Mobisite vs. Mobile Optimization

Emily Eldridge
Emily Eldridge



When developing a website, the project team should consider the site’s conversion, user experience and traffic sources from a mobile device during the initial concepting (if internal) or proposal (if external) phase. For the record, not doing anything to optimize site conversion for mobile viewing is not an option - unless you can prove to me on paper that no one, for any reason, ever, will access your site from a mobile device. There are two major options for mobile conversion of a web-based site: mobile optimization or a mobile website (mobisite). These are not the same thing.

Here are some questions your team should consider in reviewing mobile conversion options:

  • Who visits the site and why?
  • How much content exists on the full site? How easy is it to consume? Will mobile viewers prioritize the site's content differently?
  • Are there specific aspects of the site that would benefit from using in-device capabilities (i.e. accelerometer, geolocator)?
  • Are the calls-to-action for a mobile visitor different from those of a traditional web-based user?
  • Will visitors be making purchases when visiting the site from a mobile device?
  • Does the site serve advertisements? How will these be transferred to mobile display ads?
  • How much of the current traffic, if a version of the site already exists, comes from mobile devices?

Much like the traditional web, there are many additional considerations within each of these categories. These are future posts, but here are a few examples:

  • Mobile Optimization: Will you use responsive design for the entire site?
  • Mobile Optimization: For what browsers will you optimize (just like the traditional web)?
  • Mobile Optimization: Will any scripts or functions need to be disabled when a mobile device is detected?
  • Mobisite: For what devices will you optimize?
  • Mobisite: To which version of the site will tablet devices point?
  • Mobisite: How will your mobile search strategy be differentiated?

What are your standards for mobile conversion?

Important Addendum: It was made clear to me in an email from Jesper Bylund on this post that I need to clarify two things. First, this post is solely about web-based sites that should be converted for mobile usage.

Second, as we move forward, mobile user experience should be the starting point in building for the web. Keep the content short and sweet, but still make the mobile experience awesome. Then, build up functionality for tablet and desktop. Content should stay concise and easy to use. I think we, as an industry, are still a long way off from shifting to this mindset, but it is important to start considering! I'm sure Jesper and/or I will write a post on this mind-shift soon!

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