What is best way to inform to user of desktop website that now website have Mobile version of website and native apps for many platforms?

A permanent section on website to tell about it with icons.


A pop on homepage load in lightbox?


top floated bar with close x button?


A separate page and link for that in footer like http://www.flickr.com/mobile


Note: I think it's my mistake my question was not clear. My question is not only for Mobile website it's also for Native apps.

Flicker.com has a link in footer which take us a page where are links avaialbe for all apps

See this Example : http://www.flickr.com/mobile

Basecamp also do the same but they have a link at top nav http://basecamphq.com/

tripadvisor too http://www.tripadvisor.in/MobileApps

And http://www.cleartrip.com/mobile/ made a separate page for mobile and given link in footer

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4 Answers 4


I think the best option is to use responsive design so when the user is on a mobile of tablet device it automatically optimizes for that device. The fact that you have native apps should be introduced only when your visitor is browsing on that device. For example, if I go to your website on my iPhone, a links or call to action could be displayed to download the native app.

In my opinion, if I'm browsing on a desktop browser and a website suggests with a banner of overlay that I could also visit the mobile version or download a native app, that's pretty annoying.

  • 2
    Responsive design is good but it's not for every project. My question is not about Responsive design VS native apps/Mobile specific design. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 17:14
  • 1
    I think automatically making use of the relevant format is worthwhile - as long as the user has the opportunity to toggle between each. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 19:40
  • 1
    This is also one of those rare instances in which a QR code is useful.
    – msanford
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 21:59

Great question. Do you mean informing the user when they are currently using a mobile that they can view the site in a mobile-friendly format, or do you mean letting regular 'desktop' users know that if they wanted to view on a mobile the site will display nicely for them?

If it's the former then you can either use script to detect the device (or screen resolution if you're going down that route) and then automatically display the correct version. I'm sure other people will leave more comprehensive details on this route though. I'm going to answer the question on the assumption that you mean 'how do you let a desktop user know that there is a different mobile version of this site'

Besides, with all the 'mobile' devices around these days (iPad, TVs, Netbooks, Phones, PSP...) it's getting increasingly difficult to determine what qualifies as a desktop and what is a 'mobile'. (I prefer 'Portable Device' personally)

Jakob Nielsen recommends that you provide:

explicit links from the full site to the mobile site and from the mobile site to the full site

Some example sites that do this are: Flickr, BBC News, GameSpot, IMDB and a little known site called UX.StackExchange. You're not alerted directly that there is a mobile-friendly version of the site available when you connect, but all these sites display the information in the same place: The Footer. Gamespot, IMDB and UX.SE go one step further and actually uses the link as a link to the Mobile Site itself, while the others take you to a separate page detailing the mobile usage of the site.

Therefore, if you want to follow Nielsens guidelines, as well as to follow current conventions you should provide a link to the Mobile in the footer of the page, ideally setting this link to the mobile view itself, rather than just a content page about mobile usage.

  • But we have Native apps too and we want to tell that to users Commented Feb 23, 2012 at 4:06

It's unproductive to assume that your user cares about multi-platform availability. Even though they might be interested in your message, that might not need the information at any predefined moment.

For these reasons I would suggest to make it easy for your user to find out about other supported platforms when he or she explicitly looks for the information, by integrating content describing the situation into your current site architecture.

If you feel you do have to provide your users with information stating your application is available for other formats:

Try to be unobtrusive.

  • Avoid disrupting the the flow of your users' intended actions.
  • An example of an obtrusive method would be the display of your message via a modal window or dialogue that needs to be explicitly acknowledged and dismissed.
  • An example of an unobtrusive method would be a status message that is displayed on site but doesn't need to be actioned.

Preserve state.

  • Once your user has seen the message - allow them to dismiss the message permanently. Being forced to see the same message multiple times frustrates and annoys users.

If you're going to tell users that there's a mobile service, you need to tell them why they should bother with it besides the fact that they can now browse on the move. They already knew that - users do attempt to view desktop sites via handset, they just get annoyed quickly when it doesn't work well.

Why might they want to use the mobile service specifically? Well, that depends on your service. If your mobile site supports a workflow that's particularly relevant to people on the move, talk about that. If an app offers a feature that just isn't possible on the website, talk about that instead. Introduce it at a time when a user has proven your app has relevance - for example, on a service to book a restaurant, after the user makes their booking, the service could point out that the user can later add / remove party members whilst travelling to the venue. That kind of communication makes the mobile service seem relevant, and your messaging seem sincerely helpful.

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