My Marketing Thing

How to have a mobile-friendly website

Mobile-friendly website cartoon

This post leads on from Should your website be smart phone savvy? which bandies the rumour that 70% of internet searches are now being done on a mobile device. Except it’s probably more than 70%.


I have to be honest about one thing…

We’re not just talking smartphones. We’re talking any mobile device with access to the internet. PDAs and palm-sized computers come to mind.

Yes, there’s the iPad too, but this mobile device has a more generous screen. This post is about the little guy. 

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of these small mobile devices out there. So if your website doesn’t display well on them, it is possible you are losing business. Eeeekkkk!!!!


But don’t panic.

Just because people are looking at websites on smart phones doesn’t mean we all have to contort ourselves completely for the idle whim of technological advancement. Well, not straight away.

Unless your target market is in Indonesia.

Explanation: The other day I heard on the radio (remember those?) that Indonesians use their smart phones for EVERYTHING, so creating apps for that area of the world is worth a thought.

The same rule possibly applies to a target market of anyone under the age of 18.


Smartphones are smarter than you think

Smartphones aren’t called ‘smart’ because they are limited. They can actually do quite a lot – and manage quite a lot. This means, contrary to popular opinion, you can still have your important features and you can still have a lot of content.

But stripping back to the essentials on the first two or three tiers is worth considering regardless of whether it’s seen on a smartphone or a desktop. Why? Because people are busy and they like the information they need to be succinct. Waffle is dead.


Is your site easy to use?

‘Fast and simple’ is apparently the catch-cry of the mobile audience. But its also the catch-cry of people generally, isn’t it?

Make sure your site:

  • is easy to navigate
  • has small pages
  • promotes succinct information
  • avoids superfluous graphics and features
  • has sharp images that are also small enough to be fast loading

But in the end, it’s up to you. You decide what is the most important content and features for your site. Well, actually your target market does. Listen to those guys.

Ultimately, you need to imagine how your visitor is going to interract with your site via a mobile device, particularly if they have big chubby fingers.


Key importance: Interaction

Websites are increasingly becoming more interactive. So if you want your visitor to:

  • subscribe to your e-news
  • send a message through your contact form
  • comment on a news post
  • buy something from your online store, etc.

make sure it’s easy to do on a small mobile device.

The Java Script debate

Increasingly smartphones can handle almost any website just fine, but apparently there are still some phones that don’t. Apparently Java Script has been a major hurdle in this instance, particularly for Blackberrys.

Java Script is a programming language that makes a page more interactive. It can activates drop-down menus, make animated images, pop-up windows, cause an image to change when your mouse rolls over it. That kind of thing.

According to various tech heads, we are entering a world where we can be more cocky about Java Script now. The iPhone supports JavaScript, as do other mobile devices. So there.

Still, if you don’t need Java Script then you can have your web dude disable it. Why? Because unnecessary Java Script may reduce speed on mobile browsers.


The mobile site – or app version

If changing your site all seems too hard, you can still go down the ‘app’ route. This involves creating a new site altogether but has the same key information and is – in no uncertain terms – mobile device savvy.

Over the last 12 months of so, I’ve been surprised at just how awful lookin’ a lot of mobile sites are. The good news is that they are getting better.

One tip: when it comes to designing you mobile site, ensure you keep with your brand ‘look and feel’ so there’s continuity throughout all your promotional material.


What next?

So what if you want to alter your site, or create a new one, for the sake of mobile-friendliness?

Check out the next post…


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who finds the auto-correct function while creating a text mostly irritating, but sometimes amusing. Find out more about Megan

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One Comment

  1. great article, cartoons and blog indeed. there are some free convertors for normal websites to go mobile but u did good to point out the key factors when building one.

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