In the past five years the mobile market grown dramatically with the number of devices expected to exceed 10 billion by 2020. Despite this, many companies still are not optimizing their site for mobile. Instead, many are offering mobile app downloads.
While the numbers certainly do cast apps in a favorable light – smartphone users spend 2 hours and 16 minutes on apps versus 22 minutes browsing the web – there is no guarantee that new or current customers will download a native app. When customers want to quickly research something, most still prefer browsing the web instead of opening up an app. Some of the most common searches are for store locations, comparing prices and reviews, and looking for promotions and discounts.
The importance of mobile optimization cannot be overstated especially for commerce companies. The average smartphone user spends $300 annually on mobile purchases and mobile commerce in general comprises 8 percent of the total e-commerce market. While this might not sound like a lot, mobile commerce has brought in $204 billion in revenue and will reach over $600 billion in 2018. Considering that 30 percent of mobile users will abandon a transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re ultimately losing out on a lot of sales.
The question is: how to design for mobile? The most important thing to keep in mind is that mobile is a completely different environment than the standard web page. You have to figure out how your design will run on different screen sizes with different processing abilities and how you will run and implement across multiple devices. While this might seem time-consuming, there are some easy ways you can optimize:
- Simplify your site design as much as possible to include large font sizes, large touchable buttons and critical information “above the fold.”
- Keep content short
- Serve images that are optimized for mobile
If you don’t have the time or money to redesign your entire site, you can create a parallel, mobile version. Creating a mobile version of your site does have its downsides, namely search engine optimization. In order to create a separate version, you will have to create a subdomain for your mobile site, which can confuse search engines and your customers.
Implementing Responsive Design
The solution to almost all mobile design issues is to implement a responsive design. This allows you to create a single version of your site that auto-adjusts to display on every device from desktops to smartphones. This helps improve functionality and readability and maximize the user experience.
When choosing a responsive design, remember to think about the transitions and navigation of your pages. As well, utilize features of mobile devices such as cameras, location services, tap detection and more. It will make your site that much more interactive and engaging. Most importantly, your site should be completely navigable with one thumb and requires no pinching to zoom in to content.
Creating Your Mobile Site
There are many tools you can use to better optimize your site such as: Sketch – a graphic design tool built for mobile. While these tools aren’t free, they can make it much easier to create a mobile friendly design. You can do a quick search to find the ones that suit your needs.
It’s pretty clear that demand for mobile friendly sites will only grow as more people have access to these devices. In order to stay competitive and remain relevant in the future, it’s important to incorporate a streamlined mobile strategy.