Ling Valentine: When responsive sites work as well as a chocolate iPhone

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Ling Valentine was speaking at Handheld Conference about her website, these are my notes from his talk.

A mobile phone is not a tardis - you can't squeeze a desktop site into a phone.  I can't fit my award winning website into a small space, I put lots of content on my site - it won't fit onto a phone.  With less information to fit on a site so it fits on a phone there is less information for people to make a decision.   Buying a car is one of the biggest buying decisons people will make - could be a three year commitment - not like buying a book on Amazon.   People won't just add a Mercedes SLK to their shopping chart and check out.  You can't squeeze enough information to make a buying decision on to a phone.

Bandwidth is an issue, if your message is simple then you don't need much but if you want lots of interactive content then that takes a lot of bandwidth.  It's impossible to navigate properly on a phone, you also can't fill in a form on a mobile.  Call to action is often hidden on car dealers' websites because people rely on showrooms - I don't have a showroom, only a website, and I still sell cars.

Mobile is just the hook to get people onto your website.  More people are using smartphones so you have to cater for them.  You can do a lot of things to build trust using a mobile website.  Make a site that people want to share - mobiles are used in a social situation, desktops are not.  Mobiles are used in changing rooms!  Squeezing websites onto mobiles leads to boring sites.

My mobile site creates a fight or flight reaction - if people click on the button then I have won.  Who is going to buy a car on a mobile?  Mobile site offers a free car - a papercraft model PDF that is emailed to them which reminds them to go to the desktop site when they are on a desktop.  There's a link to the desktop site but who wants to use that on a mobile?  Have a car zen quiz that asks stupid questions that suggests a car for you and has lots of car facts - people have interacted and will hopefully share and then go to the desktop site.  Then there are some top car deals, a small selection of the thousands of cars on the desktop site.  Finally there is a stupid game to play - you drive my nuclear missile truck to pick up points.  After playing the games Ling's car is in their brains - they have twittered about it - and hopefully they will go to the desktop site.

If you think I'm losing out because people can't spend money on their phones then my sales figures are still pretty good!  Don't ask people to make a decision on their phones because they are in the pub or in the sausage roll queue in Greggs. 

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