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Mobile Site Design

Smartphones now make up 40% of all mobile phones in the US

- Nielsen | July 2011

And, those numbers are growing rapidly everyday. Research shows there will be 91.4 million mobile internet users in the US by the end of this year.

It's definitely something you can't ignore, but do you really need a mobile site?

Depending on your business goals, you should determine what your users really want to do on a mobile site before you just decide to build it.

Because of the differences in how people browse on a mobile device, you probably don't want to duplicate your entire existing site - even if you can make it mobile friendly.

The key element in mobile design is simplicity - don't offer more content that what your mobile users need because you could actually defeat the purpose.

Mobile users are not sitting around in their PJ's browsing on a big screen like they would on their desktops - they are looking for something in particular - to buy, to find directions, to phone you, or to find out something about you. Because of this, keeping elements simple will help improve their experience.

What does the mobile user want to see?

One way to determine what they want is to take a look at your current site web statistics and consider the following:

  • How many mobile visitors does your existing site get?
  • What content are they searching or viewing?
  • What content could be relevant and beneficial to your business if offered to your mobile visitors?
  • Do you intend to keep your existing site and moble site updated or do you need a simpler solution?

What type of mobile site do I need?

Taking the time to identify the content on your existing site that may be useful to mobile visitors will help determine what type of mobile site you should build. If you only have very few mobile users, and they occasionally use just a couple of features (like finding your phone number, or hours or directions), you may be better off with a mini mobile site.

On the other hand, if you identify areas that would be of greater benefit to your mobile users or you would like to offer them a large amount of content (like ecommerce) - you should consider a more robust solution.

There are a few ways to modify your current site using styles and scripts so that mobile devices have access to the essential content. Often, these methods fall short in terms of making sure your site will look good across the wide array of mobile sizes and screens.

Because of the differences in how people browse on their desktop versus mobile devices and the differences in mobile browsing technology, the mobile experience definitely merits its own design.

"Mini" Mobile Sites

A mini mobile site can be a good solution if you've identified the "essential" content for your mobile users is relatively small. The design for your mini site should reflect your company brand but with the addition of a few important mobile design considerations.

  • Designed to adapt to various, smaller screen sizes
  • Simplified point and click navigation
  • Less scrolling
  • Appropriately sized (bigger) "touch" buttons
  • Images should be reduced to appropriate sizes for mobile viewing
  • Incorporate click to call, click for directions, sliders and other touch features if appropriate for your visitors

More robust mobile sites

For websites that want to offer a lot of content or functionality to the mobile user - it is sometimes easier to create a new site that is formated in a way where the desktop and mobile site share the same content but it is delivered differently based on the user's device.

  • Eliminates updating two separate sets of content
  • Allows for a consistent and integrated user experience across channels
  • Requires more site and architecture planning
  • Works well for heavy content sites or ecommerce sites
  • Highly scalable for future growth of your website

We take a common sense approach to creating a mobile site for your visitors - based on your needs and your users. We can help you decide what type of mobile site would benefit you and how it should be implemented. Give us a call or connect online.


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