3 Must-Follow Guidelines For Developing a Mobile-friendly Site
Having mobile-friendly site has become the need of the hour, as more and more people are shifting to using mobile devices from desktop computers for surfing the web. Moreover, the usage of mobile is increasing with each passing day, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Below are a few statistics that will help you know how important it has become to have a mobile-friendly site today:
30 percent of traffic is coming from mobile devices (and many sectors are observing a lot higher percentage of mobile traffic).
65 percent users are likely to buy something if the site is mobile-friendly.
43 percent users feel frustrated if they land on a non-friendly mobile website.
61 percent of users said that they feel disappointed if the brand or the company that they like does not have a mobile-friendly site.
So, all of the above key points clearly suggest that creating a mobile-friendly site is a worthwhile effort, and is crucial for the success and failure of your business whether it is big or little.
You can find many different approaches and strategies to create a mobile-friendly website, however, the question remains as to how you should get started with developing a site that is completely optimized for mobile devices. To help you understand how to build a mobile-friendly website, I’ve put together a few important guidelines worth considering:
1. Figure Out What Your Target Audience Needs the Most
First and foremost, you must know exactly what your customers expect from your website. After all, you’re building a site to serve your audience needs and so it’s important that your site can make them happy and satisfied.
Mobile users, in general, look out for sites that work flawlessly and won’t take much time in abandoning a site that looks cluttered and is too complex to navigate. Most importantly, mobile users leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Here are a few key findings of a survey that the Google team conducted to know the mobile users needs:
The majority of users expect to access friendly features in a mobile site like large buttons, proper pinch and zoom ability, etc.
Users demand quick access to the most important information such as contact info and others.
Any additional information displayed on the mobile version of the site must be useful and easy to understand.
In a nutshell, your site must be capable of delivering quick, useful and clutter-free experience to your mobile users.
2. Which Approach Best Suit Your Needs to Develop a Mobile-friendly Site?
So, now that you have come to know about what your users might want from your mobile-friendly site, the next thing you should consider is to choose the best approach for building your mobile optimized site.
While there are many different approaches that can be used to develop a mobile-friendly site, however, following are two of the most extensively used and preferred approaches you need to be aware of:
#Approach 1: Creating a Responsive Site
Having a responsive website design is probably the best option for you. As a matter of fact, Google recommends the use of responsive web design (a.k.a RWD) for creating a mobile-friendly website. The demand for responsive design, in fact, has increased to a great extent after Google’s recent “mobile-friendly algorithm update”.
What makes RWD approach one of the best ways to create a mobile-friendly site is: that you don’t have to code to make your design, adapt and adjust to all screen sizes and resolutions, as the responsive design automatically fits all displays.
There are many useful frameworks available online that can help in developing responsive sites, however, two of the most important frameworks worth exploring are:
Twitter Bootstrap: Bootstrap is indeed the most powerful and intuitive front-end framework that helps in building websites that looks great in desktop browsers, as well as, mobile browsers with the help of responsive CSS.
Foundation: This is the most advanced front-end frameworks that help in designing aesthetically pleasing responsive sites in an easy and quick way.
#Approach 2: Having a Separate Mobile Version Of Your Site
Most of the mobile visitors expect the actual structure of your desktop site to be different on a mobile device: the screen should only display few options, instead of displaying plenty of options on the desktop version of the site. In addition, mobile users want faster access to the most important piece of information, rather than viewing content in detail that we show to our desktop visitors. One best way to address such users’ needs is to create a separate mobile version of your website.
When creating a separate mobile website, below are a few considerations you must take into account:
Hide elements (such as your main navigation menu) and content on load.
Provide your users with proper visual cues to help them understand the flow of one piece of content to the other. In case, you’ve a content-heavy site, then it would be better to include the most important content at the top, as it will immediately grab your users’ attention.
You can use Google Analytics to find out the keywords that your mobile visitors usually search when they arrive on your website. And, ensure to cover topics based on those keywords on your mobile website.
3. Focusing on a Few Common Concerns of Mobile Users
After choosing the suitable approach to develop a mobile-friendly site, you must focus on dealing with some of the commonly faced challenges that haunt mobile users. Overcoming those challenges will certainly help you build a truly mobile-friendly website. Let us have a look at some of the common concerns of mobile users:
Lack of Visual Cues: We often presume that our visitors know how tapping on an element or clicking on swipe keys will help them interact with our site.
Bear in mind, a mobile user visiting your site for the first time might not have any idea as to how he/she should interact with website content and navigation.
So, be sure about providing strong visual cues to help your viewers achieve their goals in an effective and efficient manner. This will eventually help in increasing the usability of your website, making it more user-friendly for mobile users.
Use Short Forms: Since users seek for quick access to the desired information or any piece of data, they are less likely to fill a form if it asks to enter too many details.
In essence, a lengthy form asking users to complete more tasks can be annoying, and users won’t probably fill out the form present in your mobile site. Thus, make sure to keep your form short, by keeping minimum input fields.
Not Including Alternate Means to Touch Interactions: Undoubtedly, touch gestures are important for making a site mobile-friendly. But remember that not all of the operating systems/browsers supports scripts that are needed for executing the touch events. And so, not providing any alternative navigation means to touch gestures will make your site less mobile-friendly. Therefore, keep in mind to provide an alternate way to help your users perform touch interactions.
Building a mobile-friendly site is not something you should do out of curiosity, and because you need to have one. Considering the ever-increasing usage of mobile devices to access the web compared to desktops, it has become needful to have a site that is optimized to perform well on all mobile displays. Using the above discussed guidelines will certainly help you get started with the development of your mobile-friendly site in the most efficient manner possible.
Jack Calder converts various aspects design and development of responsive mobile-friendly websites. He has shared above the most popular practices on how to develop a website with mobile-friendly features. Right now he is indulged in the process where he converts psd to responsive html effectively.