In the last couple of years there has been a real explosion in the use of mobile devices to search the Internet. There are more than four billion mobile devices worldwide, and some industry experts predict there will be a smart phone for every person on the planet in the next few years. It is important for business owners to make sure their websites are optimized to take advantage of this growing market, but doing so is different than creating a traditional website.
Websites designed for a personal computer usually do not look good on mobile devices. Creating one requires a different thought pattern.
Mobile users are forced to use their fingers and thumbs for navigation on a mobile site, rather than a mouse. An effort should be made to eliminate scrolling as much as possible. Buttons should be large enough so that one is not accidentally hit instead of another.
Patience is not necessarily a virtue with the majority of mobile users. Not only will they only wait a few seconds for a page to load on their device before moving to another, many times they want the most important information front and center. Reduce the amount of text on the mobile site by making sure vital information is available at the top. Additional pages can be added for extra items. Not only will this help reduce the load time for the page, it will decrease the amount of scrolling that needs to be done.
Not all mobile devices are equipped to handle Flash player, so it should be avoided in order to limit visitor frustration. A disruptive experience, such as that caused by Flash working improperly, would simply serve to drive customers to another site.
While the mobile site and the traditional website have differences in how they are navigated, the branding of the company should remain the same. Images, though sized different, should remain the same and the most important content needs to be included in both places. It is usually better to model the mobile site after the desktop site. A cloud storage system may help with keeping images and content that will be included in both places, as well as allowing employees to collaborate whenever necessary.
Back and forth
The desktop site should be set up to automatically detect if someone is using a mobile site to access it and then send them to the mobile version. It is also important to allow the user the possibility of accessing the desktop site if they desire.
This will show whether all the hard work will pay off before the site goes live. Test the mobile site on a smart phone or tablet.
Nearly as many people today access the Internet with mobile devices as with desktop computers. A mobile website needs to be designed a little differently, but it’s worth it to reach this growing market segment.
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Guest author Lucy Matthews writes for a site that has information on remote backup and reviews of the main service providers.