Everyone knows the importance of a mobile friendly site. But optimisation for the mobile world goes beyond web design.
Mobile is not the future, it is now. This is the clear message from industry giants like Google, and it is borne out by the statistics. In 2015, mobile overtook desktop as the browsing platform of choice in terms of hours per day, and over the past two years, its popularity is growing ever stronger.
Some say that the days of the desktop are numbered, and the dwindling number of users certainly suggests that they might have a point. Either way, the message is clear: if your web design does not have mobile users in mind, you are putting yourself and your business at an enormous disadvantage and are failing to meet the basic needs of the majority of internet traffic.
But while mobile web design is certainly the first step in optimising your web presence for the digital age, it is not the alpha and omega. Let’s find out more.
Adaptive and responsive mobile web design
So what do we mean by mobile friendly design? In essence, a mobile friendly site is one that is designed to be displayed on handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets. In designing a mobile friendly site, there are essentially two options: responsive or adaptive.
A responsive website is one that sees and responds to the device being used and the screen size. Here’s a simple example: try taking the corner of your browser and dragging it to make the window smaller. See how the layout changes? That’s responsive design in action, and this is how most traditional sites work.
Adaptive web design, however, means the creation of different site designs for each type of device. An adaptive site identifies the device and adjusts the website to provide the best experience for the user. If you look at a site like eBay on your desktop and then pull it up on your smartphone, you will see two very different things. That’s adaptive web design.
There are pros and cons to both, but the truth is that most people don’t want two versions of their website. Look at it this way — there is only one Google, and it is a responsive site that is optimised for mobile.
With your site optimised, what should you consider next?
Around a third of the earth’s population is on social media. There is no better way of reaching out to an audience, and mobile uptake in this sector is even larger than for general web browsing.
Clearly, your social media strategy also needs to be linked in to your mobile-first thinking. This means the social media widgets attached to your site need to be mobile friendly and every social media ad or link you use should have the mobile user in mind.
Sign up forms
What do you want your site to achieve? Sales? Contacts? Whatever it is, it will need some sort of input from the user, whether it is pressing a button to buy your product or filling in a form to join your mailing list.
All these are achieved through forms and widgets. Are yours optimised for mobile? If not, you will be losing business.
Optimise, optimise, optimise.
With the quantum shift towards mobile users, the key is not just to be mobile friendly but to be mobile first. Ensure every aspect of your online presence has the mobile user first and foremost in mind, and you will have a site that is optimised for the 21st century and beyond.