Your Site on Mobile Devices
The number of people who own smartphones and tablets has been consistently rising for several years and doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Approximately 50% of people who own a cell phone have now chosen a smartphone.
This means your agency website needs to be adaptable to the smaller size of a smartphone screen as well as the larger tablet screen. Many of your customers are already using mobile devices as their main method of Web access.
Take a minute right now and, if you have a smartphone or tablet, access your agency website. What does it look like? How easy it is it to navigate between pages? Do your “fat” fingers make navigation hard? This is the experience an increasing number of your customers are having when they visit your website on these devices.
Here are a few ideas to think about when creating your mobile-friendly web design strategy for your agency.
Mobile version of existing site
It is easy to determine the type of device that is accessing your website, desktop/laptop, mobile phone, and tablet. A mobile version of your website uses software to detect these devices and sends web pages to that device that are “mobile friendly.” If your agency website is using WordPress as your content management system, there are numerous plug-ins that easily add this functionality, often for free. This is currently the process I use for my websites. There are limitations, however, with ease of navigation as well as content delivery.
Separate mobile website
There are a number of organizations that have created separate mobile websites that have been completely designed for the smaller screens of a mobile device. While the mobile experience can be much better, these types of sites require additional development and maintenance of a second mobilized website in addition to the main agency site. This drives up the expense associated with creating and maintaining both sites.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is the approach that the user interface design should be flexible enough to automatically adapt to the screen size and platform of the visiting user. Recently, Google’s Pierre Far announced responsive design as the company’s formal recommendation for mobile content delivery.
Utilizing the latest web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and web fonts, you can design a single site to automatically scale and adapt to any device used to view it. This means that you create and maintain only a single website capable of adapting to the user interface of the device each individual visiting the site is using. This (relative) uniformity in user experience would appear to be wonderful for search engines, agency budgets, and developers alike.
Google’s position on this is important. They were faced with a major problem: if every site had an entirely separate experience for mobile and desktop users, which site would actually be the one worthy of the incoming link? Would that rank pass to the mobile site and, if so, how much and why?
Mobile device usage is only going to increase. It is important that agencies begin to think about a mobile web strategy so you will be ready to interact and engage with your online customers on whatever type of device they want to use.
Has your agency developed a mobile-friendly version of your site? What strategy did you use? Let me know.