Why Mobile Optimization Is Essential
Well over half of all page views on the Web come from mobile devices, and the share keeps growing. A business that wants to build its online audience needs to provide a first-rate mobile experience. If a page is slow to load or difficult to read on a phone screen, many people will give up on it quickly. Each one of them is a lost business opportunity. Another reason to have a mobile-optimized site is that Google and other search engines take the mobile experience into account when assigning search ranks. Pages with slow mobile loading times will appear lower in the search results. Using responsive design will help to give all users a good experience, regardless of the device they’re using.
Considerations for mobile-friendly pages
The small screen is the most obvious concern for mobile optimization but not the only one. Downloading and display speed is an important factor. Data speeds will vary with the quality of the connection and even at best are slower than broadband connections. Mobile processors aren’t as fast as desktop machines, so they can’t display complex pages as fast.
The user interface is another key factor. Most mobile users don’t have a keyboard, and their pointing device is a finger or stylus rather than a mouse or trackpad. Some actions, such as entering text and selecting precise screen positions, are more difficult. Others, such as hovering, are impossible. Controls on the mobile website need to be designed and placed so that users can manage them easily.
Optimizing user interfaces for mobile devices
A user interface that works well on a desktop can’t just be transplanted to a mobile device. The mobile view needs serious decluttering.
- There should be as few controls as possible on the screen at one time.
- A menu can replace multiple buttons.
- The page should minimize the amount of scrolling the user needs to do.
- Options should become available contextually, rather than being on the screen all the time.
- Pop-ups require extreme discretion. One which looks discreet on a big screen may block everything on a phone’s screen.
And if your page has Flash animations, get rid of them as quickly as you can. The technology is obsolescent on all devices, but it doesn’t work at all on iOS. A site that relies on Flash will immediately lose a huge number of readers.
Keeping mobile page loads fast
Bloated pages will take a long time to load on phones and tablets, making users unhappy. Having huge images or too many images will drag down page speeds. Websites should limit the number of images when going to a mobile screen, and they should include smaller versions of the image files than the ones sent to desktop screens. A useful technique is “lazy loading,” where images don’t load until the user scrolls them onto the screen.
Consider a mobile-first approach
The mobile audience is the most important audience for many businesses. It’s not just the number of page views but the kinds of uses people make of their devices. People in large numbers use them to get directions to stores and to make purchases. They make heavy use of them while in the store. Over a third of shoppers have used mobile devices to make purchases. Making the mobile experience the primary one ensures that they’ll be able to get the information they want without excessive waiting or squinting. The reward is repeat customers and increased sales.
Our responsive website design services deliver a user experience that’s optimized for devices of all kinds. Get in touch with the mobile optimization experts at Creative MMS to find out how we can create a great site for your brand.