What is mobile friendly?
Mobile friendly, is referencing a web site’s ability to work on both standard (desktops and laptops) and mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) without hindering the web site visitors experience. When we say mobile friendly we refer to the web site is able to easily be seen and used on all devices, so when the web site is viewed on a smart phone or tablet the customer . Ultimately the goal is for the user to be able to see everything on the site without having to pinch and zoom, without using a mouse on mobile, and can easily navigate the entire site without feeling lost or the need to pull out their laptop.
Why is mobile friendly optimization important?
80% of internet users own a smart phone. As of 2015 50% of all internet traffic came from mobile devices (phones and tablets), this grows each year by 58%. Mobile friendly optimization is important now and soon it will be critical as customers increasingly switch to mobile devices as their primary internet and media consumption device. Did you know that it’s estimated mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending?
You may be wondering, why the focus on mobile? You may think whats the big deal if somebody has to pinch and zoom on the site, they can still get the information they need. It is not safe to assume the user is willing to perform a few extra steps to simply browse a web site thats not mobile friendly when they can easily tap their back button and move on to the next web site, which could be your competition. Did you know 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site?
Studies have shown that 85% of users who view a non-mobile optimized site on their phone will leave the site after only spending 4 seconds on the first page they see. So, as you can see with the aforementioned example, you would have to communicate your entire offering in just a few moments. This could be costing your business a considerable amount of money in lost opportunities and revenue. You could be missing out, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
Another factor of importance is Google, in early 2016 Google started considering a web site’s mobile compatibility as part of their famous search algorithm. Google will penalize a site that’s not mobile optimized and move it further down the results of the search when the user is searching on a mobile device. So by simply not having a mobile optimized site in place you may never even reach your customers because you were below their line of sight on Google.
All business owners like to do everything they can to ensure their customers the best possible experience with their company. For most businesses this starts when the customer literally enters the door, keeps going as they navigate through the building, meet with employees and ends when they wave good bye as walk back out to their car. The online experience for your customers should be the same as you push for in person, you wouldn’t alienate half of your customers who walk in the door, and you shouldn’t want to alienate them online as well. Providing an optimal user experience is of equal importance, especially considering your web site may very well be the first interaction customers and prospects have with your company.
How do you make a web site friendly? Put your nerd goggles on for just a moment
There are two schools of thought on mobile friendly optimization, dedicated mobile sites and responsive sites.
Dedicated Sites are a bit more of a traditional design method for mobile, this is typically a separate site (m.example.com) that the user is redirected to when they visit the main site. The pro is a completely separate, dedicated, mobile focus on both the mobile device and the mobile user. The con being two separate sites to maintain, depending on your platform of choice this may result in redundant updates, then of course there is statistical data that could be separated.
Responsive Sites are the modern and more standard way of designing web sites for mobile optimization. Creating a responsive design uses a special technology that allows the web site’s layout to “flex” or “respond” to the size and orientation (portrait or landscape) of the device. When viewing a site on a smart phone in responsive design a sidebar area might stack under the content, and the content would stack under the header. Creating a vertical layout that is essentially a single column of scrollable flowing content, with fonts that are larger, images that are smaller and menus that are touch sensitive (i.e. no drop down menus). The pro is one single web site to optimize for all types of devices, customer experiences and search engines. The con is a more involved and often more complicated design process that requires more testing to ensure the web site does indeed respond or flex to the many different Android and Apple devices in use today.
Customers are using smart phone devices, and a rapidly growing rate, today’s internet savvy folks demand a seamless, well designed, functional experience. So, as they say, give the audience what they want.