By now you’ve certainly heard all the stats regarding mobile internet use: how half a million people, and counting, access the web via mobile device, how 70 percent of the world’s population has a mobile phone, and how 85 percent of these are equipped to browse. Mobile search is growing, and it pays to help your business grow with it. Designing a mobile-friendly site is essential for today’s businesses.
Having a site that is intended to be viewed from a laptop or desktop gives the web designer tremendous latitude: you can include Flash, graphics, video, text, links, and other features that consumers want. If you take a site that is meant for a 15-inch screen and shrink it to 3.5 inches, you have a crowded mess that mobile users are not going to bother with – assuming it will even load, which is a big “if.” Mobile users interact with the web differently. They want fast information, not all the pretty extras that come with it. Mobile users are more likely to search for information, such as addresses, phone numbers, driving directions, and menus.
Designing a mobile-friendly website means thinking like a mobile user: you want to make your site lean and mean, without making it austere or unfriendly. How do you do this?
- Don’t embed links in tiny in-text places. Mobile users won’t be able to click through.
- Cut down on any extraneous imagery and text. Keep it short and simple.
- Provide a drop-down menu rather than making users type into a text box.
- Have the most relevant information readily available.
- List your phone number, email, and/or address on each page – remember, local searchers are trying to find you.
- Build quality content with targeted (and short) keywords. Mobile searchers use fewer and shorter search terms in their queries.
- Test your mobile site on online emulators before you launch it. You want to make sure it works across different platforms.