For the first time in history, more users now access the web from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) than they do from desktops or notebooks.
According to Reuters, 75% of internet use in 2017 is from mobile devices. Google states that 80% of the population today uses a smartphone and 50% of web searches are exclusively done on those smartphones.
That same study by Google states that although people who use laptops and desktop computers have specific times that they use them, there is no off time for smartphone usage. Smartphone users are consistently searching the internet 15 out of 24 hours in any given day and the average smartphone user is on their smartphone a minimum of 3 hours a day.
Website developers and professionals have been preaching to business owners for nearly a decade about the importance of having a mobile website. However, with mobile now accounting for the majority of users, this is no longer a suggestion, it’s an absolute necessity.
However, with this new trend comes some unique challenges when creating a mobile-friendly website and some of those challenges go against traditional website development ideology.
1. Make It Easy For The User To Read
We all know how frustrating it can be when you visit a website on your smartphone and you can’t easily read it. We sit there pinching and resizing the page just to get the information that we are looking for. Most people will only tolerate that for a few seconds at best before they head off to find an easier to read site that doesn’t need so much work.
Making your site mobile-friendly requires the use of different font sizes than you would use on a traditional website. The general consensus is that a mobile site should use at least a font size of 14px. This size makes it easier for the user to read without having to zoom in on the page and it reduces frustration.
2. Make It Easy For The User To Take Action
When creating your mobile site you need to think like a mobile user and anticipate their unique needs. Mobile users are predominately only using their thumbs and their index fingers to navigate around your mobile site. There is very little margin for error when they are trying to navigate things on their screen.
Some good things to incorporate on your mobile site are the utilization of buttons, drop down menus, or checklists in order for users to take action. Traditional sites may ask the users to type in responses in order to take action but on a mobile site the task of typing is a bit more complex and frustrating.
Keep in mind that many times a mobile user is just that, mobile, and they are looking to find answers and achieve tasks quickly and easily. Your task is to make that goal achievable for them or they will go elsewhere to get the information they are looking for.
3. Simplify The Pages
On traditional websites there’s a certain leeway for adding all sorts of extra bits and pieces to create variety and intrigue. However, a mobile site is not the place for clutter, widgets, or intense text.
Keep the pages simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Mobile users, more than others, want to be able to find the information they’re looking for without having to search too hard for it. By virtue, they are usually on the go and don’t have time to sift through the extra fancy bits to find what they are looking for. They want answers and they want them now. Plain and simple.
Two key features to incorporate into your mobile site are large buttons that allow users to navigate to the other pages on the site easily as well as breaking the content on your site into little individual chunks rather than one massive page of material. These two things can go a long way to creating a more relaxing browsing experience for your users.
4. Don’t Use Pop-Ups
Pop-ups have become standard fare on traditional websites but they have no place on mobile sites. It’s hard enough to navigate on and respond to calls to action on mobile sites due to the small size of the screen without having to deal with the constant barrage of messages popping up in the middle of a task.
If your mobile site makes a habit of using pop-ups that disrupt the user’s interaction with the site, after a while most users will leave and not come back out of frustration.
It’s best not to use pop-ups at all on a mobile site because they do not add to the mobile users’ experience. They only distract from it.
5. Make Essential Information Easy To Locate And Use
Now this is a standard must-do for all websites regardless of the size but when it comes to mobile-friendly sites it is unforgivable if forgotten.
Most mobile users who come to your site are looking for quick information like your business phone number, address, business hours, or email and generally they need it now.
Make sure this vital information is easily found without much, if any, searching. Having a simple button labeled “Contact Us” that leads to a page with that specific information will make mobile users not only happy but it will encourage them to use it.
6. Make Use Of Geo-Location Mobile Technology
Mobile users are usually on the go a lot and if they are looking for your business many times they will be looking for directions to your physical location.
The use of Geo-Location is a feature that you’ve no doubt seen yourself. It generally has a little link that says ‘Get Directions’ and once you click on it you’re taken to Google maps or some other mapping site where you can get step-by-step directions right on your phone. Mobile users are getting use to and depending on this technology so make sure you take advantage of that as well.
If your business has a physical address or storefront make sure your mobile users can click a link or button to easily get directions and maps to it. Make it easy for them to come to you.
7. Use High Resolution Images
It may be counter-intuitive to some because the logic is that the smaller the screen the less important it is to use high resolution images. However, the opposite is actually true. It’s becoming more important with each passing day.
Why? Because with every passing day new smartphones and tablets are utilizing better and better high definition technology on their screens. In the past lower resolution images couldn’t really be detected but with today’s technology it’s the first thing that jumps out at mobile users.
Not paying attention to the resolution of your images on your mobile site can make you and your business look unprofessional and sloppy to the viewers of your site. Take the extra time and effort to address this issue from the start.
8. Make Sure Your Mobile Site Loads Fast
Data from Google Double Click states that 53% of mobile websites are abandoned if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 1 out of 2 people expect a page to load in less that 2 seconds. As you can see, mobile users are not a patient bunch. They want what they want now and not a second later.
For this reason it’s vitally important that your mobile site loads quickly and accurately. The longer it takes to load the more your mobile customers will turn to your competitors’ sites with fast load times.
9. Test Your Mobile Site on Different Types Of Devices
This one should be a given however many people feel that if it works on one platform it will work on all platforms. That logic is absolutely incorrect. Every platform utilizes slightly different operating systems and programming. Those slight differences can cause disparities between the different mobile devices.
For example, there can be huge differences between the way a website displays on an iPhone versus an Android phone versus a Windows phone. The same is true for the different types and brands of tablets that are out today.
Thorough testing of how your mobile site comes across on all types of devices will make sure that it is easily accessed by all types of mobile users and exposes your business to the maximum amount of mobile eyeballs.
These are just a few of the top mobile website designing tips to be aware of. Making sure that your mobile site complies with these 9 items will help to ensure that you get the most return on investment from it and that your mobile customers aren’t left frustrated and looking for someone else to serve them.