Website development for mobile users is the process of employing specific methods and approaches to primarily develop websites which can be optimally viewed on all mobile and handheld devices.
In recent years, people have ditched their laptops and desktop PCs for mobile, especially when it comes to browsing the internet. By 2017, the number of worldwide smartphone users is expected to reach 4.77 billion and part of that has to do with how easy and convenient it is to access and browse websites on mobile devices. Around 87% millennial smartphone users have reported keeping their phones with them around the clock, while 92% US adults own at least one smartphone.
Why Smart Mobile Website Development is so Important
Smartphones remain the preferred choice for going online and the need to stay connected has made that even more apparent.
Businesses often fall into the trap of modifying their desktop website to better fit mobile device screens and this is a mistake to begin with, even though it may save costs. Understanding the needs of your customers is what dictates the grand order of things – people always tend to visit and stay longer at websites that boast a highly receptive and responsive website design while offering features specifically supported by mobile devices. Do you have a good mobile website development strategy at hand? Let’s discuss further.
Mobile devices are here to stay and a top choice for nearly everyone wanting to go online. A mobile-friendly website also serves well for SEO purposes. If you aren’t designing your website specifically with mobile users in mind, you’re essentially losing out on a major share of customers who want to view your site on their mobile devices. At the worst, they’ll navigate away to a competitor site that boasts a highly mobile responsive and adaptive website. That’s lost revenue.
Mobile Websites Vs Desktop Websites
In today’s always-online digital space, mobile website development and optimization
should not be considered as an add-on, or something that should compliment your
Mobile is the present, which isn’t exactly to say that you don’t need a killer desktop website. However, it’s become increasingly natural for web surfers and searchers to get what they need using mobile devices. And if you’re not quick to adapt in this regard, you are pretty much shooting yourself in the foot.
It was reported in a survey that online users are two times more likely to share social content from their mobile devices rather than their desktops. The bottom line is your users ought to be able to do quite literally everything on your mobile websites that they can on your desktop one. And the real value lies in how you display it.
Keep both versions of your websites well-optimized, though for rather obvious reasons, you need to pay special attention to making it 100% mobile friendly, which we’ll be discussing in more detail later down this article.
6 Features Mobile-friendly Websites Have in Common
Here are just some key elements that make up a really great mobile-optimized website:
A Highly Responsive Design
The best optimized mobile-friendly sites use a highly responsive design – our website responds and adapts on the go to fit the screen of any mobile device as users navigate between pages. Responsive sites maintain a common look and feel across all laptops, tablets, smartphones and even desktop screens, while functioning ideally on each type.
Smooth and Seamless Navigation
The need for simple and straightforward navigation becomes even more important on mobile devices. For example, vertical navigation is most definitely better than horizontal navigation where scrolling is needed. Much like the desktop variant, mobile users should be able to find the same information on the mobile version with the least amount of taps. Make sure clickable areas are large enough to avoid “misclicks”. Stick to simple navigation and page flow with only enough menu categories to let users go where they want, rather than overwhelm them with too many choices.
If your website’s packing a lot of data, nested menus work great in order to make it look organized, easily readable and highly clickable.
Simple and Adaptable Forms
A mobile-friendly site will ensure that users do not get burdened with too many fields when filling out contact forms. Also see to it that the same fields cover enough screen real estate to be displayed property on a touchscreen device or tablet.
A Distinct CTA
A clear call-to-action lets users know what action they must take after landing on your site, and it should be very convenient to act upon as well. For instance, one of the most common actions businesses want users to take is to get in touch with them for a quote or other similar action that “gets them started”. The CTA should ideally be in the front and center, where you also find the contact number and web form button. This helps drive better conversions from the mobile-optimized website.
High Click-to-call Functionality
Apart from the CTA, users should also find it easy to take other actions such as conveniently clicking on company phone numbers and being accompanied by a screen asking them if they would like to get in touch.
A map of the business location lets users know if you are anywhere within close proximity of their location. Often people will not bother calling you and just check out a map on their smartphones in order to find your place of business. Maps should display property on all mobile screens along with clear directions to help people find you on the go.
How Walmart Canada Reaped the Benefits of Mobile Website Optimization
Wal-Mart was able to increase mobile sales dramatically by optimizing their mobile website design.
Here’s how they did it:
Walmart Canada came to the conclusion that their mobile site was in dire need of optimization. They did just that and saw not only a 20% conversion boost but also 98% more mobile orders. What Walmart.ca did was put mobile first and now they’re really reaping the dough and ranking super-high in sales.
After reviewing a few analytics reports, the retail store giant realized they were getting dense traffic from tablets. The marketing team was quick to identify with this since their target audience was primarily moms, who happen to be among the largest pool of tablet users.
