Posted by: wingnut650 | August 14, 2008

Can you see me now? No? Bad…sort of

Had in interesting discussion with one of my coworkers today about our corporate website (www.Quest.com) and its lack of compatibility with mobile devices.  We both have different flavors of blackberry and we both attempted to view our website – it was terrible.  Then we went and checked out our competitors websites and, fortunately – I think, saw that their websites also looked really poor on the blackberry.  *One interesting note, one of these competitors even has a product that is made FOR mobile devices*.

Anyway, my comment was about how our website looks awful on a mobile device today and that this is an issue that should be resolved in the next two years.  The thought behind this is that *I* believe that businesses have a few years of lag time before a smooth user experience is going to be critical on a mobile device.  My coworker, on the other hand, completely disagreed and felt that this improved user experience is something that we need to have available now.  Since I don’t think there’s much research being done on mobile devices into corporate software purchases today, I really feel having this resolved in the near-ish term is an option that is reasonable.  Does having a software company website easily viewable on a mobile device give it a competitive advantage?  IMO, not for the software that we’re selling…yet.  Is this a requirement that Quest is going to have to comply with in the future?  I do think so – especially with the evolution of the mobile device for business users.  They’re essentially hand held computers and continue to be a critical link between the business user and…well…their business, which is primarily done online and on the phone, voila, blackberry and iphone to the rescue. 
So, while I think having the website optimized for a mobile device is not something we (Quest) especially need today…if this post still reflects the state of the Quest website in two years, I’ll eat my blackberry. 

Not really.

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Responses

  1. Or, you could just buy an iPhone and see every site the way it’s supposed to be seen….

    I think optimizing for the mobile web is a short to mid term solution. People aren’t making serious product buying decisions for our stuff based on what they see in a PDA anyway – that only matters for impulse buys where you need to do research while you’re standing at Best Buy or whatever.

    Two or three years from now, when everybody’s got a 3G phone with a good browser, the time spent optimizing for a mobile web browser will be wasted.

  2. As you know, we’re in the middle of redesigning the Quest web site entirely. In the course of our user research, we asked about mobile devices. None of the users we spoke with used their mobile devices to do serious web research in the purchase of enterprise software. Of greater concern to me is “accessibility.” Check out these videos on what it’s like to use the web with a screen reader for a blind person. It’s really eye-opening (pun intended).

    http://www.doit.wisc.edu/accessibility/video/intro.asp

    This is going to be the real competitive advantage in the nearer term.

    Plus, having a standards compliant, accessible web site means it will be easier to deliver a mobile experience as well.

    And of even more concern to me is how our email marketing looks over a blackberry. It’s downright embarrassing. Fortunately, our new Manager of Interactive Direct Marketing has this issue squarely on his radar and is taking steps to tackle this one.

    And as a recent iPhone convert, I can wholeheartedly agree with Brent. The mobile Safari browser is very good. If only Apple would integrate Flash for the iPhone, all would be right with the world! *grin*

  3. Ugh, Flash – no, I’m quite glad Flash doesn’t render on the iPhone. Flash is the antiweb.


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