Website Tips

SIZE DOES MATTER with Website Design

Mobile Technology is revolutionizing how we market, communicate and advertise our products and services to the consumer.

Currently, 62% of consumers are purchasing goods via mobile devices.

Is your website mobile friendly?

When I say mobile ready, I am not referring merely to whether or not your website is designed to fit all screens. That is responsive website design. I am asking if your site optimized to enhance the mobile user experience?

The key feature of a mobile friendly website is to offer an experience that best suits the consumers needs and circumstances.

For starters, be sure that you have carefully considered the end users experience on your mobile site. Visitors to your website should be able to access information on your website, with any device, in a smooth and efficient manner.

Responsive website design is merely the FIRST step in ensuring a pleasant user experience.

Responsive website design utilizes a combination of web technologies like cascading style sheets (CSS) and JavaScript. These technologies allow the browser to look at the device the user is visiting your website with and then make a determination how the page should be fit. Responsive design ensures that users do not have to zoom in and out or move text side to side.

Mobile friendly design occurs on a SECOND step at the server level.

When developers adapt for mobile friendly design, the server is able to identify the devices being used when site visitors land on a website. The server can then deliver an enhanced version of the site to the mobile device. The advantage of using mobile friendly design is that not as much content is sent to the browser – thus offering a cleaner/simpler version to the end user.

Most content management systems (CMS) are designed to allow you to select which pages, options, and features to display on any site. When creating your menus, label one menu for desktop menu and another for mobile menu.

Additional Considerations for Optimized Mobile Design

1. User-Centered Approach. Consider the following questions when developing your optimized mobile website. What do our users want and how can we help them to achieve their goals using our mobile site? Have we ensured that your own business philosophy and mission is well constructed into our mobile website? Can our users make an educated purchasing decision about our company on our mobile device?

2. Load time. If your desktop website features large images that would slow the upload of your mobile version, either compress the images or remove them entirely from your mobile version.

3. Screen Size & Graphics. Consider using simple images for mobile design. If the images contain too much detail, your site visitors may not be able to make out those details on a smaller device.

4. Horizontal vs. Vertical. Mobile users tend to hold devices in a vertical position. Be sure to consider the layout in a North to South format vs. West to East. Yes, users can turn their devices to the side to better see your website if the design is horizontally developed – but the objective is to be mobile user-friendly and not require this of your site visitor.

5. Reduced Hierarchy. Create a mobile menu of maybe 5 key pages. Do not force your site visitors to try and delve through a labyrinth of a menu to find what page they are seeking. Small screens and large fingers make for a difficult mobile navigation. Limit the published pages on the mobile and use buttons instead of an intricate pull-down menu for your mobile visitors to use.

6. Phone Integration. Every mobile website should have a phone icon on the homepage! If a web user has landed on your mobile website and prefers to talk to a representative – the option to place a call should be readily available.

7. Links & Buttons. Utilize fewer hyperlinks on your mobile website. Place all hyperlinks in a button or heading sized text for ease of use. The end user is able to identify the hyperlink much easier and access without mistakenly hitting something else.

Mobile User Case Study

The following is a case study creating a personal, setting up the scenario and then applying the site to use.

  • Persona. Sally is a professional working divorcee with two children and a demanding job. Her job requires her to travel often and her children are active in after school activities. She has an extremely busy lifestyle, she is technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies. Her key motivator in life is time management. She strives to find a balance between work and family.
  • Scenario. Sally is headed to a business convention. She needs to learn about your company (who will be attending the same convention). Sally will perform her background search while in transit to the conference.
  • Case Use. Sally will perform a search on Google (via her mobile device). She will peruse the search results as they are displayed on her small screen. She clicks onto your site and a mobile version of your website is uploaded. She searches your menu for the “About Us” page. The “About Us” page uploads and Sally scans over it for pertinent information. Will your attendance at the same conference be acknowledged? Is there a “FIND US AT CONFERENCE XYZ” button with an attachment. After all, Sally will be seeking a hyperlink or file to save on her phone as a resource for when she needs to locate you at the convention.

Would your mobile site contain all the features necessary to make Sally’s experience a positive one? Will it be easily discovered by Google? Will Sally be able to easily navigate and locate a business snapshot on your mobile website? Can Sally save or download content to reference later, when necessary?

To summarize. When we are talking about responsive design for website development, it is not just making sure that your website fits all screens.

Effective mobile friendly website design is combining a number of different technologies with your own business objectives to achieve an optimal mobile experience for your end user.

So, I will ask again, Is your website responsive and optimized for mobile users?

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