October 1, 2015

3 Key Rules for Effectively Approaching Mobile

When it comes to accessing information online, mobile phones are on the rise. Well actually, that’s a bit misleading. Truth be told, mobile isn’t just on the rise–it’s here, it’s pervasive and it’s only going to spread faster as shown in our recent infographic Mobile-Responsive Trends in 2015. In today’s marketplace, having a mobile site isn’t just a nice add-on, it’s more or less a requirement for any business that wants to stay relevant.

This past spring, Google announced changes to its search ranking algorithm that actively punished any website that didn’t have a mobile counterpart, leaving many companies scrambling to catch up lest their rankings take a hit. If that wasn’t enough to convince you that going mobile is a must, the rise of Generation Z should be. According to Fast Company, by 2020, Gen Z “will account for 40 percent of all consumers.” Upping the ante from their Millennial predecessors, Gen Z (also affectionately known as iGen) accesses the internet from an average of five different screens (mobile phone, laptop, desktop, iPod/iPad and TV), and expects a unique user-experience from each one. Mobile phones are a constant companion for up and coming internet users, and if you don’t meet your users where they’re at, you’re going to miss out.

If you think you’re ready to invest in a mobile site but aren’t sure where to start, doing preliminary research can be a little overwhelming. The abundance of free resources available online can certainly be helpful, but distilling that information into actionable next steps is a bit more involved. Here are a few key takeaways to help you get started:

  1. Keep it simple – When it comes to a quality mobile experience, simplicity is sacred. Keep your content short, your design clean and your navigation minimal. Even the most basic website won’t transition well from desktop to mobile without some paring down and refining. Remember that the goals of your mobile site should be different than the goals of your desktop site. People don’t come to your mobile site to read your life story or navigate through funky functionality, they come to find a specific piece of information or perform a certain action. You’re not going to achieve that goal if one is just a smaller version of the other.
  2. Cut and condense – If you’re not sure how to simplify your site, a content audit is a great place to start. Examine your site’s analytics to determine which pages are the most visited and which ones rarely see the light of day. If no one’s looked at the content on a certain page in years, it probably doesn’t need to go on your mobile site (and, in fact, could possibly be cut from your desktop site as well). Organize your navigation and architecture so that the most sought-after information is the easiest to find. Take the opportunity to cut the fluff from your existing site and rework it to be clearer and more concise for mobile.
  3. Test and reduce – Although the average internet user has slightly more patience for the time it takes to load a page on a mobile site versus a desktop, there’s still a razor-thin margin of error. If your mobile site takes more than a few seconds to load, people are going to move on. Web elements naturally take longer to load on a mobile phone, so it’s important that you reduce them as much as possible. While it’s important to maintain a visually appealing, immersive experience (particularly for those Gen Z visitors), you’ll need to pare down the graphics when making the transition. Test your desktop site to determine which elements are dragging down load times, then consider cutting them from the mobile site if they’re not completely essential. If they are, see if it’s possible to reduce the file size to make it more mobile-friendly.

Still feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to start? Don’t worry, we got your back. We’re happy to chat about your options and walk you through the process of going mobile.

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