Phones are smart enough to open Desktop websites, but network is still not smart to support higher speeds. With 3G, speeds have been increased but it is still out of reach of many due to its high cost. It means that we need to find alternatives to enable our readers and customer to interact with our websites flawlessly without the speed being a barrier.
Mobile websites are so getting increasingly popular to meet the demand of people! Most of us use smartphones 90% of time to get day-to-day information rather than opting for a PC or Laptop, thus its the responsibility of a web developer to create such a mobile website that is not only easy to use, but also provides much information.If this sounds like “now we are talking” stuff, then here are a few guidelines on how you can optimize your mobile website to suite the needs and demands of people:
1. Keep it Simple
The first point, regardless to say, is to keep your mobile website simple. When I say simple there could be many meanings to it, but the one I am trying to talk about is keeping your site uncluttered and well-organized. The most prominent reason people won’t visit your mobile website is if your website doesn’t give them what they want in least possible time and clicks. To make it simple, the best way is to be in your customer’s/reader’s boot and think that way. If you are a Location Based Service provider and want to offer your customer ability to search anything near them, the best homepage would be to directly offer them the ability to search. I am also quoting a tip from Craig Besnoy, U.S. managing director for NetBiscuits, another mobile web consultant:
Keep navigation to a minimum while delivering the maximum amount of engaging content within a smaller screen then that you get on a laptop or desktop
In addition try to keep all the interactive part of website above the fold on the screen and all the text content might go below that. This increased website’s interaction with potential visitors. A nice example website which keeps it all simple would be Google, refer to below screenshot to see what I mean.
2. Maintain Cross-Platform Support
With the increasing variety of mobile phones and their respective OSs, the need to maintain cross-platform support has emerged as a necessity. If your website is designed for an iPhone, it will certainly not look good on Android or Nokia and might even not work on older Java based devices. Despite of the firm belief that mobile market is dominated by Android and iOS, most of the world’s population still uses Nokia and Other Java based devices. And it’s never a good idea to ignore this population. Making mobile websites for all the mobile platforms available in market is certainly not feasible but creating a generic website which does not contain advance codes supported only by iOS or Android will still play the trick.
3. Don’t Overload Mobile Websites with Images
Images, the cause to bring down your site’s load speed, and increase load time. You should never use the same version of image on your mobile website that you use on your Desktop website. Images must always be optimized to fit in small screens and should not weigh more than 5-10 Kb. Images of large size impact users in multiple ways, first and most important: it increases the load time of website, second and still significant: it increases data usage for users – which is never a good deal for users with limited data plans. Following is a screenshot taken from twitter’s mobile site for iPhone, though it contains images in the form of background slideshow, but still doesn’t cost much on data usage and loads the page quite fast, because of lighter version of images:
All popular desktop websites, that offer mobile website can be accessed using a “m” sub-domain for eg. m.google.com, m.yahoo.com etc. It is not something compulsory to have a “m” sub-domain for your mobile website but is always a good practice. People are used to think in this way and first thing they’ll type is m.yourdomain.com to visit your mobile site. Not only should you have a “m” sub-domain, but your website should be able to automatically redirect user to appropriate website according to the device they are using, this is very important to avoid confusion while still capturing your user’s full attention.
Admit that there are more creative people then you and they design things better! You don’t have to copy their hard work but you can always get inspiration from them and enhance your work. We have a lot of brands that are endorsing through mobile websites and some of them have mobile websites that sets up benchmarks like ebay, A simple design, supported on multiple devices consisting of fewer images and even has a “m” sub-domain is one of the best mobile websites in my opinion.
Do rigorous testing and be open to feedback and suggestions. Google’s GoMo is a website that let’s you see how well your website performs on a mobile device, another option with same genre is AtMio to compare your how well your website design performs.
But ultimately its your customer who are going to provide you feedback and rate your website. Take every possible action to encourage them rate your website and leave you feedback.