Masterclass 11: Going mobile
How to create a mobile version of a blog, any RSS feed, or a substantial website
If you’ve watched the video, and want to go straight to more tuition on what we can do with mobile sites, scroll down to What should be on your mobile site.
Don’t want to watch the video? Then start reading here
Quick links to specific tutorials
What this masterclass is about
This masterclass is about building a mobile, multimedia site to complement your static blog or website.
Why do you need a mobile presence?
The explosion in smart phone use means that many more people are now searching for information on mobile devices.
If you don’t have a mobile presence alongside your conventional website, users who discover you on their smart phones find your websites impossible to navigate, and you lose out.
What we’ll cover in this masterclass
This masterclass will give you practical demonstrations of how to create a mobile site from a blog or other RSS feed, and also how to create a full mobile website.
On video I’ll be demonstrating the use of two software packages: Mippin and Zinadoo. Several other packages are demonstrated in text and stills
What we won’t be doing: creating an iphone app.
No doubt that will become possible, and as soon as it is we’ll have a masterclass on it.
What we will be doing
We are concentrating on what can be done on free, readily available web-based software by people with no coding skills.
And it’s worth stressing that you can create mobile content that gives readers a great experience on the iPhone without building an iPhone app.
The sites you create will still look good on the iPhone, and your readers can link to them from an icon on their phone’s home screen, just as they would with an app
The software packages we’ll be using don’t require any technical knowledge. And while the mobile sites they let you create don’t have the slickness of iphone apps, they do have the advantage of working on any mobile phone with a web browser.
Not all the masterclass is on video. There is a good deal of supporting text, and you’ll need to work through that to get the full picture.
What should be on your mobile site?
First we need to decide what content to put on the mobile version of our site.
That involves considering what areas of our content will work best in a mobile environment. What information will be most useful to our readers when they are on the move?
Breaking news is one obvious area that can benefit from being mobilised. And we look here [link to Mippin screen] at a very easy way to turn a breaking news feed into a mobile site.
Traffic news is another example, or weather, or any number of locality-based events. It depends what information you are creating, or can get hold of easily.
Turning a blog or other RSS feed into a mobile site
The simplest way to create a mobile site is to take an RSS feed and create a mobile version of it. There are a number of software packages that allow you to do that for free. We look at that in video 11B, with a demonstration of how to create a mobile version of a blog or other RSS feed on Mippin.
Creating a mobile site that replicates your static one
While turning an RSS feed into a mobile site is very effective, it is basic. There is more we can do. Using free software such as Zinadoo we can create a mobile-friendly site that replicates our static site in terms of content and structure.
But we need to be very careful in how we adapt things for the small screens on mobile devices.
If you want the whole of your website to be available on a mobile version, that’s perfectly possible, but you need to consider carefully how readable that content will be on a small phone screen, and will probably have to adapt it considerably to make it readable and navigable.
Creating a blog/RSS/full site hybrid
We can also create a hybrid site, taking some material from our static site, and creating a framework for that, but also adding RSS feeds to individual pages. As you’ll see in video 11c, there are RSS feeds available that can be customised to filter information and deliver only what is relevant to the location you select. It’s not as sophisticated to what you can do with an app, but it’s not bad.
If you have, or have access to people with, coding skills
To create an app for a particular device, which is known as a native app, the best known being an app created for the iPhone, you need another skill set. A native app has to access the hardware within the phone. For instance, the camera or the GPS, to enable the serving of localised information.
You'll find the key elements of this masterclass by following the links below: