Anyone who runs a website and has set up an analytics tool will be familiar with the hours that can be wasted poring over detailed reports of site users’ traits and habits. Like many webmasters, I use Google Analytics as my time-wasting tool of choice. From time to time, though, this very sophisticated but free reporting platform can yield a nugget of genuine insight.
A couple of week backs, I had such an occurrence. As I clicked through to the “Operating System” option on the “Visitors Overview” page it suddenly struck me that a not insignificant chunk of users were accessing the site via a mobile operating system (chiefly iPhone and Android, and to a lesser extent Blackberry, SymbianOS, and several others).
With more and more people having internet on the go via 3G connectivity, I thought that it would be rather smart (chortle, chortle) if the Project COBB archives could display nicely on the limited pixel matrix of a mobile phone.
Now there are two schools of thought on how a site should be re-designed for viewing on a mobile. One says that the same information should be available as on the mother-site but that it should be automatically reformatted to fit the limited dimensions in a readable manner. The other says that the typical person accessing information on a mobile web browser is looking for speedy access to a smaller subset of the site, namely the most important information. I enrolled in the latter school, principally because I didn’t have any kind of clue how to go about doing anything with the former. (The Project COBB mother-site is not Web 2.0. In fact, it is so simple that it barely qualifies for Web 1.0.)
Anyway, back to the story. After gaining the piece of insight, I stripped back the Project COBB site to the basics, simplifying and re-sizing the layout on the way. This is the content I settled on, for now at least:
- British Baseball Hall of Fame
- National champions
- Finals feats
- Most titles (team)
- Most titles (player)
- Season records
- Career leaders
- Batting awards
- Pitching awards
- Two-way awards
- Fielding awards
In addition to these sections, I set it up so that users could search the entire content of the Project COBB online archives via a Google-powered search bar on the landing page.
I branded the result a “mobile mini-site” as I’m sure that “micro-site” is already well established as its own type of thing and I couldn’t be bothered looking up whether my own work was a match for the criteria. It can be seen at http://www.projectcobb.org.uk/mobile.html or in the screenshots down the right.
I don’t know if it is the first such site for British baseball, but I’m pretty sure that if there are any others then they are few in number right now? From browsing non-British sites, I came across these pretty neat ones that display nicely on mobiles phones:
Questions for you
- Is having the Project COBB mini-site useful to you?
- Is there any information you would like to see added?
- Is there any demand for having a mini-site built for the British baseball leagues? For instance, would a regularly updated National Baseball League fan page, scaled to the dimensions of a mobile browser, be of interest?
- Are there any other British baseball websites out there that either have pages designed for mobile web browsing or automatically reformat themselves?
Please leave any comments or suggestions below.
Thanks to John Fitzgerald and Vince Warner for testing the site on their phones.