Mobile web browsing is expected to surpass desktop web browsing this year. We’re using our mobile devices, especially our smartphones, on the way to work, in stores, and during meetings, conversations and meals. A large percentage of the mobile universe even uses their devices in the bathroom. You know who you are.
Regardless of how or where you’re using your mobile device, do you have the patience for mobile content that’s not easy to view? Neither do your clients.
According to Google, nearly two thirds of mobile users will never return to a website that they found difficult to use.
Research from Google also shows that 95% of mobile users use their mobile devices to search. If they find and click through to your content, what will they see?
Yes, we all need to get our mobile houses in order and make sure our mobile content is easy to find, easy to view, and easy to share. The number one goal is to give someone an experience that’s valuable and simple enough to make them want to come back again. Here are four ways to make that happen.
1. Use Responsive Design Or Create Mobile-Only Content
Responsive design responds to the user’s viewing environment. The layout, orientation, images, text and navigation adapt to suit the device. Basically, it creates a mobile-friendly version of your desktop website with little if any pinching or zooming required, maintaining a consistent design across all devices.
A mobile designer or a tool like Duda Mobile can help you create a mobile version of your website or other content (blogs, landing pages, etc). Mobile-only content offers the most flexibility and customization options, although it often needs to be updated and maintained separately.
Responsive design vs. mobile-only content is a longer debate for another day, but the best option for your business really depends on the goal of your mobile content and, more importantly, what the user expects from your mobile content. Either option is infinitely better than expecting people to make your desktop content work on their mobile devices.
2. Streamline Your Text Content And Make It Easy To Read
People use their mobile devices differently than their desktop or laptop computers. Content is still king, but mobile content needs to be geared toward the on-the-go, multi-tasking mobile user.
Less is more. Strong headlines and magnetic teasers that draw people to valuable content are critical to keeping the attention of your mobile audience.
Mobile isn’t the place to get cute with fonts. Use simple, clean fonts with a high contrast between background and text, and make sure the size is large enough to be read without zooming, which can compromise the design.
3. Use Images – But Don’t Overdo It
One dominant image per page is enough on mobile, and image size should be optimized for mobile to avoid slow loading times. Avoid Flash because not all devices or browsers support it. The best imagery in the world does more harm than good if it detracts from the user experience.
4. Simplify Your Navigation And Links
Nothing is more annoying than tapping the wrong button. When I go to ESPN.com to read the latest baseball news, I don’t want to end up on the Nascar page, and I sure as hell don’t want to read why I’m in good hands with All State. When we’re on the go, we don’t want our time wasted.
Use large, thumb-friendly buttons for easy navigation. Make social sharing features obvious and easy to use. Use click-to-call, click-to-email and click-to-text features to reduce the amount of steps needed for someone to contact you.
What are you doing to make your content more mobile-friendly?
Join the discussion 14 Comments
As much as I hate to think that I have to write for a screen of the size of a match box, I know it’s something we need to think about, so for that thanks for those tips 🙂
Hi Sylviane – Well, if anything, writing for mobile forces us to be more focused and concise. That’s a good thing. Thanks – Scott
Great tips! With images, I would add that while loading time is important, the width and height of an image is also worth considering. A fairly fast loading image could take up a huge amount of the user’s screen when on a phone or tablet.
I think it’s also important to test your site on smaller screens to see how it looks. Using a responsive design or building a dedicated mobile site is all well and good, but you should test it to see if it does the job well 🙂
Ben – Yes, you definitely have to weigh the importance of large images vs. written content and other elements. I do think a lot of people forget to test their mobile content on enough devices. It’s impossible to test them all, but I agree that you should do as much testing as possible. Thanks – Scott
I am a ‘late starter’ in this online world. What you have talked about is amazing!
I guess just having a blog online has a long way to go! I recently heard about that many website are still not mobile friendly. Seems like that we can never keep pace with technology!
I appreciate your sharing these tips and sharing, Scott.
Viola The Business Mum
Hi Viola – Yes, too many websites are not mobile friendly – mine included, although I’m in the process of correcting that. People just have too many options and too much competition for their attention to tolerate content that’s not mobile-friendly. Thanks – Scott
Great article and salient points, Scott. Great minds think alike: — a recent Yahoo! article featured two “local apps.”
Thanks, Gary. Yes, apps definitely have their place for a lot of small businesses. The key is to create an app that fills a real need for the target audience instead of doing it because people think it’s cool. Take care – Scott
As far as I’ve gotten Scott is adding a plug-in so that my posts are able to read easily via mobile. I can’t even imagine having to go to great lengths to create a totally different site just for mobile. I know it’s coming to that but I just don’t like it. Urggggg….
Hi Adrienne – Same here. Even though responsive design makes it possible to create and maintain one site for all devices, I think we’ll all be creating separate mobile websites within the next two years if not sooner. As mobile becomes the dominant form of web browsing, mobile websites will become the primary sites and desktop sites will become secondary. Just my humble prediction 🙂 Thanks – Scott
Thanks for the tips Scott. I must confess I have my head in the sand and reading this reminds me to get it out. Thanks for the tips.
Hi Sue – Sorry for the delayed response. The best way to remove your head from the sand is to see a site that isn’t optimized for mobile. That’s why mine is in the works as we speak. I regret that I’m this late to the party. Thanks – Scott
Mobile is of HUGE importance and continues to be so with each passing day! :o)
Hi Sadie – Literally, with each passing day, those with a strong mobile presence separate themselves a little further from those who don’t have one. Thanks – Scott