Design is everything. How we see the virtual world – or if you will, the Internet – is more important now than it’s ever been. Once, the desktop ruled supreme. It was the center of a users digital universe. Increasingly, that relationship has been supplanted by the mobile device.
Whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone, studies have shown that more people are experiencing the Internet on mobile devices, and it’s become quite common. More often than not, if someone visits your website it’ll be via a mobile device first, so creating a mobile friendly site makes complete sense. In fact, it’s essential for you to ensure competitiveness online. Having a broken link, or a website that requires pinching, gesturing and zooming in to view content is almost a surefire way to send a unique visitor packing.
If you really want to compete, you’ve got to get your website up to code. Here are some guidelines to keep your website mobile friendly.
Build an app for that
One of the better uses for apps is providing one across devices. An app can have a very specialized purpose: it’s a target destination. Instead of having to access your smartphone or tablet’s browser, a user can choose to access a website’s app and enjoy a more direct, and in some cases, more immersive experience. Plus, apps tend to be easy to use and consumers are comfortable with them. Particularly for travelers who want no-fuss access to the content they’re seeking, apps are truly essential.
Go for responsive web design
Responsive design is a phrase that’s been coming up more and more. And for good reason: it has a one size fits all goal. If a site has responsive design, whether you’re viewing the content on a 7” tablet or a 4” smartphone screen, the content appears the same and requires no manipulation on the viewer’s part. To put it simply, responsive design, is well, responsive. Google suggests that responsive design will help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it fresh. Additionally, having a single URL also helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content, and helps to reduce loading times. It’s not only the new buzzword, it’s a relevant must-have feature.
Sometimes you want something a little in-between. Maybe you don’t want to fully commit to mobile or abandon your desktop design, and hybrid websites embrace the best of both worlds. Rahaim & Saints LLP has a wonderful example of how to build a hybrid website. It’s easy to view on a mobile device and is just as attractive on your laptop or desktop. That’s what you want. And visitors will gladly return to your site if it’s just as intuitive an experience. The hybrid model usually means that users can get most of the content from the app, but will have to visit the full website for specific features. This could work for your site. It keeps the user engaged through both platforms.
Everyone wants to be unique. Have their own spin. Innovate. Inspire change. However, the move towards complex websites with a ton of visual content, shimmering patterns, music and other features is, for the most part, out of date. When viewers expect your content to load within 60 seconds of clicking their destination, there’s very little time for cute tricks that require Flash. Strip your website down to the basic essentials: message, content, substance. If it looks too fancy, or takes longer than 60 seconds to pop up, consider revising your concept. It’s a mobile world now, and you have to design your website to fit comfortably within that world.