Case Studies

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Very recently a minister in India went public with his ideas on the censorship of social networking websites like Facebook and Google. Needless to say that his preposterous idea was rebuked everywhere, even by the members of his own ruling alliance. It was interesting to note how the media covered the news and published scathing reports about the wild idea of the minister in question and his non-conforming behaviours of the past.

The question arises – Why did the regular media i.e. print and electronic media houses react with such concern and against the censorship of social networking websites on Internet? Such practice of censorship in whatever limited or effective forms does exist in few authoritarian countries of the world.

History of mankind is full of various ways and means adopted by political leaders through the times to address the masses to achieve their desired political goals. Control of media especially the print, recordings, radio, television and cinema by the political masters is very well known.

Very desire to censor the contents of any form of communication medium is the de-facto recognition of the mass communication reach and powers of the medium.

For simplicity sake let us list down the present mass communication media.

  1. Print Media
  2. Recordings
  3. Cinema
  4. Radio
  5. Television
  6. Internet
    &  now,
  7. Mobile

Some disagree to ¨Mobile¨ being listed as a mass communication medium. Some  consider it as just a tool to access the Internet only. Here we look at why should the ¨mobile¨ be considered as a form of mass media in its own right.

Let us examine an example, when radio was very much an established form of mass media, the introduction of television though being a similar electronic broadcast medium brought in a new media all together for a simple reason, it carried live pictures of the event being broadcast. In simpler terms, television was doing something which radio could not due to the very character of the medium.

On similar lines, mobile form of Internet access has specific characteristics which sets it apart from regular non-mobile Internet access. Further, the mobile / smart phones have characteristics which sets it apart from regular desktop computers.

A user on a regular desktop computer interacts with Internet using monitor, keyboard and mouse where keyboard and mouse being the inputs.

A mobile user interacts with the Internet with many more inputs – touchscreen, camera, barcode scanner, microphone, motion sensor, keypad, location input (GPS / Network).

Availability of a plethora of input interfaces on the mobile phones defines a character of the Internet access over mobile phones much different from a desktop computer.

How does it really differ?

  1. Mobile phones being mobile are carried around
  2. Connectivity to network – Internet is (mostly) always ON.
  3. Authenticated payment modes are built-in due to service providers.
  4. Users make use of the medium at their will or impulse.
  5. Communication is most effective due to very reliable audience information.
  6. Location and social context of the user is captured (if sensors are enabled).
  7. Serves as maybe the only personal mass communication medium.

A mobile user out on the street and while on move clicks a picture of a live event and uploads it in real time and mass publishes to viewers and tweets and mass communicates about it while still moving. While a static desktop computer Internet user´s activity is limited to the four walls.

Maybe the earlier mentioned minister known for his unrealistic assumptions had assumed that Internet users exist on a few regular desktop computers alone and can be regulated through some bureaucratic means. The presence of many many many more users of mobile phone based Internet may not have occurred to him.

The ever growing adoption of Internet enabled smart/mobile phones makes the concept of personal mass communication medium so strong that intelligent users and the media houses found the idea of censor of social networking sites on Internet as absurd and idiotic.

Millions of mobile phone Internet users tweeting on tweeter and posting, commenting, sharing and liking on facebook is beyond conventional censorship of mass mediums. At best the complete mobile Internet connectivity has to be blocked / switched off. Such scenarios do exist in few authoritarian societies alone where even SMS is blocked.

Mobile websites serves this new world wide mass communication media and much differently than conventional websites for desktop Internet. This requires a completely different thought on how to build websites for mobile access. The much practised offerings of optimizing existing websites to suit the small screens of mobile phones is far removed from the reality of mobile specific and mobile only websites.

Mobile websites is destined to bring about a revolution in the mass communication media.

 

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Advent of high speed wireless data networks and powerful hand held devices with computing resources matching those of a early 2000’s desktop has made the Internet omni-present. One can be anywhere and still be on the Internet, as long as the wireless services are available in the area and the device battery has the juice to deliver the mobile Internet experience. How do the classic and new modes differ?

Read more on Mobility and Internet : Changes in User Behaviour…

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Microsoft Tag recently attempted to sum up this constantly changing space with a single infographic.

Here’s the summary: The mobile market is large; local searches, games, and YouTube are all doing well on Mobile; and socializing is the most prominent use of the mobile Internet. See the full infographic below.

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Task Management SoftwareEbizindia has launched a new software for task management and we have launched the mobile website for this. A1Tasks is a low cost but very powerful task management software and boasts of being the simplest software in the world. The low cost (currently $9.97 but will be increased to $17 soon) comes as a huge surprise because the full source code for the software is included in the package.

The software is sold through Clickbank and you can place your order right from your smartphone because Clickbank has a mobile optimized order and payment screen.

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I have another mobile website case study for you today. This site belongs to Rancelab, a retail software vendor who markets retail POS software as well as a restaurant software.

This is a slightly more ambitionus site and delivers information about the different modules of the POS software like barcoding the inventory, financial sections, CRM and like. Similary it highlights the special features of its restaurant software that make the outlet owner provide better service to the customers with lower efforts.

POS hardware like barcode scanner, barcode printers, cash drawer, consumables etc are also featured on the site for direct purchase.

The usual ‘auto-detect device and redirect to the mobile version’ are implemented on the main site. We have also included the touch-to-call facility on every page. They got a new phone number for this site to be able to track the calls coming from the mobile website.

The site features a compact contact form as a lead generator and has contact information for those wanting to get in touch through other means. However it skips the download facility as they are not expecting people to download the software from their mobile phones.

