Thoughts on MobiThinking’s ‘Best of the Mobile Web’

It was great to get some more recognition for what the team I work in is doing here:

http://mobithinking.com/white-papers/best-and-worst-of-the-mobile-web

Of course, we normally promote our services as bbc.co.uk/mobile – but, MobiThinking are advocates of the .mobi domain, so not really surprising they called us bbc.mobi.  Anyway, praise is always welcome.

Here’s some more information about it (and an interview with the boss!).

Other than being appreciative for the praise they’ve given the site I work on, this report is interesting because because it names great examples and poor examples on the mobile web. So, I decided to take a look at what they thought was some of the best of the rest to see what I thought and look for some inspiration.  I haven’t gone through all of them here – there are alot – but these were some that I really admired and that gave me something to think about.

‘Make Sure It Actually Works': Winner: ESPN: http://www.espn.mobi

Sport is one of the most popular things the BBC does on mobile and I think we’re lucky we’re not in direct competition with ESPN’s site on this front.  The site is incredibly user friendly AND its content is increidbly deep – not an easy balance to get right on mobile.  There’s an incredible amount of linking throuhout the content, which makes player profiles, stats of all sorts, etc easy to access.

‘Solve a Real Problem': Winners: http://www.nwa.mobi and http://google.mobi (maps)

Simplicity, and doing something useful is key on the mobile web  – users tend to be incredibly task oriented and don’t want much interuption and both of these do this.  NWA’s site (for an american airline – not the band NWA!) is deceptively simple and straightforward looking considering how much fucntionality it provides.

‘Maintain Laser Focus': Winner: http://www.fidelity.mobi and http://www.obamamobile.mobi

When I first saw this category name, I thought I’d missed the boat on the memo about how to turn your mobile into a laser gun.  While the little boy inside me was disappointed, I was happy to see that it was talking about highly targetted services with one mission at their heart.

I talk to alot of web producers who are used to working to create deep, rich experiences on the web, with an unlimited canvas to work on, where users have the luxury of time and space and the comfort of their home or office to explore sites.  The opposite is true on mobile – when you’re standing in the rain (hey, this IS London) trying to find that one tiny piece of information you need, the last thing you want to do is explore or browse one page more than you need to.  Fidelity clearly provides this for its busy banker target audience.  ‘Do one thing and do it well.  Don’t try to do everything you can do on the ‘full-fat’ web.’ is something I tell people frequently.

Content is King… but in small bites : Winner: http://mobile.nytimes.com

I’ve always loved The New York Times and just about everything about it and their mobile site is no exception.  Simple and elegant, its got some great features others should envy.  Pagination that works really well for mobile users, send to another mobile feature (US only, sadly),  resized graphics and photos (which most sites strip out), and some podcasts that really serve mobile user needs.  Some of their navigation is clunky, but the site is so slick it hardly matters.

3 responses to “Thoughts on MobiThinking’s ‘Best of the Mobile Web’

  1. Hi, i must admit i thought mtld chose some strange choices. For example the bbc, and ebay, just because they were big. Here’s some other big sites gone mobile and using .mobi

    http://mobisite.org/famousbrands.html

    One question? Why don’t the bbc just give you a mobile site, rather than telling you to go to an awkwardly long url or ask for money by texting? Don’t get me wrong, i love the beeb, but they need to get a little more funky

    • You should just get the BBC’s mobile site if you enter bbc.co.uk/mobile into your phone – and some phones will redirect to that automatically. If you’re having trouble send me a message.

      As for texting in, we find these shortcodes (eg 81010) are a good way to introduce people who don’t use the mobile web to it. They’re always operated at the lowest cost possible and we dont’ make ANY money off of what’s charged – the costs go to your network operator and cover the cost of texting a link back to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s