Mobile and Web Design: A True Partnership
It’s no big secret that web design is changing. The big changes facing web design in the coming years are directly fueled by the types of devices today’s web surfers are using to access sites. According to a recent report by NetMarketShare, as of November 2012 mobile devices accounted for over 10% of all web surfing. This means more users are accessing websites from mobile devices than at any point in the history of the web. What this also means is that sites that aren’t mobile-centric may be losing, or ignoring, a huge chunk of potential site visitors. Businesses shouldn’t view mobile web design as a foreign challenge to their site’s design, but as a helpful companion.
Five Mobile Design Considerations
1.Your Site is Now an Application – For all intents and purposes your website is a mobile application. Users will access it and expect it to function easily and a lot like a mobile application in an app store. In fact, you may want to sit down with your team and determine the value of a dedicated mobile app for your website that directs traffic back to your main site.
2.If Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Ready, Recalibrate – Some businesses with an older site might resist this idea that their site should be mobile-centric. What often happens is that these same businesses design their mobile site to match their older website, and not the other way around. But even the largest companies with the most massive site structures are seeing the value of re-calibrating site design for mobile. In fact, it was recently announced that Facebook intends to make the user experience seamless for their users regardless of the device. Your business needs to follow their lead to stay competitive.
3.Design Your Mobile Site Around Conversions – The only reason you would even want to design a mobile site is to reach more users/customers/subscribers. Design your mobile site or app in a way that nudges your customers through your conversion funnel.
4.Mobile Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Complex – Actually, the opposite is true. Mobile design should be a lot simpler than your main website. There are many ways to accomplish this, but you can start by not trying to fill every white space with content. It also helps to use smaller files to prevent extended load times that tend to drive users away.
5.Make Your Mobile Site Respond – Lastly, your mobile site needs to be responsive. This is a big trend that has taken shape in the last few years. Responsive design functions on the reality that no two users will access your site from the same device. This means that your site must scale to fit a laptop, desktop, tablet PC, smartphone and just about any other type of computing device used to access your website.
You’re Probably Running Out of Excuses, but That’s OK
At this point in the game, if you’re resistant to the idea of mobile design you’re only hurting your business. Remember that statistic at the beginning of this post? Over 10% of web users are accessing your website with a mobile device. That means out of every 1000 site visitors, you’re alienating over 100 potential customers. Mobile design isn’t about being hip or following a web design trend. It’s really about making it easy for people to find you from wherever they are in the world.