Society has become so mobile-oriented these days that it is almost considered a handicap not to own a personal mobile device. It is not a stretch to say that businesses need to quickly adapt by making their site mobile-friendly if they hope to remain relevant against their competitors. Doing so can increase customer engagement by as much as 85%. Most businesses that have been around the block understand how rapidly marketing trends can change. Companies that fail to “get with the program” will learn the hard way that not being up to date with their marketing will have crippling aftereffects.
Create a Mobile Version of Your Site
One of the simplest solutions is to create a separate, mobile version of your site. This approach is often desirable because businesses can leave their original site intact without having to make any modifications. It also offers mobile users the same consumer experience that they would get from your normal website.
For a pretty low monthly fee, specialized services can convert your existing website into a version optimized for tablets and smartphones. Keep in mind, however, that your mobile site still needs to have the same high quality content and opportunities for optimization as your web-optimized site. Too many companies treat their mobile site as a secondary afterthought and only minimally invest in its creation and upkeep so they could say that they have a mobile site. If you are going to create a mobile site at all, then go the whole nine yards.
Modifying Your Existing Site
Rather than creating a separate site, some industry experts recommend modifying your existing site to make it user-friendly for both computer and mobile users. The following are some simple changes that can be made to tailor your site for mobile users without degrading the user experience for desktop and laptop users.
Keep Images to a Minimum
Images that accompany written content are useful for breaking up the text and giving the reader a nice visual. However, keep in mind that those images can also feel intrusive when appearing next to text on a petite screen. Too many images will also slow the connection, and slow loading times often means that the back browser will be clicked before the content is fully read. Most web design firms recommend having no more than one to two images per page.
Create Clear and Concise Content
Mobile users are often on the move and are more easily distracted. This means they are more likely to lose interest in a site’s content unless they are really mesmerized by the catchy headline and accompanying text. Use a large and bold font for the title and be sure that it is compelling and lets the reader know that the content they are about to read is worth their time. Word fillers and superfluous information is a major no-no. You want every paragraph, sentence and word to be easily understood and digestible when read from a mobile screen.
Provide Large and Easily Clickable Icons
Review your icons, links and buttons. Make sure that they are large enough to click on a small screen without the need for zooming in. Also remember that most devices are touchscreen, so provide enough spacing between clickable icons in order to prevent users from clicking on something they did not intend to. Index fingers come in all sizes and those with fatter digits will not appreciate multiple and tiny icons mashed together on a small screen.
Mobile Usage is only going to get bigger in 2014, so the sooner you make your site mobile-friendly, the sooner you can take advantage of a trend that is already in place.
This article was written by Kinga Harskuti, a freelance writer currently working on behalf of ImageWorks Creative, a branding and web design firm.