When was the last time you really noticed the people around you on the Metro? Have you ever counted the numerous devices the people around you have in their hands?
Let us paint a picture for you; one that is all-too-familiar: the man to your right is scrolling through his Facebook feed, chuckling at the latest cat video to grace his feed.
Beside him, a boy of about 9 sits with a tablet in hand, his feet kicking absentmindedly above the floor as he conquers the latest instalment of Angry Birds.
Your elbow bumps the woman to your left, who apologizes and pulls her laptop higher on her lap. Her phone is in her lap, a mobile hotspot likely activated as she types fervently in a Google document pulled up on her screen.
We live in an undeniably connected world. One where internet devices come in every shape and size. We use them as pocket assistants, mobile workstations, and handheld entertainment.
According to Statista, the number of mobile users in Australia has grown from 16.6 million in 2011 to a projected 20 million in 2019. With that increase comes a growth in preference for mobile browsing. In 2018, 52.2% of global web searches were done from a mobile device.
That’s over half, with the percentage ramping up with every new year. It begs the question: is your website keeping up with the mobile trend? If not, it’s time to make a change.
Let’s dive deep into today’s web techniques businesses are using to connect their website with a mobile audience.
Why Sites Should Look Good in Every Size
In today’s mobile environment, your website can’t be rooted in desktop displays. It has to adapt, just like businesses adapt to consumer trends. Not doing so will mean your site will get left behind.
Google, the world’s search engine behemoth, keeps the pace with its users. It acknowledges their preferences and adapts their user experience. Part of this comes in the form of Google’s shift toward a “mobile first” approach.
There isn’t a new development. In fact, Google made an official announcement of this change back in 2016. Since then, their algorithm has prioritized mobile friendly and mobile responsive websites in their search results.
Websites that do not adapt to mobile use or have long loading times are pushed below those who are in order to make searching easier for mobile users. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your content may be if a mobile user can’t read and navigate it easily.
But how do you turn an outdated website into something that’s mobile responsive?
Before we answer this question, it’s important you understand what “mobile responsive” means.
Understanding Mobile Responsive
In the past, web developers would create two designs for a website: a desktop version and a mobile version. However, web techniques have evolved since then, bringing with it a chameleon-like technique that adapts better than ever before.
This ideal approach involves designing a dynamic website that is mobile responsive. This term refers to a website’s ability to change in scale and size based on the device it’s on. It’s not a separate site, but rather an ability integrated into a single design.
However, it’s not the only technique out there. Often we hear the terms “mobile friendly” and “mobile responsive” used interchangeably, but they’re actually two separate techniques.
The Difference Between Mobile Friendly vs Mobile Responsive
Mobile friendly is a web technique you can use to adjust your site for mobile use. However, it’s what we would call the “bare minimum.”
A mobile-friendly design shrinks your website down to fit on a mobile screen, but it doesn’t necessarily make it functional. At least, not as functional as a user would want it to be.
Nothing about the design changes. The user can zoom in or zoom out to read the page content, but the page layout looks exactly like it does on a desktop.
What’s wrong with that? If your website looks great on a desktop, wouldn’t that be a good thing?
Not necessarily. Think about how you interact with a mobile device versus a desktop computer.
On a desktop, you have a large screen, a mouse, and a keyboard. They’re large enough to use comfortably, but a phone or tablet is different. These handheld devices are much smaller, using fingers and a touchscreen in place of a mouse and keyboard.
You navigate through scrolling. This is handy, but if a site is mobile friendly and not mobile responsive, it can be challenging. Imagine scrolling through a long page of content only to have to scroll all the way back up to view a different page.
Users don’t want to sit and scroll for days to find what they need. They want an immediate solution.
Enter: Mobile Responsiveness
Mobile responsiveness is the next level up. It does far more than adapt your website to various screen sizes. This technique also integrates mobile tools to make navigation and actions easier.
- A single column layout for easy reading and scrolling
- Reduced image sizes for faster loading times
- A minimalized design to eliminate unnecessary features that clutter the display
- A simplified menu design for touch navigation
- Automatically adjusted text size for easy readability
- Easy communication such as “click to call” buttons or large, simple form fills
- Minimal need for scrolling or pinching to enlarge or minimise the screen
Mobile users prefer mobile responsive designs because of these features. In fact, McKinsey and Company states 61% of visitors are unlikely to return to a website that isn’t easy to use on a mobile device.
Does Your Website Meet Google’s Mobile Friendly Standards?
If you aren’t certain whether or not your website meets Google’s mobile requirements, take a few minutes to use their mobile-friendly test. This simple, online tool is free to use. Simply paste your website’s URL into the box and click the “Run Test” button.
Google will then run a quick analysis to determine whether or not your site meets the minimum requirements. If it doesn’t, you need to use one of the proper web techniques to adjust your site’s mobile displays.
The Proper Web Techniques for a Mobile World
Let’s assume you review your site only to realise it isn’t mobile responsive. Now what? At this point, you have two options:
- Adjust your current website to become mobile responsive
- Scrap your old site and create a brand new mobile responsive web design
Before you decide on one or the other, ask yourself these questions:
- Is my website outdated?
- Does my website fail to convert leads?
- Does my website not give an accurate impression of my brand?
- Does my website use a template theme?
- Does my website take too long to load?
- Does my website fail to rank online?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then a brand new website may be the best approach. However, if you have an excellent, modern design that simply needs to adapt to mobile use, this process is fairly simple.
To make a website mobile responsive, a web developer accomplishes 4 main tasks.
The first is to identify what screen sizes your website should be able to accommodate. Next, they create a flexible grid to align with them. What this means is they create various resolutions of your website to fit today’s numerous mobile screen sizes.
The web developer will then organise your content and media to fit within these various screen sizes.
Finally, they use CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets, to tailor mobile queries and ensure the best display of your content and optimal user experience.
Think Beyond Display
As you adjust your website for mobile use, don’t just think about how it looks. Consider also how it works. A website is, and should be, more than just your business card.
A well-designed website helps you drum up new business through clear call-to-actions and easy contact methods. This is especially true if you own an e-commerce website or gain most of your leads through online means.
If your website doesn’t have content that converts, don’t be afraid to ask for insight. Reach out to existing clients for feedback, including what they like about your website and what they think can be improved upon.
Also, give it a try yourself. Access your website from your phone and try to view it from the perspective of your target customer. Ask your employees to do the same and really put your website under the microscope.
You may find a redesign may be in your best interest.
Does Your Site Need a Mobile Makeover?
While these web techniques are great for reaching today’s mobile market, not every business or brand has the time or expertise to execute them. If your website is in need of a mobile makeover or you are looking to build a stunning web presence from scratch, let’s talk.
Our web design and development team creates mobile responsive websites that are meant to be more than just a billboard for your company. We create layouts with the intention of helping you convert visitors into consumers with a click of a button.
Book a free consultation with us to discuss how we can help your business make a stunning impression on the web.