As smartphones and tablets become a major part of how visitors browse the web, it becomes increasingly important to ensure your website comes up properly on any device.
Ever tried to pull up a website on your phone, only to find it was pretty much impossible to navigate, buttons were too small to tap, phone numbers didn’t call when you tapped them, and you had to zoom out and in to see anything? Maybe you’ve seen whole sections missing where Flash elements failed to display on your iPhone or iPad?
It can be maddening, can’t it!? You are sitting there being all responsible… trying to drive, text, eat a taco, drink a Coke and browse the web and the darn thing is too small to see. What a safety hazard!
We build all of our sites to be mobile friendly now. It no longer makes sense to leave out that tremendous market share. Sites that are hard to use or slow on mobile devices will lose that traffic.
Here are three solutions to the mobile issue:
Your simplest option is to just make some minimal adjustments to make sure it is easy to use on a mobile device. This typically includes making sure the buttons and navigation items are big enough to tap, that the site doesn’t break or shift oddly on small screens, staying away from Flash and keeping lots of open clear space. This works in a pinch and every website should at least present itself somewhat friendly to mobile devices.
The next step up is to have a mobile website. This is a different version of the site that mobile users are redirected to. It has an interface designed just for mobile users, loads faster and shows just the content mobile users need. This is good, except it requires you to maintain two websites and has a different URL structure because it is two websites.
The most effective and modern technique is for the site to be completely responsive. We call this responsive design or responsive layout. What this means is that the site actually adapts to the screen size based on certain parameters. This allows the same website to adapt and look differently on varying width devices. It is a much more complex procedure than the other methods, but works great on any device and eliminates the need for multiple websites for different devices. Our website is an example of a responsive website.
We recently had a client whose site had to be fully custom and fully responsive. We had to make sure that all of our conversion and design work was preserved on any size device. On some pages, a form would even adapt into a button based on screen size because there simply wasn’t room for it on the smaller screen sizes.
Responsive design is really where websites are headed and I expect mobile sites to completely give way to this growing trend.
We have a blog post all about it… click here to learn more about Responsive Design.
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