Every organization should be concerned about mobile website design. Remember the days when you would run to your computer and wait for the dial-up connection before you could view your web page? And then came high-speed internet, where waiting was no longer an inconvenience to Internet surfers. Today, we are not only able to view web pages from our phones, tablets and other mobile devices…but we spend more time on these devices than ever before.
Here are some numbers to back up this claim:
- 86% of mobile internet users are using their mobile device while watching television
- Americans spend 2.7 hours per day on their mobile device (on average)
- ½ of all local searches are performed on mobile devices
Marketers must find a way to reach this new customer base, and that involves implementing a mobile marketing strategy. This means responsive web design. What is responsive web design? It’s an approach that involves designing a website so that it is optimally viewed on a wide range of devices including desktop, phones and other mobile devices. Why use this approach? In Jeffrey Veen’s words, “Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.” Responsive web design involves fluid grids, flexible images and media queries.
Currently, the largest responsive web design project is in the hands of The Boston Globe Awwwards recognize a few of the best responsive design websites of 2014.
Set a Goal
Let’s hone in on mobile website design. The first thing to consider when building a mobile site is your objective. What is it you want this site to accomplish, what do you want it to do for users? This objective should remain consistent throughout.
You want to make sure you understand your audience, and also know what types of mobile devices they are using. This year, of the 4.55 billion people using a mobile phone, 1.75 billion of them are smartphone users…that’s one in every 5 people. Still, there is a large majority of people who do not use a smartphone for day-to-day use. Consider the types of mobile devices when designing your website: how fast is the internet connection? In what position and what size will navigation be most effective? Will they fill out a form? In what size will the copy be easily read? These are all important things to consider when building a mobile site.
Content is still key, even in a smaller viewing area. Even though users may have a desktop computer available, they might choose to search on their phone. Does this mean they’re looking for different content? Not exactly. Mobile users still want to see the information they would expect to find on the desktop version of the site. Keep the core content consistent and keep in mind what users are visiting your site for. (Remember: the objective you established pre-design.)
Test Your Design
It’s a simple concept that will give you loads in return. Do your graphics take up too much space? Is vertical or horizontal navigation more effective? Do users prefer a serif or sans serif font? Test different layouts, grids, type, graphics and colors. See which options trigger positive responses and implement changes as necessary. It’s also important to run tests to make sure your web page renders as you expected it to. Imagine losing 30 percent of web traffic because your page didn’t show up on mobile – not worth it! Take a look at this blog written by Treehouse to learn how and where to test your mobile website.
With 75% of customers preferring a mobile friendly site, building a responsive website that is user-friendly and functional should not be a question. Here are a few other notes to keep in mind when designing your site; users are looking for:
- information within a couple clicks
- a mobile page that fits their screen
- an easy-to-use search bar
- the option of viewing the full site
- larger buttons
- links to call, email and share on social
- up and down scrolling, not left or right
These are just a few of the reasons why you should consider creating a mobile-responsive website. As you embark upon making your website mobile-friendly, you'll probably need to redesign it.