Optimising your website for mobile users

There is absolutely no doubt in this modern world that there are a vast amount of people actually using their Smartphone’s and other mobile devices to browse the internet. Many years ago, things were a lot simpler. You would simply have to have a website that worked on usual computers and people would visit them. Now, things are a lot harder and you really have to take mobile users into consideration, no matter how much you don’t want to.

Mobile users can use a variety of devices these days from everything including Smartphone’s to tablet Pc’s such as the iPad. In fact, according to some of the most recent statistics, more people actually purchase things on mobile devices as a percentage and people that search for businesses on their mobile devices are extremely likely to visit the business shortly after. These are just a couple of reasons that you need to take mobile users into account.

 

Ensuring that your website is well designed

In order to make sure that people on mobile devices stay on your website and then eventually visit you are purchase something form your company, you need to make sure that your website is well designed/ This is pretty easy to do for a usual computer but you need to remember that nearly all mobile devices have small screens and most of them are touch screen. This can often mess things up without you realising. Here are some of the things that you should look out for when you are creating a website with mobile users in mind:

Small text: You should make sure that your website looks good on a mobile devices screen which means making sure that it isn’t cluttered. Mobile screens are extremely small so the bigger you can have text and the less complex you can make the pages, the better in many instances.

Flash: This is a big problem, especially for Apple devices which currently make up a huge percentage of both the tablet PC and Smartphone market. Flash is something that has been used for many years to make websites a bit more ‘flashy’ but unfortunately, Apple devices do not support flash at all. This means that if your website is actually built using flash, you will have no chance when it comes to mobile users. If possible, you should get any flash elements on your website redesigned into a HTML5 alternative. There are a lot of HTML5 video players out there and HTML5 is definitely the future of the internet.

Rollovers: There are a lot of aspects of website design that require users to roll over a certain element of the page with their mouse in order to get it to work. This means that for touch screen users, you face a problem as they don’t have a mouse. Make sure that no important elements of your website use rollover areas as this will NOT work.

All of these things are things that really need to be taken into consideration when optimising for mobile users as they are of upmost importance.

 

Creating a mobile friendly website

W3C Mobile Validator

Of course, one of the things that you can do is to actually have two different versions of your website; one that is optimised for mobile devices and one that is optimised for others. This is a great way to give both users the best experience possible but it also means having two websites designed essentially. Here are a few of the reasons that you might want to think about doing this:

It gives a much better user experience: Having a website that is designed specifically for screens of a small sized that are touch screens will give your visitors a much better user experience and will more than likely allow them to gain trust in your company. It will allow visitors to actually look around your website easily too.

Search engines like mobile websites: Search engines will know when you have a mobile website and more than likely rank you a little higher for it. This is because you have taken the population of internet users into account.

The only problem with mobile websites is that they can be costly to have created. However, if budget isn’t an issue, then go for it!

 

Checking the speed of loading

One of many websites to check page load speeds.

The speed that a website loads at is extremely important on any computer. However, it is more important than ever on a mobile device as currently, internet connections are much slower than on wired speeds. This means that you need to optimise your website so that it loads quickly for mobile users. If you don’t do this, they will often get bored and leave your website before it has even loaded. This is something that is obviously not very good for business.

In order to optimise your website for speed, you will need to make sure that there are no large images to be loaded on your pages and that most of the content is text ideally. Anything like a huge array of images will slow things down and inevitably lead to you losing customers.

 

Having a native app created

Example of a native app on the iPhone

Obviously, there are some mobile devices that are more popular than others; most notably devices like the iPhone and iPad along with Android devices. If you have the budget and you have enough visitors from these devices to warrant the cost, having a native app developed can be a great idea.

Native apps will be created so that they are optimised specifically for that device, giving users an experience that is second to none. It also allows you to send users things like Push notifications on many devices and ensures that your company is always in mind as it is stored on their device constantly.

Although it might be fantastic for everyone to have these, we would currently only recommend these to larger companies.

 

Conclusion

There is simply no way that you can have a website in this day and age and not account for mobile users. If you check your analytics, you will find that a good percentage of users are from mobile devices, no matter what your business is all about. If you haven’t already, make sure you look into optimisation for these users.

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