- Parthenon Software Group
Our world is in a constant state of technological change and advancement. When some of the first mobile phones came out in the 80's they were big and bulky, weighing as much as 2 lbs. Over the years, the bulk has lessened significantly while capability and functionality have increased. Mere years ago, the average person wasn't thinking about how their phone could be used to surf the internet. Now, everywhere you go, there’s at least one person using their mobile device to access the internet. Businesses have picked up on this trend and have thus, started to develop their websites around making them as mobile friendly as possible.
Above all, usability is the key to an integration of mobile phones and devices. It’s been stated that 80% of users will leave a mobile site because of bad user experience. Let’s face it, in general the majority of customers will leave if there’s a bad user experience no matter that they’re doing or what’s involved. How can you make that less of an issue? Take a look at some basic tricks.
One of the best tricks to making your website more mobile friendly is to keep things simple with only the most relevant information. There's a high potential that a full website will have too much information and will end up hindering a user. This doesn’t mean you have to scrap your website and start over. If a prospective client is interested in what they see on their mobile device, they are likely to view your site later on a full screen. It’s a good idea to have a pared down "mini" site. Your website can detect mobile devices and re-direct users to the appropriate version of a page. What kinds of things should be on this mini-site? Only things that are catered to the needs of mobile users and inspire some kind of action.
Part of keeping things simple is easy navigation. When it comes to small form devices, navigation has the potential of being a nightmare of frustration. Using oversized navigation and buttons will alleviate the problem. Obviously, everyone has different sized fingers and mobile screens are small. It’s easy to accidentally press the wrong link and then get frustrated because you have to go back and start over. Keeping links and such thumb friendly increases the chances of users getting to your products and/or services.
Another trick is to design your "mini" site for visibility. Users want to get in and out quickly. You don’t have to make your text huge, just easy to read on different sized screens. It’s a good idea to ask yourself if all your important information is clearly visible and whether you want everything to be viewed on one screen or if it’s necessary that the user scroll down the page for more information.
There are plenty more tricks to creating a good mobile-friendly site. The aforementioned suggestions are merely a starting point. Also keep in mind, that not everything is going to work for your site. The best trick may be to put yourself in the shoes of the user. What kinds of site-related features are most useful to you when you're using your mobile device? Experimenting and getting user feedback will definitely help.
Curious how to make your website more mobile friendly? Take a look at Google Go Mo. Here, you can get a free analysis of your site as well as tips on how to improve it.