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Thread: Business Owners - Your take on mobile?

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Business Owners - Your take on mobile?

    As a fellow business owner as well as a web designer, I would like to know from other small-medium business owners what your views are on all things mobile?

    The online trend in the US is rapidly moving towards mobile compatibility. I'm constantly hearing terms such as "Responsive web design" and "fluid width websites" together with predictions along the lines of "20% of all searches in 2012 will be done via mobile devices".

    My question to you is do you view "mobile" as something which is of extreme importance in South Africa? We know it's huge overseas. Do you think it is worth redeveloping or adjusting your websites to ensure that they are responsive and can adapt to different devices? For example, our website looks great on a PC and even on a tablet, but when viewed on my Blackberry it looks horrid. To rectify this, we would have to create a different version of our website which is optimized for display on phones. This is something we are going to do anyway, but I would like to know whether you would have it done for your business?

    The reason I ask is that I think South Africa may be trending towards mobile even more so than the US. More people have access to smartphones than computers in South Africa. We are looking to introduce a "mobile website" development service in the new year. I'm just trying to gauge whether South African business owners are actually interested in that sort of service or whether we're wasting our time.

    Do you have a smartphone or a tablet? Do you use them to Search or find services on the net? Do you expect your customers would attempt to find the products or service that you offer via searching on a mobile device?

    Discuss.
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    tec0 (16-Dec-11)

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    To answer your question YES, mobile phones is extremely important for the future of almost any business. I say this because South Africa is a heavy consumer of mobile devices. It is the one thing no one can be without anymore.

    More so taking in to account the mobility factor of the device itself. Now in normal first world countries they have free news networks, and internet is cheap. In South Africa a mobile device IS some people’s only link to news, general information and shop searching. To make your page mobile friendly is probably a very good idea.

    Ease of access to information is what the internet is about. The mobile device is now the directly the link to that info. So I think it will benefit both you and the customer.

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    Mark Atkinson (16-Dec-11)

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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Create a site "Hell of a Curry" and go into competition with "Kalahari" before they realise the mobile market is the future.
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Mark it is a trend worth watching, have you set up your store for mobile yet?
    My gut feel is people will spend more on a phone when shopping compared to a computer.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Over the past 5 years I've seen more and more businesses go the online route, those that have been slow to get online with pretty websites have not had as much growth.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    The mobile market is the most important market in the worlds and this country. There are more cellphones than people in the country, kids spend their lives on their mobiles interacting via MxIt & Blackberry. They even talk via these services during break time - They video themselves and pass the videos around amogst their friends (no not those videos, the gilrs like to act ad take photographs of each other like on Facebook) I think that Android is the way of the future. If Google were to create a cost effective Blackberry / MxIt service that they could putentially become the Microsoft of mobile. I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 The machine is the most useful, stunning bit of equipment that I own. It goes where I go. I don't play games on it and just use it for business. I have about 5 free apps that I use all the time and I have purchased one or two. The application development environment is great and more importantly free. Everything you could do dream of doing using the operating system is well documented and there are numerous example projects available. And my girls think that the rear facing camera is just to wonderful. Being able to see themselves on a big screen and being able to take video anywhere and upload it is just the thing to do.

    The problem with the mobile market is the diversity of equipment and operating systems. The average company is unable to develop apps for all the different phones. Of course the best is to create "in the cloud" apps. Another aspect that I love about the tablet machines is that I connect via WiFi at home or wherever and being able to fall back to 3G when WiFi is not available. I have permanent on-home page open links to my favourite websites.

    We must keep the level of sophistication or the average South African user in mind, but still, if you look at the number of rubbish things downloaded like ringtones, porn etc, there has to be a market otherwise there simply wouldn't be so much advertising for it.

    I personally rebel against Apple and Blackberry. I do not like to get locked into huge corporates who hold on to all aspects of a market. This is what I love about Android, you can develop whatever you want, give it away or sell it. The market dictates the succes of the product.

    Now here is a sideways application: As you all probably know by now I am heavily involved in model railroading. There is a brilliant open source PC based application available to control the trains....but somebody has written, and give away for free, an application that turns an Android phone or tablet into a train remote control using WiFi. There is absolutely no reason why devices such as TV's, Hi Fi's, alarm systems etc cant be controlled via a tablet connected onto a WiFi network. Of course you could also get access to IP cameras and have the alarm system alert you if something happens and stream video to the tablet (just think about it - your own in-house Cheaters feed if you think the pool man is a bit too tanned and hansome...)

    So Mark, as you can see, I am absolutely crazy about the mobile market, tablets and the Android operating system. My next phone will be a Galaxy Plus, Note or SII.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Mobile isn't a coming wave - it is the current wave.
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    tec0 (17-Dec-11)

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    It a great question.

    Personally, I will never go online using my phone (I had my last phone for about 6 years, had a black and white screen and I only got my new phone 3 months ago because the alarm clock stopped working!) - why use a phone when I have a computer with it's larger screen and keyboard.

    That said a large percentage of SA only have a phone...so yes, quite important, but for me I would only look at it once I've set up a few other things,add words, facebook marketing and email newsletters would be higher up in my to do list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Mobile isn't a coming wave - it is the current wave.
    Getting into the mobile arena now is alot harder than if you started out getting into when it was coming
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    What is the recommended way of making your site mobile friendly. I see mobile data is getting cheaper so first step is a mobi site!
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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