Every time the latest search engine report comes out about how people are utilizing search on mobile devices you why are many websites not mobile friendly. The other question is why treat mobile as a second class citizen when more people are using search on mobile devices than desktop devices. We build every site in a mobile first thought process using responsive web design (RWD).
There are two ways to build a website no matter which languages a web designer uses. You have a responsive site where the site resizes, changes, and adapts to the size of the users device. The other is to write a specific site for mobile, one for tablets, one for desktops, etc. This type of design causes more maintenance, different appearances, and often different content between the different sized devices. This can provide an inconsistent branding experience in many cases as well as increase the overall cost of a website initially and in on-going maintenance. Both types of designs are used and each does have benefits. We will not be delving into the pros and cons of these two development methods. Rather we will cover why having a mobile site is important as well as what are the core features to have an exceptional mobile experience.
Yes, the first area we are talking about is security. The reason for this is that the protection of your customer should be paramount on your mind. Whether you are using a mobile device, your bank card, etc. security for your customers is ever more important. With the holiday season fast approaching people will be thinking of this more than ever. Don't become the next "Target", Home Depot, or Chase Bank security breach. The size of your company doesn't matter either and this does go beyond just mobile. Your desktop environment and anything that grabs customer information needs to be protected. Not just for your customer but for the trust of your brand.
Speed is a Major Factor
Another factor is the amount of "round trips" that are made to a server. A round trip is when you need to view a piece of information from a website. This can be a file, a font, or an image. You have to tell the server you want this information and then it is sent to you. If you have a beautifully crafted WordPress or other site that has a dozen plugins and even more images your site could be slow based on having to download all of that information.
The navigation and how a person is able to navigate your site whether it be a desktop or mobile device is paramount. A user makes a decision within the first 30 seconds to stay on your site or leave. This time is critical and important to achieving greatness with your customer.
Fonts for Readability
When on any device having a font that is easy to read is extremely important. For mobile content it is even more important as the text size is smaller than a desktop or laptop. Your content shouldn't require that the user zoom in (pinch and zoom) to read every piece of text on your web pages.
Limit the Images and Multimedia Content
This is a tie in with the Speed is a Major Factor above as the more images you have within your site the slower your site will be. Videos also on your site can be great for getting information across. Just don't auto-play them! We try to keep videos to one, two at most, on any given page. A video will automatically make one round trip as well as when it is playing a continuous stream of content flowing to the user.
Flash; Really you are still using it?
Technology changes and evolves each day and especially each year. Flash is at "end of life" for many reasons. There is a huge influx of security notices every month. Flash requires that it be installed and not every device supports Flash on mobile (e.g. only Android does!). Apple users are more prevalent so why build a website with a technology that misses the largest market that also likes to spend money?
OMG; yes we said OMG. We hate these things on the desktop and even more so on mobile devices. The experience they create for the end user is a truly aweful one. Avoid popping up these if at all possible. Yes, you might get fewer people to subscribe to your mailing list but if that's why you have a popup you are truly "doing it wrong". If you wish to have people subscribe to your mailing list then do some A/B testing and create an experience, provide quality content, and make them want to subscribe to your newsletter.
Balance the amount of information displayed on each page. Your users will be scrolling horizontally throughout the page. There is nothing worse than scrolling forever to read an article or product information that could be reduced to a short amount. Although clicking requires another page load it does stop that infinite scrolling. Think through first how you would use the site, contact your current customers, and adjust to a tolerable level of content.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
With search so prevalent we would be a miss to leave out the search engines. With Structured Meta Data you can provide latitude/longitude and other pertinent information to the search engines. This meta data the user doesn't see. It's behind the scenes information that helps the search engines display information based on a users geographic location. Make certain your site has this hidden and often forgotten data.
If we're talking search engines we also need to talk about social media. Being social is an important part of being on the Internet today. Although we encourage everyone to get out and talk with those around you (you know old school social media) the new modern online way is equally important. Provide the right amount of social media tools on your site so people can share and communicate about your business.
When it comes to mobile as well as desktop a key component is providing revalent contact information for your users. This information should be easy to find and usable. When we say usable the address should have the proper meta data in it that a user can click on an address and it pulls up directions to your business. Another would be the ability to click on a phone number and the user is prompted to dial your business for restaurant reservations, customer support, or whatever information they are looking for.
Our last area we will talk about is having quality content. In many ways we have already covered this in the previous areas. We have said since day one that your website is an employee. It needs to properly sell your business in a way that you would want your regular employees to sell your business. This means keeping the information updated and current. Your website should be selling what you want, when you want, and how you want.
A website needs respond and adapt to a users size. Whether the user is on a desktop, tablet or mobile device providing an intuitive interface and the right balance of information is key to the success of your online business. For assistance from a company that does this every day of the week and are true experts call us at 855-456-2669, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our online contact form.