Smartphones and tablets have become our on-the-go computer in just the past 5 years alone. In fact, 55% of those who own smartphones use it to go online. What does this say? It says that we’ve become mobile users finding less of a need to even use an actual desktop computer to look up something. Personally, I know if I’m asked to look up movie times or directions (even if I’m home) I’ll just whip out my phone and use an app or ask Siri. Just like that the task is done.
So what about websites? Here’s the thing, the same website you view on a desktop won’t be viewed the same on a mobile device because it is too complex. How many times have you viewed a website from your phone and it is just impossible to read or find anything? Believe it or not, websites do need to be optimized to be viewed on a phone or tablet effectively.
One key thing to remember is that if someone is viewing a site on their phone or tablet, it’s because they are mobile and need to find something quickly like an address or phone number. Keep in mind that the screen is also much smaller than a desktop. Ultimately, the experience needs to be different and simple.
How can I change my website?
Keep it simple. You want the site to load quickly and if there is too much going on, that slows down the process and the user won’t even bother at that point. Make sure your navigation is clean and easy to understand, and use larger buttons to keep it “thumb-friendly”.
Choose your most valuable content that is essential for a potential client, customer, or employee to know. If you are in the creative industry, a portfolio is essential, in addition to the services you provide. Include a phone number and an address that can link to Google or Apple Maps.
An example of a simple mobile site is Facebook which brings you directly to your news feed in a clean format. You don’t see the side bars unless you call for it with the menu. That’s because using Facebook on your phone is usually to just quickly check out the news feed.
Our very own mobile website is also a good example because it is responsive, meaning it will adjust to a phone or tablet size, and features the services in an easy to read format.
An element to include is an option to view the full site on the phone. Yes, even though you worked so hard on this mobile site, there is always that someone who wants information you didn’t display or make readily accessible. In cases like that, a person will want to view the entire website on their phone.
Things to avoid:
You want to avoid Flash because many smartphones don’t support flash and don’t intend to in the near future. Also Java because it creates a slower loading time, and excessive text entry fields for those who have trouble typing on a smartphone. Instead of text entry fields, opt for check boxes or drop down menus when possible.
Why should I create a mobile site?
In addition to your website being easy to use and read by going mobile, there are a couple other incentives for optimizing your website.
When you Google search a website on your mobile device, it shows the mobile sites first, then the sites not optimized follow after. Don’t you want to be among the first found in Google?
Most importantly, you will make yourself readily available to anyone who wants to see what your company is about, that means clients and customers. A mobile site loads faster and has essential information right on that home page, so they can find your services, phone number, or address. No matter what they are looking for, the point you want to make is to make it easy to access because being on-the-go, you don’t really have time to sit and wait for that site to load.
Think about it, access to a computer isn’t always available, but access to your smartphone is. So the real question should be, why wouldn’t you create a mobile website?
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester based NY web design firm specializing in social media, mobile apps, SEO, web and graphic design and much more.