By the end of 2014, 51% of website visitors were using their mobile phones to access the internet. This paradigm shift has been a long time coming and it’s a shift that has big repercussions for business everywhere.
With so many visitors now using small screens for Internet browsing, it’s important that your website is designed with this in mind. Smaller displays mean less real estate to fit the same amount of information, and touch screens mean links and buttons need to be larger to accommodate finger presses.
Clearly, simply shrinking a website designed for a monitor ten times wider isn’t always going to cut it!
Responsive Website Design
This is where ‘responsive’ website design comes in. Rather than finding a look for a website to try and suit many different screen sizes, responsive design allows the website to adapt and rearrange the content intelligently. So, no matter what device a visitor is using to see your website, it’s always going to look great and promote maximum usability (try visiting our website on your smart phone; you’ll see the layout change to fit the smaller screen.)
Responsive website design is also becoming more important for SEO. Recently Google implemented a change in their search engine for mobile, where websites without a responsive element would see their ranking penalised.
Mobile Websites are an Opportunity
There is a trend in mobile computing toward simple, quick interactions, designed for efficiency. Websites such as Amazon have leapt on this opportunity; their ‘one-click’ purchase facility has made buying through their mobile site and app as quick and simple as can be, which improves sales and customer retention.
Even if your website doesn’t sell online, any form of call to action can be enhanced with a version specifically for mobile;
- Contact, callback and signup forms inserted directly into pages, rather than by following links to separate pages
- Icons in place of text, helping those who may not have much time to read overly wordy descriptions
- larger fonts and bolder imagery, to fully utilise the screen and make information clearer to the user
Usability is King
If a visitor comes to your website from a desktop or laptop computer, odds are that they’ve been able to sit down and have fewer distractions. However, if a visitor is using a mobile phone, much fewer assumptions can be made about their situation.
Maybe they’re walking outside, and bright sunlight will make anything but the clearest text and imagery difficult to discern. Perhaps they have just a few seconds to make an order on your website, before they loose signal on the train. Or loud or distracting surrounds could make it difficult to concentrate on overly complex passages of text. A good responsive website will take all of this into account and make your website as easy to use as possible - encouraging visitor conversion and retention.
Mobile Design First, Desktop Design Later
The change in mobile visiting numbers has also prompted a change in the website development industry. Separate from the technical aspects of programming a layout that is responsive, designers are starting to design websites for mobile screens first. It makes sense to do things this way because instead of ‘squashing’ a desktop version of a website into a smaller space, this way elements should sit more naturally from the get go.
This change means that more and more websites have a good mobile layout, but it also means that the desktop version of those websites are starting to display the same sort of design ethos. The result is cleaner pages, bolder imagery and copy, and a focus on efficient interactions, on both mobile and desktop website designs.
If your website could benefit from an appraisal, get in touch at www.source-design.co.uk and we’d be happy to advise on how to get your website mobile.