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Why your Website NEEDS to be Mobile Friendly

May 15, 2018

 

Yes, your website NEEDS to be mobile-friendly

 

Google dropped a bombshell in late 2016 when they announced that they would be reworking their algorithm to index mobile sites first. Their reasoning: a growing number of people were accessing Google from a mobile device. So, to ensure the best experience with their platform, the last thing Google would want to do, is to send mobile searchers to sites built for desktops that didn’t appear optimally on mobile.

 

In 2016, only 12-30% of businesses had mobile-friendly websites (medium.com and marketingland.com). However, in 2017, 57.7% of small and medium-sized businesses intended to invest in a new or improved website to meet demands of mobile users.

 

So, if you’re still struggling with showcasing your company in a mobile-friendly website in 2018, you, my friend, are unfortunately way behind the 8-ball.

 

 

What does “mobile-friendly” mean?

A mobile-friendly website respects both the device it’s being seen on and the expectations of the person seeing it. Let’s look at both these concepts a bit more closely.

 

1.     Respect for the mobile device

The most important distinction between a mobile and a desktop is how someone uses it. When you’re controlling a little arrow with a mouse or trackpad, you can be as granular in your movements as you need to be. Checkboxes and buttons can be small because the tip of the cursor will fit there. This does not work well with fingers and thumbs ¾ and if you make it difficult for a mobile user to do what you want them to do (check a box, tap a button, etc.), they won’t do it, and they will leave your site ¾ which means no conversion and a wasted opportunity.

 

Designing a site for mobile users must account for this difference. Buttons need to be big enough for an adult thumb or finger, and far enough away from other buttons so as not to cause a frustrating accidental tapping of the wrong button. Here’s a primer on buttons with more helpful design tips.

 

Another distinction is the available real estate. On a desktop layout, even in the area above the fold, you have enough room to get creative with copy and images. On a mobile device, you don’t have that luxury. You have a few inches of space to make your visitor care enough to scroll and continue.

 

Writing for a mobile site needs to account for this difference too. The message has to be succinct enough to fit on the small screen, but descriptive and hard-hitting enough to generate interest. Here’s a piece about writing for mobile that we quite like.

 

2.     Respect for the mobile user’s expectations

As we already alluded to above, more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices than from a desktop. In fact, 79% of global internet searches are projected to be conducted on a mobile device by the end of 2018 (Zenith. But even so, a very interesting pattern has been identified: the number of conversions and purchases are overwhelming made on a desktop.

 

This tells us that we use our mobile devices to read and research first, and then, when we decide, we reach for our desktops or laptops to make the purchase.

 

Some of this has to do with the limits of check-out platforms on mobile. Some of it has to do with the fact that we’re either in bed or in motion while on our mobile devices. And some of it has to do with habit (which may or may not be the case for future generations).

 

Either way, it means that when people come to your mobile site, they want information. And it’s up to you to make it as easy as possible for them to get. This is what your mobile user will expect:

 

Fast loading: This is true of desktop too, but it’s especially true for mobile because (a) the smartphone is the epitome of the “I want it now” mentality and (b) your visitor is most likely having a micro moment on your site, which means they really don’t have time for buffering.

 

Easy to navigate: Again, true for desktop but doubly so for mobile. Everything should be conspicuous because the phone isn’t something you can “lean into” the way you can with a laptop. The closer you hold the phone to your eyes, the more awkward it is to use.

 

Readable type-font: One of the biggest downfalls of accessing a desktop-friendly site on a mobile device is having to zoom in to read the copy. You wind up cutting off a fair portion of the site, quite possibly including an offer or CTA. And you have to scroll across the screen to read the entire sentence, which is quite a pain ¾ especially when you have to constantly go back and forth.

 

And as for the information you’re giving them, a big expectation is that the content has to be easy to digest. Nobody has the time or inclination to look up complex terminology; and even if they did, toggling between apps on your phone isn’t as seamless as it is on a laptop.

 

Does desktop have a place in a mobile-first world?

It’s the same question people asked about radio when the TV appeared and what they asked about books when the e-reader appeared. Once again, the answer’s the same: yes.

 

During the workday, desktop/laptop use is still wildly outpacing mobile use. There were a few people not too long ago who thought the tablet+keyboard combination would replace the desktop (incidentally, they’re the same people who believed in LaserDiscs).

 

This is why you can’t jettison your desktop site just because you need a mobile site. Remember that while people may find you first on their smartphones, their most profitable visit will most likely be from a desktop. For this reason, many companies are opting for a responsive website that updates its UX as the screen size changes so it works equally well on mobile, tablet, and desktop. You’ll have to modify the copy to fit the smaller screen, but a good copyeditor can easily make those adjustments.

 

Whether you have one responsive website or separate sites for desktop and mobile, make 100% sure you have a mobile- friendly site. Because if you don’t, Google cannot and will not help you. Which will lower your site ranking, bringing very little traffic to your webpage.

 

While it may be easy to create beautiful and seamless UX designed websites, mobile development for your site may be difficult. If you're looking to update your online presence and create a mobile friendly site, contact us for a free consultation.

 

 

 

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