There was a brief discussion centred around mobile access to websites at one of yesterday’s Mobile Web West Africa sessions. Tunde Kehinde of Jumia has mentioned that mobile access to his company’s e-commerce site was at around 25% but that he envisaged that mobile usage would grow as the user interface was made richer for mobile.
I gingered things up by saying that I agreed and that website owners needed to focus on mobile first, especially in an environment like Nigeria where mobile is the first medium of accessing the internet for a lot of people. In some cases, it is the only medium.
Felix Erken, who runs Junk Mail Nigeria and has extensive experience along these lines responded that while the need to create richer interfaces was there, the whole idea is to keep things simple on mobile. His comment triggered a thought to me. It actually is possible that when a developer hears “richer”, he thinks of advanced functionality, when in reality, richer for mobile is more or less about simplicity. Similar functionality, if possible, but made simpler.
This is the very policy that we have implemented here on Mobility, keeping things simple for mobile users. There is no way around it if we want the site accessible to as many people on mobile as possible. I took the Junk Mail site too for a spin on my smartphone just to see how things have been implemented there, and came up with pretty much the same thing – a simple, but functional mobile-friendly website.
Simple and rich do not necessarily have to be at loggerheads. Simple can also be pleasant and elegant. If you are developing or adapting a website for mobile, you cannot go wrong by keeping things simple.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.