Internet in the Palm of Your Hand - A Guide to Mobile Websites and Applications

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This presentation gives a general overview of the state of the mobile website/app space in late 2009 as it relates to the Amusement Industry; numerous examples from small and large parks are included.

This presentation gives a general overview of the state of the mobile website/app space in late 2009 as it relates to the Amusement Industry; numerous examples from small and large parks are included.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. Computing Through the Ages
  • 3. Computing Through the Ages
  • 4. Computing Through the Ages
  • 5. Computing Through the Ages
  • 6. Computing Through the Ages
  • 7. Computing Through the Ages
  • 8. Roadmap
    • What is the mobile Internet?
    • Who is using it?
    • Why invest in mobile?
    • All about mobile applications
    • Releasing your application to the world
    • The Mobile Ecosystem
  • 9. What is the Mobile Internet?
    • Most basic definition: accessing the Internet via a handheld, mobile device
    • Evolution of a connected society
      • Innovative ways of viewing existing information
      • Exploring new features based upon device capabilities
  • 10. What is the Mobile Internet?
    • Just like the desktop computer market, there is a myriad of phones and other mobile devices available.
    • Newer technology is making devices more powerful and more miniature
    • The networks we’re connecting to are becoming increasingly faster (2G / 3G / 4G)
  • 11. Who is Using It?
    • Demographics
  • 12. Who is Using It?
    • Geographic
  • 13. Who is Using It?
    • Device metrics
  • 14. Why Invest in Mobile?
    • “ Everybody’s doing it!”
    • A basic mobile website may be a minor financial investment
    • Expenses incurred when developing feature-rich websites or device-specific applications
  • 15. All About Applications
    • An application is simply a program or website that accomplishes a task.
    • Mobile Website Applications:
      • Written in HTML
      • Can be viewed in most web browsers
    • Device-native Applications:
      • Created specifically for a device (or family of devices)
      • Written in various languages
      • Not portable between devices
  • 16. All About Applications
    • Device-native Application example:
      • Hunterian Museum
  • 17. Creating Mobile Websites
    • Factors to consider:
      • Device accessibility, “lowest common denominator” approach
      • “ One web” mentality, where content is consistent regardless of presentation
      • Difficulty in building the site
      • Financial investment
  • 18. Creating Mobile Websites
    • Status Quo – do nothing
  • 19. Creating Mobile Websites
    • Mobile Stylesheets
  • 20. Creating Mobile Websites
    • Resize images, repackage content
  • 21. Creating Mobile Websites
    • Redesign for mobile devices
  • 22. Redesigning for Mobile
    • Primary goal is to enhance the user experience.
      • Different needs based upon location
      • Technical limitations
        • Smaller screens and resolutions
        • Input issues – harder to type
      • Purpose
        • Marketing vs. utility
  • 23. Redesigning for Mobile
    • Before designing, conduct a user needs assessment
      • No one understands your users better than they do.
    • Survey random population
      • Ask what features they’d like to see
      • Query what problems exist with current situation
      • Gather data about device capabilities
  • 24. Redesigning for Mobile
    • Think about the site from a task-oriented perspective
    • Begin planning what content and features to include, how to organize
      • Simplified, limited navigation
    • Consider two classes of users:
      • People not at your facility
      • People currently visiting
  • 25. Mobile Website Content
    • Hours of Operation
      • SeaWorld Orlando
        • Easy to navigate
        • Text-based, not relying on graphical calendar
        • Highlights today’s hours
  • 26. Mobile Website Content
    • Admission Prices
      • Thorpe Park
        • Make it easy to see all major ticket options, including season passes, waterparks and extra-charge attractions
        • Shows benefits of buying online
        • Links directly to e-commerce site
  • 27. Mobile Website Content
    • Advertise specials / deals
      • Hersheypark
        • Displays that day’s ticket deals
        • Advertises in-park promotions and specials
  • 28. Mobile Website Content
    • Attraction information
      • Kings Island
        • Give pertinent facts and trivia about rides and attractions
        • Possibilities for added content include images and video
  • 29. Mobile Website Content
    • Directions
      • Sea World San Diego
        • Provide a physical address
        • Give written directions for people who drive by landmark
        • Offer a link to an online mobile map service or incorporate interactive directions into your site
  • 30. Mobile Website Content
    • Webcam
      • Cedar Point
        • Way for guests to stay connected, see what’s happening while they’re not there
        • Webcams close to public areas offer chance for friends and family to see visitors to your facility online
  • 31. Mobile Website Content
    • Weather
      • Schlitterbahn
        • Use with discretion; a great forecast can draw visitors in…
        • … a bad forecast can be a deterrent.
        • This site turns a negative into a positive - it’s a waterpark, you’re going to get wet regardless.
