Yahoo news is reporting that Yahoo has developed oneSearch, a new mobile search service that gives phone users instant answers.
oneSearch redesigns search to offer potential answers as immediate search results instead of how computer-based Web search returns lists of search results.
Yahoo has partnered with a variety of phone makers, including Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, and RIM to include the new software on some phones.
Yahoo is seeking to out pace arch rival Google Inc., which dominates the market for computer Web search, by being the fastest to win over consumers to its mobile phone Web search and related advertising system. Yahoo will offer mobile search software directly to phone users to download as well.
Opera Mobile will carry Yahoo search services in an exclusive partnership
A New Space For Web Designers And SEOs
Naturally the designer and seo in me got to thinking about mobile devices as a yet untapped space for offering services. While surfing on your phone may not be mainstream there’s little denying it will become more common in the coming months and years. At the moment there appears to be few focused on this market.
A few months ago I purchased and have since been enjoying a Palm Treo. I’d by lying if I said I spent hours on end surfing on it, but I have and do read my favorite blogs while killing time waiting for an appointment. One of the things instantly noticeable is that most websites don’t provide a great experience over a phone.
Most sites I’ve visited have been manageable, but generally to get to the content you have to scroll through the usual heading and navigation that is often coded first in most sites. It doesn’t work quite as well over a smaller device where the content can often end up being several pages below the fold depending upon how much information there is in the sidebar.
Developing a site over a phone brings a new or perhaps an old set of requirements with it. Just as many of us are moving away from 800×600 as a standard for fixed width design we may find ourselves designing again for much smaller resolutions. A new set of standards will emerge for design usability over mobile devices such as an even further reduction of imagery and a greater focus on text based content.
From my limited experience with mobile surfing I find I pay even less attention to site navigation and more to in content links as both will not be on screen at the same time.
Given what will be an increased usage of web capable phones there’s a new space waiting to be filled by designers. Not every site will need to be accessible over a phone and I can hardly imagine shopping for a new car on my phone at the moment or spending hours in research, but it’s easy to see where directions to restaurants and retail outlets would make a good fit.
Search on a mobile device may very well be different than what we use sitting at home or at work. Yahoo’s new oneSearch seems focused on quick answers as opposed to common web search and there’s a good chance immediacy would be more of a concern when searching on a phone. If you’re searching for ‘gas stations’ you’re probably in your car and running low on gas. You’re probably wanting to know where the closest station is and presenting sites discussing the future of prices at the pump wouldn’t be necessary.
Assuming new search technologies and algorithms there will be a need for SEOs with a new set of skills to get mobile sites in front of mobile users. Local search would seem to make a lot of sense for mobile devices given the immediacy as would phone specific products. If you run a ringtone affiliate site you’d certainly want to make sure your site could be found in mobile search and display well over the smaller devices.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to consider any of this, but it seems to me there’s a lack of attention being paid to the mobile market by designers and SEOs. It might be a good niche to target for those looking for a niche. The space is under saturated and few have suffered by being the first to a new market. The time may not be quite here for mainstream surfing over mobile devices, but that time isn’t far off.