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Title: Help! Conductors/composers: Ordering music via mobile devices

I have just been asked by my webmaster if I “want a mobile version or adaptable site (responsive) for mobile devices”.
My questions to conductors are:
How much use do you make of mobile devices (mobile computers, smart-phones etc) when ordering music?
How often do you peruse catalogues on mobile devices?
And to composers: Does your website have 'mobile device' capacity, and is it worth the extra cost ($200 - $300) to build this into a website?
Many thanks!
Replies (11): Threaded | Chronological
on July 6, 2013 10:20am
I would never browse for music on a phone, and I have trouble imagining many others would either. It's too important to look at scores or samples, and with the small screen you can't see enough.
My wife often browses for music on her iPad, but it isn't really necessary to have a dedicated version for tablets. I'd say your $300 is better spent elsewhere.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 6, 2013 1:25pm
Thanks Allen - good point about trying to read the small print/m.s.. It's not just about titles and sound bytes.
on July 6, 2013 11:26am
I have posted practice tracks for my church choir members, and they (esp. the younger ones) listen on their smart phones.  I don't know if that applies to your query...
on July 6, 2013 1:28pm
Not quite applicable, Lisa, but it's interesting to note it's generally 'the younger ones'. Someday it'll be everyone!
Thanks, Donald
on July 7, 2013 5:54am
I've looked at your interesting and attractive web site, which suits desktop/laptop access very well, and it strikes me that a mobile version might have to be very different. So I'd ask what the $200-300 is for? It's a reasonable price for a straightforward conversion of each existing page to display well on the smaller screen size of a phone, but I doubt whether that would be appealing to potential purchasers (although it might be fine for people who visit your site for other reasons). It would be very cheap for a comprehensive redesign and reconstruction to suit phone/tablet users.
For what it's worth, I run a web site selling choral sheet music. It's not adapted for phone browsers. I don't yet feel that I'm losing sales. That will change within the next year or so, so I need to be thinking now about adapting my web site.
My main annoyance just now is that at least one widely used web browser has started to use its own software to display our PDF samples instead of using Adobe Acrobat Reader - and it sometimes presents a gibberish display of a "good" PDF file. Naturally, a prospective purchaser is likely to lose interest when that happens. But that's another story.
on July 7, 2013 6:39am
I don't offer it on my web site yet, but I have been surprised by how frequently mobile phone access shows up in my activity logs .... thanks for raising the question, it will prompt me to do something better to get from a phone access to a music order.
on July 7, 2013 10:09am
Hi Donald,
I am a composer and my husband is a full time web developer who created my website. My website ( has some choral offerings but I mainly sell harp and woodwind music. My site has been active for 5.5 years and I do not have a mobile version or adaptable site yet. The design of my site is easily accessible on tablets but not so great on phones.  It's just too small on a phone.  My husband said that he definitely wants to add a responsive version to my site when he gets the chance.
My husband recommends that if you choose to pay the $200-300 (which he says is a bargain price in web developing), that you go with the adaptable site (responsive). A responsive site moves blocks (side bars for example) of your site around to make it easier to read on the viewer.  It is helpful not only for mobile devices but for someone with a computer who might have a narrow browser window or 2 or more windows open side by side on their computer screen. For example, have you ever noticed how some sites will shift content around as you resize a window? Going with a mobile version is a lot more involved and complicated to maintain because it will often change as new mobile devices come out on the market.
A third of my traffic comes through mobile devices and more than half of those devices are through the Apple iPad. If my site were responsive, I would probably see higher numbers for the devices other than the iPad.  Donald, if you have a Google Analytics account, you might look at your stats to see how many people are currently viewing your site through mobile devices.  With the increasing numbers of mobile devices, it might help your site to gain more visitors if you can make it as mobile friendly as possible. I think you also have to consider what kind of content you offer on your site that draws in visitors.  Perhaps a catalog might not bring in a first time visitor but other content might.  I noticed on your site Donald, that you have many things that can be viewed on a phone such as your YouTube videos or your News information.  These could be the way people first notice your site via a phone.  The visitor might or might not later go to a computer to view the rest of your site offerings but if your site is mobile friendly, you'll have a better chance of them staying on your site to view more content.  Normally I would not go to my phone to look up websites to find music but how many times are we at a location where we're killing time and all we have is our smart phone?  A mobile device is how I often "find out" about a new site which later I might access on my computer to place an order.
Hope this info helps.  Good luck on your decision.
Applauded by an audience of 3
on July 7, 2013 1:13pm
I am really just joining the world of mobile devices.  I love love love my laptop and could not exist without it.  However, I have only had my iphone for a week and I could see using it greatly for those times that you are on the go but have to wait around.  Searching for repertoire is an on-going, constant in my life at the moment, I vote in favor of using the mobile device for the convenience.  It really seems like you would be in on a good thing and one of the starters as well.  If there were a way to save favorites from the mobile device to come back to when I was on my laptop to view the scores, that would be great.
on July 7, 2013 5:27pm
I can't imagine anyone reviewing a score on a tiny smartphone screen either. But other types of access to a composer's website from a phone could be useful, as noted: Familiarity/bookmarking to review later on a laptop or desktop screen; also playing MP3 sound samples (my site has them for most pieces), which don't require a large screen, just a decent speaker. And sending emails to the composer for quotes, prices, questions about a work.
I haven't optimized my site for phone access, but I do get inquiries about scores sent ato me from the Works pages via phone. I don't have transactions set up on my site yet, folks still have to ping me for a quote or to order. Hoping that will change over the next 2 years.
David Avshalomov
on July 8, 2013 7:18am
Definitely go for a responsive site, especially if it's only $300. Over 80% of users will leave a website if it's not resizing for their mobile device. On the flipside, companies who converted to responsive sites saw an 83% increase in sales and customer satisfaction. Mobile adoption is skyrocketing and purchases of mobile devices now outstrip purchases of desktop computers. The time to go responsive is now.
If you want to see a good example of responsive design like Janet's talking about, see Pull your browser window's right side in to see the content reflow. At certain "breakpoints" the navigation switches from horizontal to vertical, for instance. The monkey disappears. The text reflows. This is how a good responsive site is set up to take advantage of the real estate on everything from smartphones to desktop devices.
My day job is in web development. :-)
Sing on!
on July 10, 2013 7:03am
Thank you all for your excellent thoughts. I have read them all very carefully - and it appears others have as well - so I'm about to make a decision. I am tending towards a responsive site; not so much for the music itself, which of course is barely legible on a small screen, but for all the other information on a music site which people can pick up at odd times when they have nothing to do do but open up their smart phones. I've learned a LOT from you all!
I am going to be using Adobe's 'Contribute', but have no experience with it vis a vis mobile phones. Does anyone know if text flows (i.e. is responsive) when the screen becomes smaller?
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