelector.com:
When searching for product literature this works really nicely in terms of finding items and then storing them in your iBooks area of your device (or equivalent):
|Quickly find product literature|
|Save product literature to your mobile device|
Also, if you quickly want to give a manufacturer a phone call or drop them an email - this is possible as the contact details link into the respective features on your device:
|Search for a company...|
|...and here's my number, call me maybe?|
|Browse inspirational architectural images|
|Zoom in on images that are of interest|
|Browse case studies and learn how products have been successfully used|
Members of our R&D team have been working on this for a few months, but it wasn't until I had a good play around with it on my iPhone that I realised how nice the user experience this is on a hand held device.
Finally, finishing on software technology for those interested, there is a new hot topic that is worth looking into and that is "Responsive web design". A single style-sheet that responds to the screen width. Maybe that's a topic for another blog post. A 4th option for future developments?