All in all, a crisp mobile site, fast loading with heavy usage of text and sharp graphics.

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Craigentinny Dental Practice Edinburgh realised the need for reaching out to its clients and patients who are searching for relevant information from their mobile phones and launched their mobile website recently.

They included the key information that ‘people on the move’ might be looking for including the opening hours, contact information, location map and main services on offer. All of this in a compact, easy to use mobile website that is touch friendly to the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and like.

The site is also equally easy to use from other smartphones like Blackberry, Nokia, Samsung and others which have a mouse and non-touch screen. As you can see, they have included large functional buttons that can be clicked with a mouse or touched to open up the relevant section.

The eye-candy images are moved below so that only those interested in taking an overall look get to see them and people looking for information can move to the needed section quickly.

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Realtors need to offer a matching property as per the client’s needs – quick and just when they are looking for it. A mobile website can be a great solution for this challenge. Here is how:

More and more people are now searching for information on the Internet as compared to the yellow pages and other sources. The Internet is going mobile and people are are now able to access the Internet from their mobile phones, even when they are out and about.

When they need to buy a property, they search for a good deal in their desired neighborhood. There may be many criteria like location, budget and facilities like number of rooms. They will like to be able to see basic information about a property they short-list. It should be possible to call the realtor for getting more detailed information and to fix up an appointment for inspection.

A mobile website can serve these functions very well. There are many ways these sites can get their listings.

1. They can pick up a MLS feed and populate their website from the feed.
2. The staff may like to enter the details of the properties they manage through a back-end system.
3. They may directly create static pages without bothering about the technicalities for a small number of properties.
4. There may be touch-to-call buttons which will help the clients call them easily.

Having a mobile friendly website in addition to the regular desktop website can really help real estate dealers address a much large market and clinch more deals in a highly competitive market.

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Clinics need a website to inform the patients about the facilities offered in the clinic, doctors available, open timings and other related information. Say, you plan to visit a clinic to consult a specialist. Now there are a few questions in your mind:

  1. Who are the consultants available in this particular specialization?
  2. When are they available?
  3. How do I take an appointment? Call them or online?
  4. I want to call them. What are their contact numbers?
  5. I need driving directions. Help!
  6. Can I get parking at the site? Is valet parking available? Do I need to park somewhere nearby at a public parking lot?
  7. What results have the past clients achieved?

Unless the clinic website offers these information, the clients are going to have a tough time. They may even choose another clinic over yours if they get the questions answered nicely at their website. Thus it becomes quite critical for the clinics to have a good website.

These websites are going to be used by lay people to a great extent and therefore ease of use and conveninece of locating the required information is very vital. It would be great if there were a contact form using which people can get answers to their non-standard queries also. Another important addition will be a Frequently Asked Questions section that is regularly updated based on the questions the reception receives.

With a large number of people now accessing the Internet from their mobile phones, time has come when these clinics should also consider getting a mobile website developed to serve the clients better and to help the people visiting the website while they are on the move.

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Safestyle UK is a leading double glazing and uPVC doors company in Britain. We recently developed their mobile website to target the increasing number of people searching for products with their mobile phones. This mobile website mainly focussed on providing the key benefit statement and showcase their entire product range along with the current offer.

Every page has a strong call-to-action that drives the interested visitors to a page where they can request a FREE quote. The design of the different pages has been deliberately kept simple to highlight the functionality.

The statistics show that the mobile version is already drawing almost 5% of the visitors and is generating a healthy number of leads daily – clearly demonstrating that UK based users have adopted the mobiles quite extensively.

You can visit the mobile site by typing www.safestyle-windows.co.uk (you will be redirected to the mobile version automatically) on your phone. You can also scan the QR code on the right if you have a bar code scanner software installed.

If you are thinking of getting a compact and efficient mobile website or web application for mobile access, designed for your business, drop over here. You can rest assured of a professional and responsive service.

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I was at the Nasscom Emergeout conference on 25th August and loved to see the fantastic momentum that is building for the mobile Internet. Almost everyone was of the opinion that people are gravitating towards the mobile as the access device of choice to locate information and do different things that they need to do for business or pleasure.
This is in tune with my expectations. As I say it: “The mobile phone is the accessory that you take to the bedroom as well as the boardroom.” It is only logical that we will like to access information with the mobiles so that we can adapt our working and get habituated in operating a single device all the time.
A few important issues that fuel the growth of mobiles are:
  1. It can handle our voice call (cheap local traffic directly and international through VOIP).
  2. It can handle our text communication (SMS and emails).
  3. It has an in-built camera (for most of the handsets, may vary in resolution and features).
  4. It has an in-built browser (the usage convenience is proportional to teh screen size and data speed though).
  5. A large number of apps allowing you to handle different tasks, are already available and more are launched everyday.
  6. There is more than 5 times penetration of the mobiles as compared to the computers. I think we can bypass the computers and stick to mobile phones for automation in the rural areas where the users need to be updated about education, healthcare, government facilities and like. They are free to use computers when doing complex computational jobs like designing or database work in the offices.
I just carried my mobile phone on this Delhi trip. Never missed my laptop there. And I could even demonstrate the portfolio of the webiles (mobile websites that we are developing) to some prospects and friends.
While on this topic, I am happy to announce a very special 50% discount on a mobile website (regular price £200 or Rs 14000) for the Emerge 50 winners and 25% discount to all attendees. Please email me to avail of this fantastic opportunity to unlock the vast market that is opening up, for generating new business leads.