According to an article on the BBC news site today, usage of the Internet through mobile devices (phones, pda's etc.) is on the rise.
So, what does this mean for website owners?
Well, for one it means that the quality of your website will have to be top notch. In order to guarantee that your website works well on any device and not just the many versions of Internet Explorer. This is something we've been advocating for years and endeavour to achieve as much as possible whilst we meet our clients requirements for their sites.
For another it means that your site audience demographic will be changing, mobile Internet users are in general younger than the traditional PC/mac/Linux user and being mobile, require that the content they see is speedy, on point and easy to navigate.
Simply hoping that mobile browser technology will cope with your website is not enough. To get the best out of your site on mobile devices, you have to make sure that it is standards compliant and accessible.
"But isn't all that just for users with disabilities?" I hear you cry.
Well, the short answer is No....
The long answer is a bit more involved and starts with a better definition of what accessible websites are, and are not.
Accessible websites are not websites that offer features to enable disabled users to access them. An accessible website should be and is more generic than that. Accessible websites then, are sites that allow any user from any location to access them from any device by providing a solid, pleasant experience regardless of the user agent (browser) technology involved.
Accessibility and standards compliance therefore are the twin pillars of modern day web surfing and although development times and costs are often said to be higher than "traditional" web development, this is simply not the case. In fact, we've found that by adopting and sticking to standards has meant that our web development process is faster, less error prone and provides greater flexibility for both ourselves as developers and for our clients as users and site managers.
The New Media CMS is built from the ground up to provide standards compliant websites that are both flexible and accessible. We are able to build sites that can take into account specialist features of particular types of user agents including mobile devices and the sites are built on a framework that enables users rather than getting in their way.
By using the best of the latest technologies whilst keeping to the standards allows the New Media CMS to provide features that allow for site content to be re-used in many forms be it as a content for a web page, RSS feed or as a trimmed down version suitable for mobile devices.
So if you have a website already, what can you do to maximise your market share of the mobile Internet in the UK? A good start would be to get your site validated according to the standards, make sure it is compliant and if not, fix it up. Once you get the foundations right, the rest will follow.