  • 32. Mobile Website Features
    • Park Map
      • Worlds of Fun Haunt
        • Arguably the most useful mobile application, especially in a large facility
        • Likely the most complex and time-consuming
        • Useful when interactive, not simply a replica of print map
        • Pinpoint all locations
  • 33. Mobile Website Features
    • Find nearby – Knott’s Berry Farm
      • Allows visitors to find locations close to them
  • 34. Mobile Website Features
    • Height guide, safety, accessibility info
      • Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
        • Helpful for visitors with children
        • Great service for guests with physical disabilities
  • 35. Mobile Website Features
    • Show/event schedules
      • Busch Gardens Tampa
        • Give times, location, and description for events and entertainment based on selected date
  • 36. Mobile Website Features
    • Food menus
      • Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
        • Show quick- service and sit-down locations
        • Provide a list of each item available
        • Incorporate searching if possible
  • 37. Mobile Website Features
    • Attraction wait times
      • Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure
        • Gives visitors an idea of how long queues are for popular attractions
        • Can aide in distributing crowds more efficiently
        • Implementation can be high-tech or simple (phone calls to a central office)
  • 38. Mobile Website Features
    • Social networking integration
      • Kings Dominion Intimidator305
        • Displaying Facebook and Twitter updates encourages visitors to share their own experiences
        • Provides another touch point for gaining fans and followers
  • 39. Mobile Website Addressing
    • What address to use?
    • Use as many as technically feasible
    • Redirect to mobile site wherever it lives
  • 40. Mobile Website Addressing
    • Auto Detection
      • Visitors go directly to your primary site
      • Every browser has an identifiable “user agent”
      • Code is implemented to match the browser’s user agent to a predefined list of known devices
      • If there’s a match, the user is automatically redirected to the mobile website
      • Very high reliability (95%+)
      • Important to keep user agent list updated
  • 41. Mobile Website Aesthetics
    • Minimalist design
      • Limit graphics to a business logo and content imagery
      • Use default colors and fonts when favoring a lowest-common-denominator approach
      • Custom color palettes should be high-contrast, especially for outdoor locations
      • Mobile devices have a small set of fonts; custom choices may not apply and will reset to defaults
  • 42. Mobile Website Aesthetics
    • Fancier design
      • More freedom available to device-specific rollouts
        • iPhone skin - Canada’s Wonderland Haunt
  • 43. Mobile Website Aesthetics
    • Incorporating video
      • Good idea to encode separately from desktop video offerings
      • Smaller resolutions and file sizes
      • Best formats are .3GP and .MP4
      • Some common well-known formats (AVI, Flash Video, Quicktime) aren’t as widely supported
      • Newer devices integrate with YouTube
  • 44. Mobile Website Best Practices
    • Include phone number on every page
      • <a href=“tel: +1-555-123-4567”>(555) 123-4567</a> appears as (555) 123-4567
    • Address text should be a map link
      • <a href= +Rd,89109>3150 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas NV 89109</a>
    • Despite browsers having a back button, always provide navigation and link to home
    • Use “accesskeys” (0-9) for navigation links
  • 45. Mobile Website Best Practices
    • Limit the amount of content per page
      • Best to keep text to about 5-10 paragraphs per page to minimize scrolling
      • Introduce pagination or nested page sections where appropriate
    • Offer links to the full site
    • If your facility has rides or attractions where mobile devices may get lost or damaged, post a warning!
  • 46. Mobile Website Faux Pas
    • Massive graphics
    • Link to non-mobile content without warning
      • Ticketing, reservations
    • Link to printable documents
  • 47. Device-Native Applications
    • Use when taking advantage of device-specific features and hardware
    • Quick access to a vast content/ imagery bank or database
    • Houston Zoo
  • 48. Device-Native Applications
    • Built-in Camera functionality
      • Facebook
        • Allows users to directly upload photos to the service via their mobile device
        • File uploads are often not possible from mobile browsers
  • 49. Device-Native Applications
    • Location-aware (GPS / signal triangulation)
      • PacMaps
        • Uses a mobile device’s built-in GPS (if present) or the triangulation of cell signals to gauge position on a map
        • Varying degrees of accuracy
  • 50. Device-Native Applications
    • Augmented reality
      • Layar
        • Uses a combination of a device’s camera, GPS, and compass to overlay data atop the present view
        • In its infancy, poised to grow exponentially
  • 51. Device-Native Applications
    • Publish to specific distribution platform
  • 52. Device-Native Applications
    • To charge or not to charge?
      • Apps can be offered for free; otherwise, developer gets a cut (60-80%) of each sale
    • Free apps will tend to garner more users
      • Can still be profitable via mobile ad networks
    • Paid apps must offer a high value proposition
      • Must-have “killer app” features
      • Substantially make a visit more enjoyable
  • 53. Mobile Testing
    • Given so many devices, it’s necessary to test on several before deploying
      • Use a variety: smartphones, touchscreens, basic phones
      • Test on multiple browsers as well: opera, firefox, safari, etc.
      • Get friends, family, associates to help
      • Device emulators
    • Validate your code! Make it XHTML-MP compatible
  • 54. Measuring and Monitoring
    • Once you’ve deployed your website/app, track usage habits and content paths
      • Google Analytics, AdMob, other tools
    • Regularly survey users
      • Ask what features could be improved
      • Learn what content is difficult to find
      • If possible, watch them interact
  • 55. The Mobile Ecosystem
    • Looking into the future…
      • User on a mobile device accesses website, gets information about your facility
      • Buys ticket online immediately
      • Barcode/QR Code on screen is scanned at gate
      • Visitor connects to location’s wifi, gets directed to page with specials and deals
      • Games, interactive content help entertain guests
      • Friends learn of the awesome experience in real-time via social networking
  • 56.  
  • 57. Resources
    • Websites
      • This presentation
      • dotMobi
      • My delicious links
    • Books
      • Mobile Web Design by Cameron Moll