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Is Your Nonprofit Website Mobile-Friendly?

You’ve probably seen dozens of “Top 10 Predictions for 2010” lists already this year, so I’ll spare you any more links. But have you noticed, there’s one prediction that turns up consistently at the top of every pundit’s New Year’s list?  Welcome to the decade of the Mobile Internet.

No question, Internet users are leaving their laptops behind in favour of phones, and organizations that aren’t prepared to ride the mobile wave are likely to lose a share of their audience. It’s a real challenge, especially for small nonprofits without their own IT wizards to wave a magic mouse and make an iPhone-friendly website appear. 

With that end in mind, let's start off with two quick-and-dirty ways to make your organization’s blog or website a little more “phone-friendly” in almost no time, without any cost at all.

How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Just enter your website URL at Google’s Mobile Optimizer, click submit, and copy the web address for the resulting page.  For example, here’s the Wild Apricot website, as mobilized by Google. Not pretty, but it effectively strips away the sidebars and such, leaving a site that works somewhat better on a very small format screen: a step towards mobile accessibility.

How to Optimize Your Blog for Mobile Users

Sticking with Google tools, here’s a handy quick trick with Google Reader Mobile that makes use of the major difference between a static website and a dynamic blog — your RSS feed.

To convert your blog to a phone-friendly format, just add the feed’s web address to the end of http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/feed/[rss_feed_URL] — like this: http://www.google.com/reader/m/view/feed/http://feeds.feedburner.com/wildapricot — for a nice phone-friendly list of clickable headlines that shows your most recent blog posts.

Granted, these two Google tools are not exactly slick — but they are fast, free and produce a functional link you can add to your website (maybe with a nice phone icon for the link?), to accomodate the mobile users in your audience. For nonprofits on a tight budget, under pressure to keep up with changing communications tech, that should help you get by for the short term at least.

Serious about the Mobile Web?

Those who want a more attractive mobile site with some customization, and who have a bit more time to invest in getting it up, should check out the free Mofuse service for blogs and websites. It requires signup with the service and hosts your mobilized site on a subdomain, but has worked well for thousands of users and may be all that a smaller group or individual needs.

(Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile Site is a free live webinar that Mofuse will present at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. This is a 30-minute introduction to the Mofuse Premium service, which comes with a 14-day free trial and gives a discount to nonprofits.)

For more indepth information about design considerations for the mobile web, check out Jennifer Peper’s presentation on Adapting Your Website for Mobile Media Applications, available as a free PDF download from Aristotle Web Design; Designing for the Mobile Web from Sitepoint.com; and W3C’s Mobile Web Best Practices guidelines document.

Finally, to learn more about how nonprofits in particular are meeting the mobile challenge, see also MobileActive.org, a global network of people using mobile technology for social impact, and Mobiles-in-a-Box, a collection of tools, tactics, how-to guides and case studies designed to help advocacy and activist organisations use mobile technology in their work.

If your organization is ahead of the curve on mobile web tech, will you help out other nonprofits by sharing your recommended resources in the comments?

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Published Thursday, 07 January 2010 at 9:24 AM

Comments

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    Twitter Trackbacks for Wild Apricot Blog : Is Your Nonprofit Website Mobile-Friendly? [wildapricot.com] on Topsy.com  said:

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 at 1:38 AM
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    uberVU - social comments said:

    Thursday, 07 January 2010 at 4:33 AM

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by nptechblogs: Wild Apricot Blog: Is Your Nonprofit Website Mobile-Friendly? http://bit.ly/8lwj5l

  • John Haydon

    John Haydon said:

    Friday, 08 January 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Rebecca,

    I just turned my blog into an iPhone app with MotherApp.

    John

  • Brian

    Brian said:

    Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 8:27 AM

    The age of Mobile Internet is definitely here!  And what amazes me (I do a lot of work with NPOs), it's rare to find an NPO that has really embraced mobile tech.  Considering a lot of mobile use revolves around checking social sites and that sort of thing, NPOs don't have to spend a huge amount of time or money to have a solid mobile platform.  

    On that note, you might have some interest in an article I noticed on NTEN a few days ago, http://www.nten.org/blog/2010/11/08/technology-trends-nonprofits-2011

Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.
 
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