June 14, 2008

Tool AIDS Pages for Mobile Web

By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World, Okla.

Jun. 14--Your Web site might be attractive, intuitive and chock-full of information on the average computer.

But when it's viewed on a cell phone or other mobile device, it will look like a mess, said Jeff Beasley, CEO and founder of Tulsa-based Bluefrog Interactive.

"When regular sites are on such a small screen, you have to scroll around in all directions to see everything," he said.

Beasley wants to help people and companies get on the mobile Web, so his company has launched mobiManage, a Web site-building tool designed for creating pages easily viewable on mobile devices.

Though Bluefrog Interactive already develops mobile-oriented sites for businesses, Beasley said mobiManage's suite of basic tools and $25-per-month cost will help smaller entities from law firms to sandwich shops keep up with the growing trend.

"Larger businesses will potentially have more specialized development needs we can help with," he said. "With mobiManage, we want smaller businesses to get the information out to their customers in an affordable way."

Beasley said a Nielsen study of 200 popular sites showed that an average of 12 percent of the traffic came from mobile devices. Yet less than 1 percent of the

Web's over 80 million sites are mobile-friendly.

The Tulsa World automatically directs users on mobile devices to its mobile site, mobile.tulsaworld.com.

In fact, it was the rise of Internet access on cell phones several years ago that inspired Beasley to found a mobile-oriented design firm.

"When mobile devices started becoming Web-enabled, I knew that was where things would be going," he said.

Additionally, familiar domain types such as those ending in com, org and net have recently been joined by dot-mobi, a designation signifying that the site has been optimized for viewing on mobile devices.

Several Tulsa organizations are already hosting or developing mobile Web sites through Bluefrog Interactive, including the Tulsa Metro Chamber, the Tulsa Zoo and the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Beasley said the best mobile sites don't just shrink the size of the page.

"You have to consider your audience and what their potential use will be as they see it on a mobile device," he said.

For example, a zoo site could focus on giving people more information about exhibits they might be standing in front of. Food maker Hormel, for its mobile site, trims away the press releases, corporate information and other facts on its main site to focus on recipes, so people can access them while grocery shopping, Beasley said.

Beasley said users of mobiManage can put together a mobile site within minutes, and can easily add text or change the layout as needs arise.

And he said more and more businesses will soon need a mobile presence.

"With mobile usage growing so rapidly, having a mobile site is quickly going to be as ubiquitous as having a traditional Web site," he said.

Robert Evatt 581-8447 [email protected]


To see more of the Tulsa World, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.tulsaworld.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Tulsa World, Okla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.