Features for Mobile Site
According to Carsten Frien the CEO of Madvertise ,leading mobile advertising network, mobile sites are at the core of the mobile marketing strategy for any company. However, before designing a mobile site it is important to clearly define the objectives that the company wants to gain through its mobile site. The presentation and the features of the mobi version should therefore serve the corporate goal they want to achieve through this medium.
There are certain features that are considered important for the mobile version of a website as these devices have some limitation as compared to computers. Just as the mobile or handheld devices have some functionality limitations, similarly the reasons a user might access a site from his mobile are also different. Considering these inherent differences it is important that a mobile site fulfils following basic features and functionality requirements:
Usability: A mobile site design should be simple enough that a user can easily locate the required information in as fewer clicks as possible.
Locate & Direct: Several users who access a mobile site need to locate that company’s business centres or dealers etc. Thus it must provide accurate and easy directions for the user.
Synchronization: The information and other details on both versions should be kept updated. The mobile version of the website should have a link to access the complete website if the user wants to access some specific information.
Analysis of BMW mobile site
BMW is one of the most innovative companies around the world. Thus fulfilling the demands for their customers they had to set up a light weight version for their website usable for the mobile or PDA users. As Carsten Frien states that the automobile industry is the most active user if the mobile based marketing and promotion and these companies have brought in some very innovative ideas for the mobile sites.
The mobi site for BMW was set up back in 2006 and was a result of the consumer demands. Without much promotion or marketing of the mobi site it managed to attract almost 3 million visitors in the first year. Since then the mobi site has been very popular among the BMW customers as well as the fans. Marc Mielau the manager for mobile marketing at BMW states that the mobi site could have been very interactive and full of media but the focus of the mobi version is to offer a platform for all future mobile campaigns for the company and to act as the landing page for the mobile users interacting with mobile ad campaigns.
The focus of the company is clearly visible from the site design and layout as it provides space for banners for mobile ad campaigns and can be easily integrated with any such campaign. Currently, the page full fills the basic requirements of providing all relevant information a user might want in an easy and quick way. Though as Marc Mielau ,the mobile marketing manager of the company intends to utilize the mobi site as the landing for every mobile marketing campaign they launch, it is serving the purpose effectively.
The following section presents a brief analysis of the mobi site based on the features and the requirements discussed in the previous section:
The figure 1 shows the homepage for the mobi site version. The figure shows that the design is neat and easy to be loaded considering the bandwidth limitations on a handheld. A simpler design also ensures that the page will behave in similar way across the different versions and designs of the mobiles and PDAs.
Navigation & Layout
Figure 2 shows the navigation menu on the mobi version. The mobi version focuses on keeping the navigation simple and providing the information in a single click. All the options that the site offers are visible on the main landing page in a linear fashion rather then through drop downs. The content on the screen is also strictly linear and less as compared to usual homepages of websites. This makes it easy for the mobile users to locate and access the required information even while driving.
The most important requirement of any mobi site is the level of functionality provided for the user. In terms of functionality the BMW mobi site offers all the basic functions that are mostly accessed by the general visitors as well as the company customers. The mobi site offers the configuration of vehicles right through the mobile screen including 3600 views and rendered images of the vehicles with different selections.
The site also offers to download videos, wall papers and ringtones that are most wanted by the general fans of the industry or the company. Additionally the mobi site offers to locate the nearest dealers through GPS application or by manually selecting the location.
The best feature of the mobi site is the organization of the content. The site offers information on all the basic and advance features and functionalities of the BMW vehicles. This information is managed in a very simple way ensuring that the information is on the fingertips with just one click, a basic requirement of a mobi site.
There are various competitors for the company yet Mercedes Benz is among the strongest and closest competitor of the company. Mercedes Benz has recently enhanced its mobi version for creating a better experience for its mobile users. The Mercedes benz mobi site aims to provide more sales oriented decision through videos, high resolution images and textual content for making informed decisions. Though most of the functionality is comparable and similar among the two sites but the major difference lies in the objective of the mobi site. BMW mobi site presents a clear and quick medium for information access, considering varying features of different hand held’s or PDAs while the mobi site of Mercedes Benz provides the information with a touch of experience that is mostly appreciated through the more sophisticated devices or touch pads. Though BMW has also launched high resolution videos and demos for its marketing campaigns and have a downloadable collection but the overall experience is with the intention of one design to fit all devices.
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