As the number of smartphone users increases, it is more and more important that businesses create mobile friendly websites that can be accessed with mobile browsers. Loading a full page of images, video, and text on a mobile browser will take a long time, and the dimensions may cause elements of the webpage to be cut out of view, causing major problems for your audience.
In fact, the results from an independent Google survey indicate that the site’s mobile-friendliness effects its profitability with 67% of the smartphone users stating that they’d be more likely to purchase from a business with a mobile friendly site, and 61% saying that they’d leave a site that wasn’t mobile friendly. These statistics indicate that having a mobile-friendly website is imperative for businesses, and when users cannot access the information that they want in a couple of easy clicks, they are going to move on.
How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
One of the best ways to approach creating a mobile friendly site is either to create a subdomain and build a mobile site for your users that is almost exactly the same as the full site but is a separate entity. However, this requires businesses to design two completely different websites, one for desktop functionality and the other for mobile users.
Another mobile website option is to implement responsive web design. When a website is responsively designed, it automatically adapts to the device that it is being viewed on; for example, if a customer is using safari on his or her iPad, it will automatically display a page optimized for iPad use. While this might be the best option as far as efficiency goes, creating a mobile website is going to be more work, and you will have to make decisions about how to organize and configure information for a mobile users.
Organizing Your Site for Mobile Browsing
There are five main things customers want from a mobile website:
- One or two clicks for more information
- A search bar
- Finger-friendly buttons
- Fits in the small screen
- Option to visit full, desktop site
When building a mobile website, you need to remember that not every piece of information is immediately necessary for the mobile viewer. In order to create an effective mobile site, you need to prioritize your information. Usually, mobile users are looking for basic contact information, such as an address or a phone number, and they want to be able to click and get directions or call.
Making your address and phone number easily accessible on your mobile homepage will make it easy for mobile users to get in contact with you. In addition, including a search box that viewers can use to access information quickly will increase your site’s utility for mobile users.
It is also important not to over-stack a mobile screen. Even though it is smaller, it is important to incorporate white space and prioritize your information with contrast. Making buttons clickable on a mobile screen is also really important. Users will not want to zoom in to click all the links or see the information; make sure your content and your buttons are accessible and readable.
In addition to optimizing your site for mobile browsing, you need to give users the option to access your full site if they want to. Because you are cutting out some of the information and functionality of your full site to make it compatible for mobile browsing, providing a link to your desktop site allows mobile browsers to access other information. However, it is important to carefully consider the information and functionality that your mobiles users will most likely need and make sure to include this in your mobile site design.
The Number of Mobile Users Is Increasing
With over 1 billion smartphones in use across the world, it is imperative that businesses optimize their websites for mobile browsing or they are limiting their online marketing and ecommerce capabilities. Either building a responsive website or a completely separate mobile site will work, just as long as you have a site that is functional and shows mobile users that you want their business.
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Burke, John. “Why You Should Redo Your Company Website with Responsive Design.” Sprout Insights. http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/11/why-responsive-design/. (16 May, 2013).
Burke, John. “Why Your Website Should Be Mobile-Friendly and How to Make Sure It Is.” Sprout Insights. http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2013/02/mobile-friendly-website-design/. (15 May, 2013).
McCann, T.A. “14 Tips for Building Mobile-Friendly Websites.” Gist. http://blog.gist.com/2012/06/21/14-tips-for-building-mobile-friendly-websites/. (15 May, 2013).