There is no longer much choice as far as a mobile version of your website is concerned – you simply must have one. Visitors who are visiting your site on their smartphone or tablet don’t have time to wait for the page to load properly, and as the world become more active on their mobiles whilst on-the-go, you must check how your website performs on these formats.
Here are the 8 things you must consider when designing or converting a website for mobile use:
- Do you need a Mobile Website?
Yes is the simple answer here. Unless your business model is staunchly against the use of mobile devices there is no escaping the necessity. The most common reasons for a site being designed for mobile use are:
- A new site in need of desktop and mobile functionality
- Redesigning an existing site for mobile use
- An additional mobile site to a desktop site remaining the same
Whichever applies to your business will dictate which steps you must take in accordance with the remainder of this guide.
- What are your Business Objectives?
Is your business website focused on relaying information to a customer or is it used to advertise your products/services? It is key to understand the difference as a website that is very text heavy can equally as difficult to translate to a smaller screen as a website littered with images.
Either way, your mobile site must maintain the clear impression your desktop site does without compromising on the Business Objectives. Simply reducing the size of the site is not enough, you will need to make sacrifices to convey the same message – lose an image here, make a paragraph of text more concise; simplify.
- Consider Past Data
If you have access to Google Analytics, there is a handy tool that shows you how your website is accessed. It provides information on the type of device and the browser used giving you insider information on how best to design your mobile site and which devices/browsers to test it on.
- Simply Simple?
Keeping your mobile site as simple as possible is important if it is a redesign but there have been significant advances in how mobile sites can be displayed.
New technology allows mobile sites to resemble mobile apps rather than the classic website look – this is definitely worth investigating as mobile users become more comfortable with apps instead of websites.
- One Way Only
Single columns have been found to display better than any other format on mobile devices. Mobile sites such as TripAdvisor have converted their expansive web design into a single column with reduced functionality – sacrifices in favour of simplicity.
- Collapsing Content
If you have a lot to fit into your mobile site it may be worth looking into collapsible menus and sections. Wikipedia offers this function on their mobile site – sections of articles are collapsed under headings that expand when tapped. Even the menu bar is tucked away unless expanded – maximise space by minimising information.
- Clicks become Taps
Your desktop website can have links that are very small as the mouse is a precise navigation tool – sadly, this isn’t the case on mobile websites. Users will navigate using either their finger or a purpose designed stylus – much clumsier than the traditional mouse so your links may need to be increased in size to suit.
- Test, Test and Test Again
You may think that all mobile devices are the same but have a wander through a technology store and you’ll be proven very wrong. Not only are mobile phones all vastly different, tablets are now coming in a wide variety of styles and functions.
You will need to test on a vast array of devices and using as many browsers as you can get your hands on – test until you can’t test any longer; then test more.