How do you access the internet? Chances are you use a smartphone as much, if not more than, your PC, laptop or tablet. Two thirds of all adults (66%) now own a smartphone and 61% use their phones to access the internet according to recent figures from the Mobile Operators Association.
Your customers are using their phones to use your website, and this isn’t just in retail, leisure or hospitality where you expect people to access information or products ‘on the go’. Whatever the business sector, your customers are just as likely to look for your website when they’re on the train, in the garden, or on the sofa as they are when they’re sitting behind a desk. And of course, there is the all-important Google. Last year Google started using mobile friendliness for ranking on mobile searches. From May this year Google is rolling out an update to increase this effect even more.
So if you want your website to work for you 24/7, it has to work anywhere, any time, on any device. Make it mobile-friendly by following our friendly advice:
1. be responsive
Most importantly, to have a mobile-friendly website it needs to be responsive. A responsive website will automatically adapt and fit the device it’s being viewed on. It is vital to make sure your website has been designed so it doesn’t matter whether your customers are using a small screen mobile or a large screen desktop, your customers still get an optimised viewing experience.
2. make it snappy but don’t be flashy
Large images and videos may make your website look good, but they increase the download time of a page. Pages that take ages to load could result in your visitor going elsewhere.
- Make pages as small as possible so they load quicker on a mobile network.
- Avoid lots of large images and films that will slow things down.
- Don’t use anything that won’t play on mobile devices such as Flash.
- Make sure your images are optimised for the web and post them in the right size. (Use a photo editing application like Photoshop and use ‘save image for web’).
- Avoid using lots of different fonts across the site and choose your fonts wisely. The wrong font can affect the download speed, for example Google Fonts download faster than Adobe Typekit.
- Remove any unnecessary scripts you have running to help reduce the download times. On a desktop with good WiFi this process takes microseconds; on your mobile phone out and about with only a 3G connection, however, it could take a lot longer to build a page running lots of large scripts.
3. be smart and keep it simple
Think smart when you are briefing or designing your website – make sure it will look good and work well on a smartphone but keep your layout simple.
- Links and buttons should be finger friendly for touch screens. The best size is around 48 pixels – which is just slightly smaller than the average finger to make navigation easy.
- Use uncomplicated fonts and keep the body text at 14-16 points for readability.
- A simple column layout avoids the need to pan left or right.
- Make sure the user can zoom in if they need to.
- Don’t complicate things with hovers and mouseovers – they don’t work on touch screens.