Mobile Website Design

I just spent an incredible week in Boston with Digital Master Mind, and attending InBound 2012, and all I can say is wow. There’s so much I want to tell you about; it’s hard to know where to start. The buzz around mobile computing was so huge and so tangible though, I really want to talk about that.

Google Evangelist Jonathan Cline is a very vocal supporter of mobile, and he shared some amazing data:

  • 25% of Google search traffic today comes from mobile
  • 80% of people today never leave home without a mobile device ( I certainly don’t!)
  • Mobile search is largely local, with 33% of searches focused on local products or services

And Jeanne Hopkins, CMO of SmartBear, really kicked things up a notch with this:

  • 9 out of 10 mobile visits result in some type of engagement or interaction (Yes!)
  • Over 50% of those engagements lead to a purchase (Whoa.)

But the thing that really pushed me over the edge was when I attended marketing strategist David Meerman Scott‘s incredible keynote speech, entitled INBOUND Now. Afterwards, I couldn’t get on the phone to my designers and developers fast enough to fill them in on everything I’d heard. Among other things, David predicted that by 2014, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than on desktops. He also noted that, while 4 billion people own a mobile phone, only 3.5 billion own toothbrushes.

OK, so that last fact gave me the ‘ick’ factor for a minute or two, but I recovered in plenty of time to board my plane.

During the flight home, I conducted a very unscientific test, and found that less than 10% of the websites I visited on my iPhone were mobile-enabled. After everything I’d heard at Inbound 2012, I was really surprised that so many organizations were seemingly unprepared to compete in the mobile arena. This issue, if not addressed proactively and soon, could prove crippling to any business—and in this fast-evolving market, playing catch-up after the fact may prove futile.

So the opportunity is there, and now is the time to take advantage of it. But how do you quickly and cost-effectively create a relevant, mobile-friendly website? There are two primary approaches:

#1 – Responsive design or redesign

In this approach, you would take your entire website and redesign it to expand and contract based upon screen size. Unfortunately however, your full website often contains much more information than users can process on a small screen. Another issue is that it causes elements to shift around rather imprecisely, so you lose control over how your site looks on a mobile device.

#2 – Sniffer code

The other option is to use code that “sniffs” for the type of device that is being used, and serves the appropriate content formatted for that specific device. Most typically, this is a ‘lite’ version of your full website, because we know a person viewing a site on a 2″ x 3″ screen generally has very different needs than someone sitting in front of a 30″ monitor.

So how does a “lite” version differ from a full website?

  • Less and more concise copy
  • Fewer pages
  • Thumb-friendly buttons
  • Narrower and fewer forms and form fields
  • Click-to-call functionality
  • One-click email (bypassing a Contact Us form)
  • The option to click and follow you on social media

Within the next 12 months, every business is going to need a mobile-optimized website in order to remain competitive. If you are currently hosted on our servers and using our Content Management System (CMS), we can help quickly get you ready to do business on mobile devices. Contact us for more information, or if you’d like to see a demo.

Now put down that smart phone and go brush your teeth. 🙂

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