The Non-technical Guide to Mobile Web Design

When clients approach us about creating a website, many of them understand the value of having a website, but many have questions about what it means to be mobile-friendly and how this effects their business. This article is an effort to share the basics of how mobile web design is a valuable investment. 

More and more, people use mobile devices — anything from a phone to a tablet— to access the web. In response to the ever increasing popularity of these devices, the way we design and build websites is changing. For businesses, this means clients are accessing information from their websites across multiple platforms.

Why should I have a mobile-friendly site?

Well-designed mobile-friendly site will engage more people. Duh - We know. Whether they’re shopping or just finding out more information about your business, people don’t spend a lot of time on websites that are hard to use, especially when they’re out and about. If people have to zoom in to read anything, all the buttons on a site are too small to press, and there is not enough information hierarchy, they’ll want to leave before they find what they’re searching for. A well-designed site will makes it easier for people to navigate and find what they want.

It improves SEO. Google recently made a big change in how it serves up its search results: it deciphers between sites that easily viewed on mobile devices and which ones are not. When a mobile user googles keywords, Google will bump down sites that are not designed for mobile use. Therefore, making your website mobile-friendly will improve your searchability and, as a result, the amount of people coming to your site. While Google’s standards for being mobile-friendly are very basic, they are some of the most paramount characteristics to at least making a site navigable. Test your website performance here.

If you’re thinking of having an e-commerce site, a mobile friendly site will improve sales. The easier it is for people to shop, the more they buy. According to Shopify, about a third of online sales are through mobile devices - that’s a big chunk of sales! And it’s only growing. Having a mobile site makes your shop accessible to more customers and potential customers.

Responsive and Adaptive Mobile sites

You may have heard these terms thrown around, and they refer to the technical structure that your website is coded upon.  Responsive websites are websites that are designed and developed to fluidly adapt to the context the website is being shown. This allows content to shrink and grow continuously, depending on the size of the browser. Adaptive web design provides a specific layout based on the device it’s being used on. Sometimes websites use a bit of both; it is dependent on the goals and content of your site and its content.

considerations for mobile-friendly sites

Who are your audience or customers? What kind of browsers and devices are they using? Your website’s analytics can be an important tool in defining who your audience is.

What are your future plans for the site? How do you want your site to grow? Is e-commerce something you hope to pursue in future? Do parts of your future plans need to be taken into account?

What is your budget?

What are your goals  and how do they differ between devices? Are you selling products? Promoting your services? Educating your customers on what you do or sell? Establishing an online presence?

The best businesses understand and adapt to their customers and their needs. People are no longer just viewing websites at home or work on their desktop computers. The ubiquity of mobile devices in our culture mean more and more people are looking at the internet on their devices and are no longer confined to home or work to view websites. A mobile-friendly website is a step towards adapating to your customers and users, staying relevant, and in building a better business.

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