Before 2016, desktop was used as the primary device for accessing websites. However, this has changed. Mobile has taken over and people now spend most of their time on mobile devices and tablets. In fact, more than 50 percent of global web traffic is coming from mobile phones according to Hootsuite and We Are Social. As reported by Google in 2015, the majority of searches were conducted on mobile rather than on any other device, which isn’t surprising considering the number of smartphone users is forecasted to rise to 2.87 billion by 2020. It was also reported that 85 percent of all site sessions in the UK were conducted on mobile devices.
Many businesses are still failing to understand how essential it is to optimise their websites for mobile devices and tablets. Mobile optimised or mobile friendly websites are designed to be responsive to visitors, taking into consideration the structure and design of the website, along with page loading times and speed to ensure users are not turning away from the site.
Whilst many sites are still not mobile optimised, other sites are great at creating a responsive design, but need focus more on their usability. The reason behind this is that most businesses build websites for desktop and then try to dial it back for mobile rather than focusing on designing a site that is built specifically for mobile devices. A Google study on web users showed that 74 percent of web users are likely to return to a website in the future if it was mobile friendly.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when designing a mobile optimised website:
Use responsive design
Using a responsive design approach helps developers by reducing the amount of work when creating a website as it enables them to design a site that can be viewed on devices with different screen sizes. Using this approach allows web pages to automatically detect the screen size of visitors and the layout will be changed accordingly.
When people use mobile devices they expect to get results faster, so for websites to work more effectively on mobile they need to load quickly. If a site load time is slow this creates a risk of losing customers, who can be impatient and therefore bounce back or even exit the page. Research has shown that more than half of online shoppers would give up if the loading speed of a website is too slow and a delay of even one second could lead to a drop in sales.
Design for touch
When designing a mobile friendly website, it is important to keep in mind that most mobile devices now are touch screen and visitors will use their fingers to navigate instead of using a mouse or keyboard. For this reason, a site needs to be designed for fingers of all shapes and sizes, keeping in mind that it should not take more than one or two clicks for the user to get the information or function needed.
Access to full website
Even if a website was designed to be mobile friendly, some users still prefer to experience the full site and that is why it is best to always include a “view desktop version” option to give visitors the opportunity to view the full version of the website without the need to use their desktop device.
Track your mobile website results
What is more important than having a mobile optimised website is finding out if it is working effectively and if it is attracting users. Web analytics tools help in analysing website visits coming from mobile devices and tablets which allows for detecting what is going wrong and for future improvements.
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