08 Jun Optimizing a Website for Mobile
Many people browse the web with a mobile device. How should you prepare your website for mobile users?
Mobile browsers are growing rapidly. I don’t know about you, but when I attempt to view a website on my smartphone and it won’t load because it’s not optimized for mobile, I lose interest in that company or service very rapidly!
We are in a now society, and if you can’t get answers where you are exactly when you need them (who is going to remember to go home and “look it up later”?) the desire to use that product or service goes out the window as fast as it came.
So how do you optimize your website for this society of new users? Here are some general rules to get you started:
How will you allow mobile users to access your page?
There are several options ranging from automatic generation of mobile pages under the same URL’s to having dedicated mobile pages or special subdomains for mobile devices. The way you want to deal with these pages impacts the way you design them.
Using the same URL for both the mobile and desktop version has great benefits, such as the URL does not matter: people might enter a URL by hand or from a link from another website. Basically all you have to do is simplify your content based on the clients’ capabilities. Can you do this with an extremely complex site, however? This option may leave you limited.
One of the most important things to remember is that the information needs of mobile users is generally very different. A desktop user many times is casually browsing for information, while a mobile user is more likely need context specific answers (requiring them to act immediately).
Adding a subdomain (mobile.yourcompany.com) is another way of opening your website for mobile users. This works if you want to deliver specific content to mobile users only.
When planning content for your mobile pages, remember that most people are in transit or busy with other activities while browsing your site. You should steer clear of all categories that are not important for people that are mobile. If it is not solving a pressing problem it should not be on your mobile site.
Skip: technical details of a product
Leave: basic features, amount in stock, and price
Skip: company history and adherence to guidelines
Leave: what services your company provides
Skip: your mission statement and stock information
Leave: time-sensitive information (when is the next showing?)
You can always direct people to go to the desktop version of your site if they need more information.
What features do you look for in a mobile website? How has your company approached the solution? Tell us by commenting below or on our Facebook page – we’d love to hear your ideas!