Mobile Is the New Normal — Why a Responsive and Functional Website is Key

July 29, 2016

It's official: If you're not incorporating mobile resizing in your business website design you will lose customers.

Whether we’re looking up a phone number or searching for a new restaurant to try U.S. consumers are spending the majority of their time on their phones. We can point to a number of tipping points:

  • A 2014 study by comScore said Americans spend the majority of their time consuming digital in mobile applications e.g. the Facebook app on your smartphone.
  • In 2015 Americans for the first time spent 51 percent of their digital media time on their mobile devices according to the 2015 version of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker.
  • In May 2015 Google acknowledged that more than half of all its searches were done on mobile devices in 10 countries including the United States and Japan.

And there’s one other critical reason to make your website mobile-friendly – search engine optimization. Google announced in May 2016 that mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor in mobile searches. That means that – all other things being equal -- sites optimized for mobile will rank higher than sites that are not. Higher search results mean more website traffic and more website traffic means more business.

Formatting a website for mobile devices means taking steps to make sure the site looks good and is easy to use on any device. Do you want to see what your website looks like on everyone else’s tablet or phone? Use Screenfly. This free tool allows you to enter your website's URL and click on various icons to tests its viewability across all smartphone types and tablets. If your site looks off or is difficult to use now is the time to get your web development team involved.

Options for mobile resizing include converting your site to responsive design which automatically changes how the site is displayed on different devices; dynamic serving which uses the same site URL but delivers different code depending on the device; or building a separate site specifically to display on mobile. Google’s preferred platform is responsive design.

Keep It Simple Silly (KISS Principle)

KISS is an acronym for "Keep it simple Stupid" a design principle coined by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The "Stupid" part is a little harsh but it's memorable. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. That’s perfect advice when building any website but especially so if you build a separate mobile site.

In terms of text and design most mobile users are looking for key pieces of information: directions to your business your hours a map or a click-to-call phone number or email address. Therefore your home page should have those key pieces of information -- anything that answers who what when where and how questions. Mobile site visitors won't be scrolling through lengthy bios or press releases. And they definitely won't be filling out a contact form with multiple mandatory fields.

Hubspot has a list of the best websites using mobile design and standouts include Google Maps and Buzzfeed. The Google Maps mobile website is exactly the same in appearance and functionality as the corresponding Maps app. Buzzfeed's mobile site is another good example of design. As a news site it could overwhelm and cram a tiny screen with tons of links to stories but instead it selects only a few top stories and frames them in large colorful images that can be accessed with the tap of a finger.

Keep The Layout Minimal

Because it takes longer for a website to load on a mobile device your website should be streamlined to include a minimal number of pages and subpages. Also as most people still can't type on their tiny keyboard without making mistakes (ensuring frustration) make sure your mobile-optimized website cuts out the need for data entry by providing drop-down menus big buttons and/or pre-populated text fields (i.e. checklists).

Shutterfly the photo-printing service does a great job of laying all of its services out in its mobile layout with large buttons on the home page. Etsy the DIY online marketplace also uses large buttons on the lower half of its mobile site and also provides a search bar so that users can cut out a lot of browse time and search for specific items.

These are just a few tweaks you can make today to ensure your website is coming across crisp and clear on the tiniest device. Let Excelerate Digital help you with your business goals to keep those customers coming back time and again. Visit us at:

 Galen KashtockBy Galen Kashtock

I lead sales support strategy and execution. Our team is hands-on from start to finish with the sales process ensuring that we build and execute wildly successful media strategies for our clients.