Optimising Your Mobile Site
In today’s world, desktop and laptop PC sales are virtually in free fall.
The reduction in sales of these traditional computers has been a direct consequence of the rise in tablet, phablet, and smartphone ownership. It is with smartphone in hand that most people today are surfing the web whilst on the go. Train travels and bus rides are no longer the monotonous experiences they once were – where once eyes would have been focused out of the window, they are now drawn to the glass screens of their devices.
(Image by Statista)
Consequently, the internet has become a powerful medium for those looking to connect with existing or potential clients. A mobile optimized website is more important than ever.
The main drawback of mobile devices compared with the comparatively older mediums of PCs and laptops can be broadly described as follows:
- Screen size – the screen resolution of portable devices are much smaller.
- Internet connection speed – Even the 4G connectivity of many of the latest mobile devices coupled with the latest mobile networks does not reach the speed of existing broadband Internet connections.
- Cost of surfing – Mobile Internet access is still more costly than broadband access
- Processor Speed – Due to the extremely compact nature of most devices, their raw power and speed has yet to reach anywhere near that of current laptop and desktop computers, slowing down experiences.
As a result, for mobile sites to have a similar impact to the more traditional, larger sites, dedicated mobile websites must be optimized to compensate for their deficiencies.
There are numerous ways to optimize your mobile site and to ensure your visitors will put their fingers where you want them to.
Go Easy on the Bandwidth
Many users of mobile devices are on plans with their carriers that have both a time and capacity limits on browsing. With penalty rates for use above and beyond these limits, you must be conscious of your customer when designing your mobile site.
Large pictures, graphics and heavy background colors may make great viewing on a larger resolutions, and a solid wired or wifi connection. However with the limited download speed of most mobile signals, and the extortionate associated data costs it isn’t quite so wise. Taking longer to download and eating up the users’ often limited capacity.
These factors will result in users not utilizing your site to it’s full potential from their mobile devices.
If you want to play on the safe side, use can Google’s advanced insights for optimizing mobile websites. Head over to Google’s Page Speed Analysis and pay attention to the “Mobile” section.
It namely refers to tactics of reducing images load time and browser cache.
Simply head over to this URL: http://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=example.com
And replace “example.com” with your website’s URL.
User Friendly Sites Rule
A similar rule for desktop websites applies for mobile sites; the site must be user friendly for it to be successful. What does user friendly mean for a mobile site? From our experience, people prefer to scroll vertically rather than horizontally.
Therefore, make sure that the contents of the site are optimized so that users will not have to scroll horizontally. This will usually require the use of a template with a single column layout.
Similarly, as users are often using mobile devices on the go under less than optimal circumstances, make sure that you have selected a font that is easy to read and ensure that the font size is appropriate for the required purpose.
For the same reason, links, calls to action and other clickable areas should have sufficient space around them so that the user will not click on the wrong item by mistake.
Your mobile site need not be inferior to your regular site in every way. You can utilize features of the mobile device to make the user experience is more fulfilling and more beneficial to yourself. On the landing page, place a Click-to-Call Button as well as a Maps and Directions Button. These are dynamic forms of call to action.
Keep it Simple
People who visit your mobile site are usually after specific information such as your contact details, product details, or details of distributors.
Therefore you should remove all superfluous information from the site such as: mission statements, highly technical data, and careers information. However, make sure to provide a link to your regular site for those who require the more detailed information.
Consistency and Courtesy
Make sure that your mobile site is consistent in terminology and color scheme with your regular site. Also, avoid the use of scripting languages, such as Flash, that are not compatible across all operating systems.
To aid users who block image downloads to preserve bandwidth, add alt-tags for pictures. If you do use pictures, make sure they are small so as to conserve bandwidth.
A well designed and executed mobile website should perfectly augment your regular site. If you have performed this task well, there is no reason for your mobile site to cannibalize your regular site just as mobile devices have taken market share from larger devices.