The problem was their website looked less than exciting on tablets. Walmart’s team agreed that it was high time to introduce a touch-centric, tablet-focused approach coupled with a responsive website redesign. They carefully looked at what factors could contribute to making their ecommerce mobile site more clickable and touchable.
Just to give you a generic example of this application, on a desktop device you’ll use your mouse to click and select item quantity. On a tablet though, you use a scroll selector or tap a virtual selector to select the number of items to be purchased.
Back to Wal-Mart: a tablet-first design meant taking a fresh approach towards how to collapse information better so that everything is neatly presented on smaller screen sizes. This laid the groundwork for smaller screen sizes as well, particularly smartphones. The team understood where information needed to be condensed and where it had to remain hidden, which again led to quick adaptation for a tablet and smartphone-friendly design as well.
The chief purpose of a responsive website design is to make an ecommerce site look nice and presentable on all screen sizes. The underlying code dynamically responds to user’s’ screen sizes. In case of Walmart.ca, their site code was reprogrammed to efficiently condense desktop content and seamlessly fit on tablet and smartphone screens.
You see, this specific mobile-first design approach allows for the right content to take priority. In Walmart’s case, they knew their users’ buying patterns very well. And since the core shoppers were moms using tablets, they prioritized displaying summer pool items and outdoor furniture first rather than electronics. However, if the primary or target user was on a smartphone, they’d prioritize displaying electronics first.
5 Ways to Successfully Develop Your Website for Mobile Users
Rather than scaling down your desktop site to accommodate mobile devices, start building a mobile-first site from the ground up. Your users want nothing more than to view your website on their mobile devices in a smooth and seamless manner.
Keep the following in mind:
On the subject of menus and navigation, what really counts is design and appearance. Avoid design complexity and instead, focus on user experience. Each menu should cover elements users are looking for, rather than users having to sift through pages until they find the desired menu option. Desktop menus have a big menu bar which in contrast, should be the opposite for mobile sites. So what you need is a drop-down menu or one that sports a sidebar.
Navigation needs to be as straightforward as possible. Consider left/right swiping features so users find it easy to move between pages on their handheld devices. If it’s feasible, you might want to consider non-touchscreen users as well as those who are still on a Blackberry device, even though that trend is starting to fade away altogether. If the latter holds true for your users, have navigation features that integrate with both touch and non-touch elements.
Keep Those Forms Concise
While it can be a tempting idea to have lengthy forms in order to get extensive information out of customers, it’s never a good idea for mobile users. What you want to do is keep the forms short and sweet. Keep in mind that mobile users are not navigating your site using a mouse/keyboard combo. Filling out forms can be cumbersome on a mobile device; design your forms and utilize screen real estate to minimize or eliminate this altogether.
People launching your website from their smartphones should be able to easily contact you from the “call button”. Rather than asking them to submit a contact form, offer the option of making direct calls. Believe it or not, this can mean the difference between a conversion which hardly takes a few seconds to complete, or users navigating off your website, frustrated.
Think of other mobile-specific features that make it easy for your target users to quickly find what they need, such as the one we discussed in the Wal-Mart case study.
Target Devices Your Users are on
On the subject of mobile web development, it’s important to consider not just touch screen phones but also people using phones with styluses or keypads + touch screens. Understand what devices your target audiences use. Again, we can’t help but quote the Walmart Canada example, where they optimized their site specifically for moms using tablets. It is a good example of things done right, after all!
Understand the features supported by all mobile devices and optimize your site development around those.
Keep it Nice and Compact
Think about this: only a select few smartphone users have 3G or 4G connectivity, and therefore, your mobile website needs to be light, smart and fast to deliver an uninterrupted user experience to all mobile web surfers. Did you know that pages loading even a second slower see a 27% drop in conversion rate?
The Future – Mobile Websites
With so many users sticking to smartphones and mobile devices only to surf the web, its hard to imagine the absence of highly optimized and user friendly mobile websites. Consider this:
- 91% users in the US prefer mobile internet access; 61% of these are on smartphones
- At the moment, there are 10 billion active mobile devices across the globe
- 46% users do not wish to return to sites that perform poorly on mobile devices
- By 2020, 4 out of 5 users worldwide will have a smartphone
- Mobile has overtaken desktop as the preferred way to go online
- Tablet users spend 20% more on online purchases than desktop buyers
Need more grounds to justify the need for a mobile-friendly site? We think not. It’s the present and future of businesses communicating with customers and prospects.
Go with AOK Marketing and You Can Never go Wrong
People want usability, adaptability and high responsiveness when navigating websites across a multitude of mobile devices.
AOK has been providing digital marketing solutions since the dawn of the millennia. Our expertise and insights have helped many businesses rank highly in the digital online battleground. Contact us now or call for a FREE consultation at 1.888.566.2577 and see what wonders we can work to bolster your mobile website design and usability.