Last week I wrote about PhoneGap in the context of how I believe it could make mobile development more available to small business. This week I am writing of another equalizer which can work cooperatively with PhoneGap, and allows mobile friendly sites to be developed without the need for a native mobile application. This provides developers with a write less – do more environment and can buy time for small businesses, hesitant to take the plunge.
Though we are seeing small businesses loosening their development dollars, the mindset of austerity from a down economy is still ever-present. So as the number of electronic touch-points increases exponentially, the money allocated to keep pace is still being doled thoughtfully and efficiently.
I give you JQuery Mobile(JQM); a turbo boost for your development dollars that gets you to the mobile environment while developing for the web. Because mobile is quickly becoming the first-screen customers see, businesses can no longer ignore applying effort in this area.
Also notable is the fact that mobile and small screen size are no longer one and the same. With giant phones like the Galaxy S3 and small tablets like the ipad Mini, net tops, desktop replacement laptops etc, it’s really important to utilize screen real estate, or lack thereof properly, and custom targeting will never get it right.
What happens when you custom target a desktop, then minimize the screen and drag it into the corner? Unless your site is reactive then it will not produce a good experience. Prioritizing columns and replacing icons can provide a great experience without having to custom target screen resolutions.
Still, it’s one thing to develop a mobile app and another to be mindful of the mobile environment. While many business owners are deciding if an app is the way to go, they can now buy time to ponder the question. One way to do this is to bring your website to its lowest common and most efficient denominator, something JQM is helpful to do.
The world now thinks of a website as more than a virtual directory. And with Google’s emphasis on recency and relevancy of content, websites have much more information from which to cull, which is not always practical for smaller screens. To help solve this, JQM provides responsive tables that allows developers to prioritize columns and use abbreviated headers on the page so that only crucial information is displayed. This releases the pressure on the decision to go mobile and allows you to concentrate on when to go full throttle with a mobile app.
When do you do this? When you are ready. It takes a plan that weighs cost vs. profit, and has a good marketing strategy, a good design, good content, and a desire to invest your brainpower – your most important asset.