As a proud member of Generation Y (1980-2000), I feel justified in saying that our generation is the first generation that can declare itself mobile. The question for you is: What does that mean for your business?
Do you need mobile?
This is by far the most important question to ask yourself. With all the hype surrounding mobile these days, you may think that it is a requirement of a having modern website. Mobile is best suited for location based businesses, highly interactive sites (F@cebook), and content rich sites (msnbc.com). If your website serves as a primary point of contact – then a mobile site is also a good idea. However, if your website is a secondary point of contact, a mobile site is not always necessary. If in doubt, ask first. If your site is designed responsively, meaning that it scales for different size browsers, that design in itself can be used as a mobile site. This means that you do not have to have a specialized mobile website developed – the default website will serve all audiences. This is our preferred technique, which can be used in most cases, but not all.
The ideal mobile site
A mobile website should be easy to use with fingers. In our experience, it is best to have a mobile website that has all of the content available. It should NOT have a “View the desktop version of our website” button on every page. Good mobile design makes your entire site accessible on mobile devices. With the prevalence of faster mobile networks, people are spending much more time online with mobile devices. If you have a 1 page “mobile website”, your potential clients are not going to spend much time on your site!
Mobile Web First
Hire a firm that specializes in creating both mobile and desktop websites. A mobile website is essential for ease of use — not having a mobile optimized website means that visitors will have to spend a lot of time zooming, panning, and scrolling content. If the mobile experience is frustrating or difficult for your visitors, they may find it easier to use someone else’s services. Also, if your design includes Adobe Flash, your content will not be readable to iOS devices (Including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch).
Location Based Services
We create cutting edge mobile apps that leverage the sensors in modern mobile devices, to allow us to get directions from the users’ current location to your location. This increases foot traffic and conversions, providing a return on your mobile investment. Location aware websites will prompt visitors to use their current location — and allow them to do things like get directions to your business.
Ease of Use — a Must with Mobile
A desktop site is unusable on a mobile device; this is the lowest form of mobile usability. The next level up is a basic, one column mobile design, which allows all of the content to fit on the device’s screen, at a readable text size. Our approach to mobile is comprehensive, in that we create mobile web apps. A mobile web app will leverage the best possible experience on modern devices, while falling back gracefully on older devices. The benefit for your business is that you know your message is being seen by customers, and your customers are going to want to read more on a mobile site (because it’s easier) than if they were visiting your full desktop website from their mobile phone.
Establish an Action Plan
1. Check out your website carefully on your mobile devices, better yet, have a look from several. Some phones or tablets will look slightly different then others, depending on the construction of your website. Try a family member’s phone or tablet and compare that experience with your own.
2. Identify problem areas: Does the mobile version of your current site meet your needs? Is it easy to use on a smaller screen? Does your media display properly? Think about common questions one of your visitors might have when they are looking at your website — can you get the answer quickly or did you end up being frustrated? Think about why your customers would visit your site “on the go” — are they looking to phone you? Find directions? Hours of business?
3. Implement Change: Now that you’ve established how your mobile site is working for you, and how it can be improved, its time to make some updates to best leverage location based services for your customers.
As part of the Circle Tree community, we’re happy to have a look at your existing website and make recommendations as to how we can help you update your site to make it more mobile-friendly and appealing to your customers who are on the go. Having a usable, friendly website for mobile phone and tablet users helps you to stay current, and offers your customer a quality, convenient experience.