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In 2017 the phrase “mobile friendly” is certainly nothing new but still, some businesses are failing to see the importance of screen orientations for a website. We all use our thumbs more than a mouse now it seems and your business should be targeting your audience with this in mind.
So is your website user friendly enough to meet the needs of 2017?
Here are three key components of your website that need to be distinct on mobile versus desktop so that your website works to its full potential.
One of the most complex elements of designing for mobile users is the question of how content should be organised. The needs of your mobile users might be different from those of your desktop users. Or, their needs might be the same but their browsing behaviours could be different depending on which device they’re using.
When designing a mobile friendly website, the first priority should be organising website content to meet the needs of mobile users. Content should be stacked vertically to fit the narrow widths of mobile devices.
Desktop devices have portrait orientations so content can stretch across a screen and often multiple messages or images can live comfortably in such a wide space.
Mobile devices are usually used in portrait orientation and the smaller screens mean that even in landscape mode, horizontal space is limited.
It’s important for every business in 2017 that their website rearranges content from horizontal alignment to vertical when viewing on a mobile device.
Another thing to think about is what content should your website prioritise? Are the needs of your mobile users different? If so, it’s worth considering designing for mobile in a way that prioritises the needs of those users, rather than simply copying them from your desktop site, which was most likely designed with desktop users in mind.
In the early days of mobile web design, it was common to strip out much or most of a website’s content and launch a mobile site with the minimum of what it seemed like a mobile user would want to know.
Now in 2017, mobile users want to be able to access the same browsing experience on their phones as they are on their desktop computers. Furthermore, mobile is the sole or primary device for many people so a fully-operational mobile site may be the only way to reach a portion of users.
If your business website is now compatible for your target audience you could miss out on vital business. It’s crucial that when you design your website your design it with an online marketing strategy in place. This way you can work on how your website will function before it’s even live.
As an online marketing agency based in Manchester, we spend a lot of our time optimising our websites for maximum conversion rates. We understand that a poorly designed web form is guaranteed to affected conversions. The same is true, of course, on mobile. Your website needs to be designed to make it easy for mobile users just as it would be for desktops.
If your website is difficult for mobile users to scroll back and forth horizontally in order to complete a form then you will most likely loose their business. In order to make the form fill process as easy as possible for mobile browsers, make sure form fields align vertically.
Help your users out by providing predictive options for fields with many potential responses. Offering predictions allow users to move through the form quickly and reduce opportunities for typos, which are more common when typing with thumbs on a small screen.
ASOS offers predictive text for the origin and destination of a user’s flight search. When searching for trainers we can see suggested key phrases that we are offered to find what we are possibly looking for.
Because filling in forms on mobile is usually boring, you want to make it as easy as possible by reducing the number of fields. To accomplish this you should only ask the user for the information that is absolutely necessary to complete the transaction. Having additional information about the user might be convenient for your company, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of a conversion.
Menu formatting is definitely a key area of difference between desktop and mobile. On the desktop, it’s common to have mega-menus with many categories and sub-categories. This type of setup works great for desktop users who have screens large enough that they can read the text in those menus and can easily click on text links.
It’s a different story on mobile, of course, because screens are small and thumbs are usually large. Mobile menus should be designed with these things in mind. That means single-level menus with large text or buttons, and vertical alignment for menus with many options.
The example above is how you can run a mobile friendly and desktop friendly website at the same time. Although the site still keeps is familiarity it creates a user experience that will most likely be rewarded through sales.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the features of a mobile friendly website that need to be distinct from the desktop version, but we do think that these features are three of the most important ones.
The important thing to remember for your business is to always consider the needs of your target audience on mobile, tablets or desktops. Having a website that works ok is not going to be good enough moving forward you need to be maximising the business you can get across all channels.
Hopefully, the examples provided in this post serve as inspiration for improving your website but if you would like to discuss some of these points we have raised why not contact us and we can review your current website and your marketing strategy and work out was is best for your business moving forward.