Interview with MakeUseOf's Jackson Chung
Last week we had the privilege of interviewing Jackson Chung, Associate Editor at MakeUseOf on the topic of mobile web. MakeUseOf is a technology & internet apps blog that gets 7 million monthly pageviews and has over 340,000 subscribers. Their mobile site is powered by Mobify.
KIRILL: Please describe MakeUseOf's mobile strategy and how Mobify factors into it.
JACKSON: Our mobile strategy is simple: we aim to provide our mobile readers with desktop-like experience on a mobile platform. In other words, we try to implement as much as we can into our mobile site in order to retain maximum functionality. And because MakeUseOf has several very distinct sections i.e. our main feed, Answers and Geeky Fun; we mustn't compromise functionality for portability. This proved quite a task for a person with no prior web-design experience to undertake. Luckily, the Mobify design team lent us a hand and we got the mobile site running pretty smoothly ever since.
JACKSON: One thing that we're especially proud of is the fact that we managed to integrate Mobify into our MakeUseOf iPhone and Android apps. Once the user clicks a link in these apps, it will redirect to the mobile site. We decided to go with this strategy for a number of reasons: it saved us a lot of time because the app developer didn't need to render another version of our site; we managed to maintain a uniform mobile interface for the user; and any changes made to the mobile site will be reflected in both of our apps instantly. So you could say that we're relying heavily on Mobify to power not only our mobile site, but is the heart of our iPhone and Android apps as well.
KIRILL: In your opinion, what does 2011 hold in store for mobile web?
JACKSON: With the rapidly increasing number of mobile users today, along with their insatiable hunger for instant information, websites have no choice but to conform in order to retain their readership. Nowadays, users want almost everything on-demand. Website should be optimised to load quickly, if not almost immediately. In 2011, I predict that every major website will finally have a mobile version of their site or at least a mobile app.
KIRILL: How do you see mobile advertising evolving in the near future?
JACKSON: Mobile advertising is a touchy subject because it affects me on a personal level. On the desktop, readers don't mind the conventional ad. But on the mobile platform, every little bit of screen estate counts and so does bandwidth. My hope for mobile advertising is for publishers/webmasters to consider the fact that users don't want to see the conventional banner ads. Mobile ads should integrate nicely with the design and not stand out like a sore thumb.
KIRILL: Do you think that the line between desktop and mobile web is getting blurred and, if so, how quickly are we approaching that point?
JACKSON: Indeed, mobile sites have evolved quite a fair bit since the very first iterations. Ten years ago, a mobile site consisted of only text. Today, we're seeing marvellously designed mobile webpages that's almost identical to their full-version counterpart. Soon, we will barely be able to distinguish if the mobile site is actually a scaled-down version of the full site. However, achieving that will depend on how easy it is for anyone to create a mobile version of their site.
KIRILL: What would you recommend to websites that do not yet have a mobile strategy in place?
JACKSON: Websites that currently do not offer a mobile version will eventually lose out because their readers aren't able to get to what they want instantly. I'd highly recommend looking into creating a mobile site, even if that means stripping down their website to its bare essentials. It's still a good start and better than nothing.
On behalf of the whole team at Mobify I'd like to thank Jackson for his time.