How many times do you go to a website on your phone and have to pinch and zoom to find what you need, or end up touching the “view full website” button to exit a substandard mobile site with missing info? It used to be sufficient to create a mobile site that was a more simplified version of your desktop experience, but no more.
Increasingly, people are only or mainly getting online via their mobiles – including those ages 12 to 17. According to the latest Pew Research, 50% of tweens and teens say they mainly use their mobile to access the internet. To put this further into perspective for Kidscreen readers, a recent study by Harris Interactive states 19% of U.S. students in grades four and five use a smartphone, and this jumps to 42% when looking at kids in grades six through eight.
So, what does this mean?
As more kids use mobile, and an increasing number of those only access online through their smartphones, we need to stop thinking that the mobile web is the gateway to a more enriched desktop experience.
Developing a mobile strategy isn’t simply posting your website on a smartphone anymore. Careful consideration needs to be placed into how kids use mobile devices, and how to effectively and cost-efficiently convert gaming experiences into a handheld. Mobile needs to be integrated into your multi-screen experience.
It’s a conversation you need to start soon, if you haven’t already. Work with a consultant or strategist to help create a vision for how to improve your mobile experience for youth, and then get into the room with some web developers and interactive art directors who will have some great ideas on how to put your IP in the hands of your target youth demographic. Note that if you’ve got a large slate of Flash games, it might take a while to make this a reality – but starting the process now will ensure you’re on track as more youth consume the web on mobiles.
Lianne Stewart owns For Your Reading Pleasure, a digital consultancy and online content strategy outfit specializing in interactive for TV and Film. Follow her on twitter @liannestewart or check out her LinkedIn page. If there’s a topic you’d like her to address in Hey, Digital Geek, reach out to her!