I just realized that I haven’t posted anything about non-app-based mobile websites (aka WAP) since the pre-iPhone days of early 2007, when I tried unsuccessfully to log in to ING Direct’s mobile site through my trusty Samsung Blackjack.
Mobile banking has come a long way since then, primarily through native apps, now supported by more than 1,000 financial institutions in the U.S. alone. But a mobile-optimized website is still an important part of your overall mobile mix. Not everyone has a smartphone and not every smartphone user will download your app.
And some observers believe that the mobile Web, enhanced with HTML 5 and whatever comes next, will eventually run all the apps out of business. With 300,000 apps for the iPhone already created, I think that’s unlikely, but possible.
But whatever the future holds, today you need a good mobile-optimized website. And Wells Fargo, for one, hasn’t forgotten about it. Today they sent an email to customers announcing a remodeled mobile site at WF.com, its mobile URL (see screenshot below).
After logging in at the WF.com site, users are greeted with a menu button that opens up a new window of choices (note arrow in screenshot). It’s a nice way to navigate and makes the mobile website feel more like an app. The email also says there is more info on the page to minimize clicking, an important change. I still prefer the native app (note 1), but this is a nice improvement.
Wells Fargo email to customers announcing its redesigned mobile banking site, WF.com (5 Jan. 2011; landing page)
Note: The “Menu” button, when pressed, opens or closes the navigation choices (shown in open mode below)
1. Ironically, the native app doesn’t seem to be working on my iPhone 4 at the moment (update 6 Jan., it’s working now). Another reason you want to have a good mobile website alternative.