Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

A number of my clients ask me “Is my website mobile device friendly?” The short answer is “yes and no,” but the truth is a bit more complicated. Web browsers on smartphones like the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android can render websites much like on a desktop, but navigation can be difficult and your visitor may have a hard time finding what they are looking for. The real answer is to create a separate website just for mobile devices. Thanks to a bit of code, your website can detect if your visitor is on a mobile device and then send them to the mobile version. When creating a special mobile website, I always take the following into consideration.

Bandwidth Is a Hog

While a mobile browser can display a full blown website, the time to download all of those beautiful graphics eats up bandwidth and time. If the visitor is in an area of low reception, then the download will take even longer. The goal of the mobile website is to reduce the burden of load by using very sparse graphics. Excess graphics are stripped out and the website is reduced to a logo, solid colors, and a few icons. This will allow your visitors to fly through your mobile website and reduce the frustration of waiting for slow load times.

Ease of Navigation

When trying to browse a website on a 3.5″ or 4″ screen, nothing is worse than having to scroll left, right, up, down, and everywhere else. A good mobile website will require you to scroll in just one direction: up and down. By putting all navigation links and content in the plane of view, your visitor will have a much easier time finding what they are looking for. If your main website has lots of different pages, think about what are the top 3 to 5 links people on a mobile browser need to visit to get your message.

Ease of Content

No one wants to slug through forty pages of text spread out over ten to fifteen links when surfing on a tiny mobile screen. All the marketing hype and fluff is great on a desktop website, but on a mobile phone, people just do not have the patience. A good mobile website has 3 to 5 links and very sparse content; just enough to sell your visitor or provide something of value.

Conclusion

As more people surf the web on iPhones, Android smartphones, and BlackBerries, the need for having a mobile website is critical. Check out your own website on a mobile browser and evaluate the experience. If the text is hard to read or the navigation is too complex, then it’s time to seriously consider moving into the mobile world.