This Saturday I spent the day researching .mobi sites and building-out frequentflier.mobi from start to finish! I hadn’t planned on finishing the site until next weekend so this puts me ahead of schedule.
I began with the "comps" process on Saturday. Looking for comparable websites, sites that had a similar focus or goal to mine. This was easy to do given the great resources the .mobi team has put together. I have essentially been living on dev.mobi – they have a great catalog of current .mobi sites organized by category. I looked through every single page in "travel" section as my site is travel-related.
My findings greatly influenced the design and content of the site. First I noticed that most .mobi travel sites all had a list of links on their opening page. This makes sense as anyone browsing the web on their phone wants to get to specific information – fast.
Next I found that each link usually led to either a text-entry box, or exactly the information being sought. As for the information itself, a lot of it was general information such as the address and phone number for a hotel. On the mobile web it doesn’t seem like there is room for hotel reviews, amenities, etc. However thinking about this I realized that 99% of the time I go to a hotel’s website just to get their main phone number. Have a link on the website that will cause your phone to dial the number certainly is a useful service.
I decided to collect all of the main contact numbers for all of the major airlines in the world. Sort them by name , and provide them as a resource to travelers. From experience I know that sometimes I just wish I had the main number to an airline without having to dial 411 and pay the $2.00 for a simple question.
For the remaining pages I tried to think of what I want when I’m on the road traveling. Some way to check your flight status seemed a given. All frequent fliers learn that it is absolutely essential to check their flight status to avoid spending hours waiting in the airport. After this I was on a roll – I added links to a traffic site as well as Zagat.mobi for quick access to restaurant reviews.
As a former graphic artist I really enjoy doing the design for these sites. I read the .mobi developers guide last week and remembered their emphasis on small graphics. I decided to keep it simple and feature the same title graphic with text for individual page headings.
A lot of my time was spent building-out the Travel Secrets section. Here I had to come-up with my own content, but make sure that it was short and to the point, and of course…useful! Luckily I have done a LOT of travel in the past three years so was full of ideas. Condensing this down into a .mobi-sized bit was tricky and it took several hours to get it right.
In the end I tested my site on dev.mobi’s site evaluator and got a 4 – which means the site will display well on pretty much any mobile device that pulls-up my site. So some hardwork payed-off and I was able to finish the site in a day. In the world of house-flipping finishing a home early, in the world of domain flipping you never know what can happen!
Now it’s time to hit the streets…the Internet streets that is – and start getting the word out that frequentflier.mobi has arrived!