According to Q3 2011 State of the Internet report, by 2014 mobile browsing will be more common than desktop browsing across the globe. Across all countries and demographics, mobile stats across all major categories have been growing consistently year over year.
What does this mean for your business, and your website?
1. Mobile is used differently than your full site
Cramming your full-sized site into a mobile template is not the answer. The key here is to optimize: look at the site from your customer’s perspective and figure out what the important information is that they need on a mobile device. In the case of a shopping mall, the store directory, mall specials, contact information and special events are the key points of interest for shoppers. Keep it simple and clean.
2. Mobile sites are a user-friendly version of your full site
If you’ve ever experienced a full sized website on a 3” smartphone screen you’ll understand the frustration of navigating something designed for a computer screen. Font’s become unreadable, and until you pinch and zoom, you scroll back and forth across the screen because you’re navigating with your fingers, not a mouse. It’s simply a mess. Mobile sites should be clean and clutter free, using large buttons and big, clear images.
3. Cross-platform compatible
In 2010 we looked at the benefits and drawbacks of app development, and have been keeping a close eye on the situation ever since. Why we’d recommend having a mobile optimized site instead is to save money. Unlike custom apps, mobile sites work on most devices and don’t require updates each time a new software upgrade is released for all the different smartphones on the market. This will result in long-term cost savings.
4. Speed up the process
No matter what the mobile carriers tell you, surfing the web on a mobile device is slower than being physically plugged into a cable. Meaning a mobile optimized site will load faster, and visitors can find what they want sooner. Less is more.
The great part about mobile sites is that they can be updated quickly and efficiently, pulling information from the same database as your website. This important point here is that when updates are made to your website, they will happen on your mobile site, keeping your information and look fresh!
6. Mobile sites prevent Flash-related catastrophes
There is a time and place for Flash, but it definitely isn’t the ideal choice for mobile sites, as iPad and iPhone users get a blank screen where Flash objects normally appear. A Flash-based website with videos, games or other interactive features can greatly enhance a user’s experience; however, if you choose to use Flash on your website, there should be a mobile-friendly version of that page that will display to Apple users.
Examples of excellent mobile sites:
Here are a few sites we recommend visiting on your smart phone, to experience the magic that is mobile web browsing. They’re easy to read, touch and navigate from even the smallest mobile screens!
Mobile is still new to many industries, but there is now an opportunity to jump in and figure out what works for your brand. At the end of the day each great mobile site shares two common threads: simplicity and ease of use. Happy mobile browsing.