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Making mobile site redirect work for online visitors

By Lee Zoumas

Each day, more people rely on their mobile devices as the main source of information from the Internet.

This widespread reliance means that businesses need to have a strategy in place that best deals with the appropriate delivery of Web-based mobile content to their audience.

The inability to recognize how mobile devices are interacting with your Web site can result in reduced conversions and end-user frustration.

Failure to launch
One of the main vehicles for a mobile user to ultimately arrive at a site is by clicking on a link from an email, which then delivers the user to that page in a mobile browser.

A few days ago, I clicked on a link from an email marketing campaign and ended up with a less-than-satisfying user experience. I received an email newsletter which contained several links to brand?s corresponding article on the main site.

When I clicked on a link, instead of being delivered to the actual article, I was erroneously delivered to the homepage of the company?s mobile site.

I thought there was possibly some kind of error with that particular link, so I tried a few others and I was always being driven to the mobile site?s homepage.

It seems that the main site had a mobile detection script that would identify what type of device was making the request. If it was a mobile device, it would direct the user to its mobile site.

The problem is that the detection script was on every page of the main site and did not take into consideration the fact that I wanted to read content that was on its main site and not the mobile site.

So, while the company?s intentions were to allow mobile users to view its mobile site, it mistakenly delivered me to a destination that I had not intended.

Typically, mobile sites are a stripped-down version of a site that only displays crucial information such as a company?s location, contact information or main service offerings.

That being said, there is never a one-to-one relationship with mobile pages to main site pages ? rather they are separate entities altogether.

Post script
There is not an easily attainable catch-all rule that a company can implement into its site that displays a mobile version of every single page of the main site. Although, that would be ideal, it just is not so.
The solution to this problem should be approached simplistically.

Most, if not all, sites have some sort of template or shared include files to make the site easier to maintain.

The most basic, but far from ideal solution, is to add a script to the template or an include file that will redirect all mobile traffic to the mobile site?s homepage as described above.

A better solution is to just have the homepage of the main site redirect to the homepage of the mobile site. That way, users will at least be able to see the content that they originally requested.

Of course, the downside is that users will be viewing most of the content in a format not ideal for their device.

The most optimal solution is to add the script to all pages via a template or an-include file. Rather than redirect all requests to the mobile site?s homepage, only redirect the pages that have an equivalent mobile version.

This can be somewhat painstaking, depending on the number of pages you have. But this solution will ensure that the user is delivered to the most relevant version of content for their specific device.

Lee Zoumas is manager of design and development at MoreVisibility, Boca Raton, FL. Reach him at .