Until very recently, it was enough for a business to have a quality website through which it could market itself. However, with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets and their ability to allow users to surf the Internet from anywhere, a desktop website is not enough any more. Now companies are finding themselves in need of also developing mobile websites that cater to customers using mobile devices.
Converting a website to mobile
Since mobile devices have smaller screens and no mouse to help navigate, designing a mobile website requires a different thought pattern than when creating a desktop version.
The desktop website should be converted so it can detect when someone accesses it using a mobile device and then automatically switch to the mobile site. Be sure to offer them the chance to switch back to the main site. This is the type of site Google prefers, so it only makes sense to try to design it that way.
Mobile users are not fond of scrolling around to find the information they are seeking. Not all the information from the main site needs to be crammed into the mobile page. Be sure to include the phone number and address of the business at the top of the page, along with a map and directions. This page should give the user a quick idea of what the business is about. If they want to delve deeper, they can click on the link you have provided for them to go back to the main website.
*Speed it up
Keeping it simple will also help with the goal of providing a quick download. Mobile users will only wait about four seconds for a page to load before they move on to the next one. Limit the amount of text on the mobile site and shrink images down to increase download speed. The site should also take advantage of the fact modern mobile browsers use HTML5.
Most mobile devices do not support Flash so avoid using large videos that require it to play. This will frustrate users, causing them to move on to a competitorâs website, and they likely will not return.
Since mobile users have to navigate web pages using their fingers and thumbs instead of a mouse, realize that touching is the new clicking. Make sure buttons are spaced far enough apart so as to avoid accidental touching, and have clearly defined buttons for going back a page or to the home page.
Drop down menus for entering information should also be included.
Mobile websites can be an invaluable tool for businesses if they are designed correctly. The growth in this area has been extraordinary in recent years, and as smartphones and tablets continue to evolve that growth is only likely to continue. A mobile site should work in tandem with the desktop site, but by its very nature it needs to be designed differently.
This article was provided by Simon Phillips on behalf of www.touchlogic.co.uk, a company that creates mobile websites for business customers.