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bMobilized: Saviour of the Mobile Web or a Quick-Fix Solution?
Image credit: iceviking, via sxc.hu
In 1965, Jackie DeShannon declared that what the world needed now was love, sweet love. Whilst we’re not ones to question the role and importance of love in society, we’d argue what the world needs now is every website to be properly optimised for use on mobile devices. Doesn’t have quite the same romantic ring to it does it?
Nevertheless, with the amount of users accessing the web through mobile devices skyrocketing, it is a bit irksome that some major players don’t seem to be too bothered about making their sites mobile-friendly.
Designing a mobile site from scratch or optimising an existing site to be more responsive can be a long and laborious process, and in our fast food ‘I want everything as soon as possible’ culture, ‘laborious’ isn’t a word people want to hear. With this in mind, there has been a bit of an explosion in quick-fix mobile website optimisers, the latest of which is bMobilized.
Targeting small-to-medium businesses, services like bMobilized and the Google-backed Duda Mobile are the technological equivalent of one of Gok Wan’s many television vehicles (seriously, how many times can you dress up one idea?) – take an ugly desktop site and transform it into a mobile-friendly, easy-on-the-eye stunner, all within the space of an hour. Unconfident SMB’s of the world rejoice!
On the face of it, it’s hard to pick faults with the service these companies offer. As well as taking a plain old desktop site and turning it into an HTML5-enabled mobile site, bMobilized uses over 300 algorithms in what it calls its Automatic Content Identification technology to decipher which content and branding elements are most important to the site. It also automatically syncs the main site and the mobile site, meaning that content is seamlessly updated on both platforms.
There are also plenty of customisation options for users and the chance to install ‘click to call’ and sharing buttons. For site owners with no experience in web design and who are bit terrified of the prospect of designing or optimising for mobile, this is a godsend. Furthermore, Google are fully behind the technology, launching its GoMo campaign (which chiefly throws its weight behind Duda Mobile) last year.
However…I don’t know about you, but the idea of one-click mobile web design seems like a bit of a ying and yang scenario. On the one hand, it’ll encourage people to go mobile and hopefully put paid to some of the awful scrolling-and-zooming experiences a lot of websites are still guilty of. On the other hand, I can’t help but think it may lead to a ‘generalised’ mobile web experience. By that I mean websites will follow a rigid template, which is obviously great for usability but could, in my eyes, stifle the more creative and artistic aspects of designing a site.
Maybe we’re a bit biased, but a fluid, responsive design tailored towards offering users the best of the desktop version whilst not compromising too heavily on design seems like the best way forward. Or even building a mobile site from scratch so you can ensure you’re giving your users a mobile experience unique to your brand.
It’s also hard not to shake the feeling that for the $5 a month people will pay for bMobilized to host their site could be better invested in getting a mobile site built properly. Sure, it may take a little longer but I think the long term benefits outweigh the short-term costs. Besides, the amount you spend on monthly fees will probably amount to more than you would invest in a proper mobile project anyway.
It’s an interesting debate, and one that’s bound to get more heated as the need for companies to go mobile becomes ever more urgent. What’s your opinion? Are services like bMobilized a great solution to a mounting problem, or just a quick fix? Let us know in the comments.