All modern CMS vendors claim to be capable of delivering content to mobile devices. Some even offer additional modules to make the implementation faster and easier. However, as a customer, how do you separate marketing from reality? We decided to explore how seriously the vendors treat mobile devices and took a look at their websites through a mobile device. As expected, the results were quite mixed.
Even when I used to work at a CMS vendor myself back in 1999 - 2002, customers would regularly require to have content delivered to mobile devices. Back then most customers did not go ahead and implement mobile services, but that has certainly changed today. The arrival of the iPhone in particular has made this development spiral. The mobile Web has rapidly moved far beyond the early adopters.
To be fair to vendors, some customers may still not know exactly know what they want and are simply "ticking the box" when they ask for mobile support. Still, it seems reasonable to expect vendors to "eat their own dogfood" now that they claim their product supports mobile devices so easily. I can imagine several use cases where customers might want to visit a vendor website on a mobile device, eg. for contact details and to read news.
Here's the vendor and open source project websites that we visited:
|Vendor / project||Passed / Failed||Notes|
|Alfresco||Failed||Clearly not optimized for the mobile user; navigation broken and reference logos appeared twice|
|Alterian||Failed||Very long load times and difficult to navigate and find out location on site|
|CoreMedia||Failed||Not impressive for a vendor claiming to focus on "multi-touchpoint customer engagement". Usage of HTTPS caused user experience to start with 2 warnings. Navigation broken and Flash error message. Would have passed if iPhones were the only mobile devices on the planet|
|Day Software||Failed||Again, navigation a complete mess. Also text as graphics don't work well|
|Ektron||Failed||Looks like something was done to cater for mobile devices as the site started with a friendly navigation, unfortunately followed by the heavy web navigation based on images|
|EPiServer||Failed||A nice integration error at the middle of the page. Clearly not optimized for mobile devices. According to EPiServer an iPhone demo is available on labs.episerver.com|
|FatWire||Failed||Top navigation unusable. "Learn More" links unreadable.|
|Kentico||Failed||Navigation and user experience clearly not optimised for a mobile interface|
|Plone||Passed||Works, although 3 columns require quite some mobile interface real estate|
|SDL||Failed||Several navigational items not working. Site kaput.|
|Sitecore||Passed||A fast and smooth experience. Read more on Sitecore Mobile Web CMS|
|Telerik||Failed||Some SEO text visible on top of page. Navigation unusable|
|Typo3||Failed||Navigation cut short. Typo3 is definitely not enabling people to communicate on a mobile device|
|Umbraco||Failed||"Who said you" can read a page when there a multiple layers of text on top of each other. Not friendly at all.|
|WordPress||Passed||Well designed with intuitive layout. Good job.|
It would seem like a clear majority of vendors still have a long way to go. Congrats to Plone, Sitecore and WordPress on jobs well done.
For additional details on mobile delivery, including some specialized products, CMS Watch analyst Apoorv Durga have written a posting on Content Management for Mobile Delivery
The conversation on mobile websites and CMS requirements continues in our CMS Expert Groups, which meets in person three times a year.