Over the last year, much attention has been paid to, and in fact a cottage industry has grown up around, optimizing landing pages for mobile devices. But too often landing pages are not optimized for mobile users, generating frustration and anger rather than conversions.
According to Walker Sands, 12.6% of total website traffic was driven via mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 102% from the year before. As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for product research, web browsing, and on-the-go shopping, it’s key for online brands to rely on landing pages that are not only optimized for mobile devices, but demonstrate relevance to the user as well.
In the past year or so there has been a trend in web design towards the use of scrolling, which can help to engage visitors and provides a feeling of movement and animation.
These web pages are entirely static, and rely on the visitor to interact in order to generate the ‘movement’. Back in the day if you asked for this a developer would reach for Flash, but nowadays HTML5 (which has a <ParallaxScroll> tag), CSS3 and JQuery are usually employed to achieve scrolling effects.
I’ve collected a bunch of scrolling websites that are built with the arrow keys in mind. Some of these are more 'animated' than others, and some scrolling websites feel a little bit clunky, but all of them are interesting and creative web experiences.
I’m not yet convinced that scrolling is something that e-commerce companies should be embracing en masse, but it can certainly be used to support brand and product campaigns, given that the best examples are inherently narrative. Portfolio-based websites (such as the two agency sites I've featured) are another area where scrolling could come into play.
Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, keep those websites scrolling…
While the native versus mobile web apps debate continues to rage, one thing is for sure: mobile browsers are going to get a lot more capable, and that means there will be more development of mobile web apps.
Developers of mobile web apps will face numerous challenges, from performance to monetization. But one challenge stands out perhaps more than the rest: building an app that functions and looks good across multiple devices.
Flash might not be dead, but Adobe is acting like it knows it's past its prime.
Case in point: the company ditched Flash for mobile late last year, and is increasingly hedging its bets with investments in standards-based web technologies like HTML5.
Native mobile apps may still be the best way to deliver mobile applications that provide rich, enjoyable experiences, but there is a place for the mobile web, and in many cases, it is increasingly promising.
Technically, however, many challenges remain. The number of mobile devices and platforms grows by the day, and capabilities often differ significantly.
Last week, Adobe announced that it is abandoning Flash for mobiles and Flash for televisions.
It was a significant announcement that raised a lot of eyebrows, and led
some to question whether the end of Flash is near. One of Apple's
biggest fanboys even went so far as to declare the company's retreat
from mobile Steve Jobs' last triumph.
Adobe is expected to cease development of Flash Player for browsers on mobiles devices.
A blog post from the company outlined plans to focus on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all major app stores.
If designers thought they had it bad having to deal with multiple browsers, the past several years have made it clear: IE6 is a walk in the park.
Today, thanks to the rise of smart phones and tablets, designers are tasked with designing across a wide range of devices, many with different form factors, platform capabilities and hardware profiles.
The future is mobile, so not surprisingly, when it comes to building sites designed for mobile and tablet devices, many companies think of their web experience and mobile/tablet experience as separate entities.
That can be painful and costly, but a result of this could be that companies gain insights that allow them to improve the experiences they create for their users and customers.
HTML5 is coming. For some, it won't come soon enough; for others, there's still skepticism about HTML5's importance.
For front-end developers and designers who are tasked with building websites, HTML5 will eventually almost certainly have a significant impact on the process of turning ideas and designs into functional web pages.
I can’t wait until
2023. The HTML5 specification will finally be complete and all browser-makers
will know precisely what it is and it can be uniformly implemented.
Until then, things are going to be a little… rocky.