Does your website cater for smartphone users?

 

Does your website cater for smartphone users?

Posted on May 25, 2016

 

Last year research by the communications regulator Ofcom revealed that smartphones are more popular than laptops or PCs for accessing the internet. The average smartphone user spends two hours online each day, which is twice as long as those using laptops and PCs.

Mobile first?

The widespread use of mobile devices has implications for web developers, and businesses with websites. Traditionally web developers would create a website for a large screen, and then add on mobile-friendly features like responsive design, or media selectors to switch to a mobile version of the website (basically a second version of the website that is only seen by mobile users).

If more smartphone users are accessing a website than desktop users, then it could be argued that developing the website for smartphone users should be done first.

Mobile friendliness

Google ‘s robots now test web pages for mobile-friendliness and can penalise pages that do not display well on a mobile device by reducing their ranking within search results. If you have two different versions of a site, then the desktop version could rank lower than the mobile one.

Any web page can be tested for mobile friendliness by going here and entering a web page URL. You can, of course, also look at your website through your own phone. If you have to ‘pinch’ and zoom in to read the text, it’s NOT mobile friendly.

Google has a useful guide to creating Mobile Friendly Websites here.

Sharing

A study by the website ShareThis found that mobile users are twice as likely to share content on mobile devices as on desktop computers. Therefore it is vital that the mobile version of the website has sharing icons to spread the content on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Content

Many websites use the same web pages for both their mobile and desktop sites, using responsive design to adjust the display according to screen size. This means that the content is exactly the same no matter what devices are viewing the site.

The alternative approach is to design two versions of the web site, with code that detects the screen size of the viewing device and then serves up the mobile version for smartphone users, or the full version for desktop users. If this approach is made, it is advisable that both versions contain the same content.

Some mobile websites have limitations when compared to the desktop version. When designing a mobile website it is preferable to allow users to do everything that can be done on the desktop version, especially when you consider that mobile use will become more prevalent over time, and desktop use will dwindle.

Ecommerce

Although more browsing is done on mobile sites Smart Insights, a marketing advice website, found that 70% of online purchases are done from desktops. This suggests that smartphone users browse shopping sites and research purchases but mainly buy from their desktops.

This could mean that smartphone ecommerce sites should be more tailored for the browsing experience. It could also mean that the shopping experience of many ecommerce websites isn’t very good on a mobile phone.

Any webmaster that ignores mobile users is missing out on a lot of visitors and potential customers, we estimate more than half of your business could be lost if your website isn’t mobile friendly.

Another way of saying this is: by making your website mobile friendly, the business you receive from your website could double.

Now, who wouldn’t like that? Most websites can be made mobile friendly without the need for a redesign. Contact us to see if your website can be made mobile friendly.

Darren Jamieson

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 15 years’ experience in these fields.

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