Maine Company Helps Clients "Mobilize" Websites

PORTLAND – People used to gaze into their palms for a glimpse of the future. Today, millions of people are finding it there, with the help of smart phones and other devices that allow them to visit the Web from the palms of their hands.

The explosive growth of mobile internet browsing in 2009 is creating an opportunity for tech-savvy organizations like iBec Creative, a leading website development and design company based in Portland, and its clients. iBec has launched a new set of design services focused on mobile internet browsing, at a time when many organizations are becoming aware that smart phones are changing the Web.

Smart phone sales worldwide grew by 41 percent last year, in the face of a severe global recession, with more than 170 million units flying off shelves, according to Gartner Inc., a leading technology research firm. Other studies suggest that nearly a third of all cell phones will be Web-enabled within the next two years.

“People are starting to understand just how difficult it is for smart phone users to navigate many traditional websites,” said Becky McKinnell, owner of iBec Creative. “Our goal is to help organizations make the Web experience better for the audiences they care about, by creating mobile-internet sites that are effective and easy to use.”

The company’s service comes in two principal forms:

  • Websites that are built to optimize the experience of people on the go. Smart phones automatically recognize that that these sites have been built specifically for the way mobile devices display information and load those sites.
  • Content management systems that create a direct link between a traditional website and its mobile cousin. This service allows organizations to manage the content of both sites simultaneously.

“Having the ability to link your mobile website with your existing website is very new, but we feel that it is an important service for us to offer. Our clients need to stay ahead of their competitors, no matter where they are located,” McKinnell said. “Mobile browsing is a big part of what is happening on the Web, and has really taken off. We need to be there.”

In early 2009, a survey found that one in five people had used a smart phone yesterday, a figure that is growing rapidly along with the number of devices in use. However, relatively few organizations have a website in place for these mobile-internet users.

No matter how good a traditional site’s design, it still requires the mobile user to do a lot of scrolling, said Chris Campbell, project manager at iBec. “People have to work to get the information.”

At iBec, programmers and designers prepare sites that not only look good on the smaller screens of smart phones, but also can be navigated at the touch of a finger like applications available for iPhones and other on-the-go devices.

“If you are a company and have a mobile website, you are setting yourself apart from your competitors who don’t have it,” Campbell said. “Not many people have a mobile website.”

In recent months, iBec Creative has been receiving national recognition for its ability to bring fresh ideas and an intuitive understanding of technology to its work. The U.S. Small Business Administration recently named McKinnell Maine Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2010, and in October, BusinessWeek magazine honored her as one of the top 25 entrepreneurs in the country.

Established in 2006 by founder and president Becky (Stockbridge) McKinnell, iBec Creative is a leading provider of website and traditional design services based in Portland, Maine. For more information, go online to or call (207) 221-0790.

- Bangor Daily News


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