A web design firm's perspectives on beautiful website design, content generation, and Search Engine Optimization; including insights on branding and low budget/no budget marketing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Are you mobile ready?

Are you ready for your mobile audience?

Only 21% of all businesses on the web can answer yes to that question.

A mobile optimized website is a necessary component to any successful digital marketing campaign.  With  more than 5.3 billion mobile subscribers (77% of the world population) how can you afford not to have a mobile website? One of the most common misconceptions surrounding mobile websites is that most companies already think they have one:

"I can see it on my iPhone, so isn't it mobile already?"

Seeing your full website on a mobile device is cumbersome for the mobile user.  Some forms don't work properly or are just too small to navigate on a mobile device.  Are you willing to risk missing leads because your form doesn't work on anything other than a traditional desktop computer?

The following are a few points of consideration when getting ready to develop your own mobile site:

  1. Take Advantage of Mobile Functions Today's smartphones are incredible.  Take advantage of the interactivity through touchscreens, sound, and location.  You content should be customized to leverage the different ways of interacting on a mobile device - think about the iPhone's mapping feature, or number-touch to call.
  2. Know What's Relevant Not all of your traditional website content will make sense to feature on your mobile website.  Are you a restaurant? Highlight your menu, phone number, and map to your location - leave out the rest.  Think about what people want the most when they are on the go.  Your mobile site is for finger-tip access to your most relevant content.
  3. Optimize and Build Accordingly The mobile environment is like a throwback to the early day's of the internet.  Keep in mind that the network connections are much slower and that will extend loading times beyond that of desktop browsing.  Your site has to load quickly enough to keep visitors from leaving and never returning.  Graphics should be kept to a minimum, and the size of your site will be much, much smaller to accommodate smaller screens.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when designing your site:
  • Avoid Flash - it's largely incompatible with mobile designs.
  • Don't forget the redirect - you should have a redirect code implemented to redirect any and all visitors who are on a mobile device, this URL will be directly connected to your website.
  • Keep branding consistent - This should go without saying, but your target needs to recognize you so keep your branding cues in check. 
  • Test it in every phone browser possible - Different phones render sites differently - you always want to make sure your visitor is seeing a quality website regardless of the device they are using. 
Mobile sites come with many different uses and reasons, make sure you know what you want to achieve.  Here are the four main executions we see in mobile website development:

  1. Mobile Version of Existing Site - Present your content to users in a condensed format that is specifically designed on a platform for mobile browsing.
  2. Landing Pages - Created to leverage an existing marketing campaign.  Redirecting someone to this page which may not even be a part of your traditional website but was developed specifically to reach the mobile visitor.
  3. Dedicated Mobile Site - Completely stand-alone solution.  Typically developed as a brochure-type site dedicated to reaching only the mobile audience - usually have their own designs and marketing strategies to promote as an independent site.
  4. Plug-in based Mobile Site - Several open-source website development platforms have plug-in's developed to format sites for mobile audiences.
Join the Mobile revolution.  Look at your website on your phone. Does it make sense? Does it take awhile to load? Is the content relevant?

© 2011, White Radish Design. All rights reserved. The material presented here is copyright by White Radish Design. Reprinting or reproduction is prohibited without the express written consent of White Radish Design.