Smart cell phones are everywhere. The Android is more and more popular, the iPhone is expanding its user base now that Verizon sells it, and somehow, the BlackBerry is still strongly accepted by the corporate world.
comScore.com released the 2010 mobile report on February 14, 2011 where they reported that 27% of cell phones are of the smartphone variety and 29% of smartphone users have unlimited data plans.
For you, the jewelry website owner, you seriously need to consider how your website will react when a mobile device visits it. You might spend $1000 developing a simple HTML website or $3000 for a simple Flash website, and they both may look great on a computer. But what about the mobile device?
As you consider your future website design and functionality, you need to give some serious consideration to the mobile version of your site. Please do not take the cheap point of view that smart phones will display your website perfectly; this is not true. Every phone manufacturer provides their own web browser and they simply do not have the computing power to function the same way as your normal computer.
On the other hand, if you do create a dedicated mobile website version, don't automatically redirect the mobile users to it. Instead give them a choice, but make the choice very obvious, for example by putting a very large notice on the website when a mobile device is detected.
Some mobile users would rather use a full website on their phone even though it might have handicapped features; others will enjoy the speed and simplicity of the mobile website, especially since it also saves them usage fees on their phone bill.
There is one caveat to this choice, though. Flash websites will not function on an iPad, iPhone or iTouch. Some BlackBerry phones also have trouble with Flash. The Android phone supports Flash very nicely, but there is still difficulty with advanced internal Flash controls. So if you have a fully Flash website, you should consider forcing the mobile user to view the mobile site without giving them a choice.
In the footer of your mobile site, you should always include a link that says "Visit our Full Site" so the user can flip back and forth. If your full site is a Flash site, then your footer link should say "Visit our Flash Site" as a warning to the mobile user.
Mobile device ownership is expanding rapidly. The iPad 2 is about to hit the market, the price of the iPad 1 dropping, the Samsung made a hit in 2010 with their Galaxy Tab (their Android tablet), and now many new smartphones require data plans. It's unavoidable... You need a mobile website. You will gain a significant advantage over your competition if you are the first retail jeweler in your town to have one.