It won’t be long before more people are accessing the Internet using a mobile device than a personal computer. Is your company ready to receive a surge in mobile users?
Projections show mobile Internet users will overtake PC users by the end of the year. And while mobile devices make Internet browsing more convenient, mobile users aren’t willing to sacrifice web page functionality for that convenience.
In fact, one study by Google found that 61% of customers using mobile devices will head for another site if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. On the flip side, when a site is mobile-friendly, 74% of visitors say they’re more likely to return to it, and 67% say they’re more likely to buy the site’s products or services.
Bottom line: If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re losing customers to the competition. So how can you improve your site for mobile users?
1. Be conscious of layout
There are a couple ways you can modify your site to optimize its compatibility with mobile devices. One way is to use a responsive template. A responsive template recognizes the devise a visitor is using and sends that visitor a version of the site optimized for their device — which makes text, links, and buttons easier to navigate. The downside: responsive templates require some IT resources to implement.
Another option would be to design a new site exclusively for mobile devices. This is generally done by constructing the site with all of its content in a single column. This will not only ensure the site renders well on a mobile device, it also creates a site that’s functional for PC users.
If you’re going to go the single-column route, you can also offer PC users a link at the top to a more traditional version of your site.
2. Reduce load time and improve functionality
Load time can usually be improved by using fewer images. The benefits of using fewer — or smaller — images are three-fold:
- It decreases the size of your site, which means it’ll load faster on mobile devices
- The site will require a visitor to use less of their mobile plan’s data, and
- It’ll increase white space, making your page easier on the eyes for mobile users.
In addition to load time, functionality plays a key role in a mobile user’s experience with your site. Some keys to improving functionality:
- Design for the finger tap by keeping links far apart
- Make sure any page on your site can be found in one or two clicks
- Put a search bar at the top of the page, and
- Keep font size in mind. As we’ve mentioned before, text should be at least 12 pixels, but optimal text size will vary by user device (Apple recommends 17 to 22 pixels for iPhones).
3. Eliminate the extraneous
Pop-ups and redirects are more frustrating and annoying on a mobile device. Like with photos, consider whether or not videos are necessary. At this point, there are a few video formats that are incompatible with some mobile devices. Apple’s iPad, for example, is incompatible with Flash videos.
Also, minimize the need to pinch or scroll, and try to limit scrolling to only two directions: either up and down, or left and right.