Mobile use is growing at an incredible rate and Smartphones are flying off the shelves. It’s likely you know this already. So how do you design a website that is mobile friendly? Or perhaps more importantly, how do you rejig, reformat and rethink your existing website when creating a mobile version?
First off, face facts: no matter how great your website is, traditional desktop pages will never be as effective on small, touch-screen displays. Traditional web design techniques just don’t work for mobiles. Furthermore, the mindset of the mobile user is different than the mindset of the traditional surfer, so you have to target mobile users differently. It sounds complicated, we know. But we’ve been thinking about it and we’ve put together a list of key things to keep in mind when creating a mobile site (no matter what business you’re in).
Navigation is paramount
Mobile users are impatient and it’s likely that they’ve come to your mobile site for a specific reason. If they can’t find what they’re looking for right away — in less than three seconds — they may go elsewhere. Therefore you need good navigational tools for mobile success. Title the items in your nav bar, clearly, simply and obviously and never use pictures at the cost of navigational choices. Your mobile site is about answers, not pretty content. Oh, and take advantage of as many navigational tools as possible. Breadcrumbs, filters and jump links will make your mobile site easier to use.
Speed matters (a lot)
We’ve already said it, but we’ll say it again: mobile users are impatient. They’re into instant gratification. So page loading times are really significant for them. A mobile user is unlikely to wait 10 seconds for your site to load, so make sure your mobile site works fast. Test loading times extensively before you launch.
Be goal oriented
While your traditional website may be designed to tell visitors everything they might want to know about your organization, your mobile site shouldn’t be. A mobile site should target one (or maybe two) specific goals. If visitors want to know more, they can visit your full site later. When using a mobile device on the go, it’s likely they simply want an answer to a specific question. Find out what that question is most likely to be and answer it. Don’t pad your mobile content with any extraneous.
Give ‘em options
Despite everything we’ve said above, it’s important to offer mobile users the option of seeing your full site via their mobile device. Create a button (or similar) that allows them to switch to “full website view” and locate this button at the top of your mobile page(s). Why? Because regular visitors to your site may be disoriented by your mobile design and may want to see something more familiar. And you don’t want to offend or disorient your existing fans. It should be their choice.