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The Importance of Optimising Your Website for Mobile Devices

June 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 225

Advances in mobile technology and the advent of 3G have seen an explosion in the amount of people accessing websites from mobile phones. They aren't just using the web to read content either - thousands of users are now using their mobiles to make purchases, watch videos and play games, all thanks to the improvements in mobile internet networks.

Without optimising your website properly for mobile devices, you are missing out on the opportunity to tap into to a potentially huge market of new users, as well as alienating existing users of your desktop offering. Even worse, your competitors may be taking the users you're losing through their own mobile efforts.

Mobile devices come in many different shapes and sizes, and this is an important consideration to make when optimising your site for mobile. Most companies are happy to have their design respond to a device with a similar screen size and power as the iPhone, which obviously ignores the wealth of other models out there.

Non-smartphone users probably make up a greater proportion of your customer base than smartphone users. Never have your site optimised with a particular model in mind; take the time to research different models and adapt a solution that'll allow even customers with small screens to use your site with the minimal of fuss.

Simplicity is a key aspect of mobile web design. Customers accessing your site through on-the-go usually aren't looking for the elaborate design and navigation options offered to them by a desktop site; they're usually looking for quick information that's easy to access and won't take too long to load.

With this in mind, making things simple for your user is vitally important. Make content the focus of any page - make sure you're removing any unnecessary features of your desktop site such as sidebars and advertisements - and make it big enough for the user to locate and read. Strip down any picture or video elements to the bare essentials as leaving these in will make your site sluggish and unresponsive, which is the opposite of the experience a mobile user demands.

Finally, consider what sort of mobile web presence is right for your company. If you run an e-commerce site, you'll find that a well-designed app by professional web developers will provide your customers with a more comprehensive and smooth experience on-the-move. If you're a heavy-on-text content service, such as a news agency or blog, a simplistic single-column layout with large text will be your best bet.

Optimising a site for mobile is difficult and it's recommended that you leave technical work in the hands of the experts if you don't feel particularly confident about web development. However, it always helps to know exactly what you want and what you need from a mobile site - it'll help you judge the end product better and also help you express exactly what you need with any web developer you decide to work with.

Christopher Joseph Smith is writing on behalf of Fluid Creativity, a digital agency specialising in web development

Source: EzineArticles
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