Over a decade ago, the introduction of the iPhone transformed how we do a huge number of things including browsing, shopping, and getting information. For small business owners, a mobile-friendly website is now no longer something that’s simply an option. Today, more and more people are using their smartphone as their main computer. While around three billion people worldwide use smartphones, around half of these own a computer, and mobile traffic is on the rise every year. Phones tend to be more versatile and, in most cases, provide more value than a computer to the end-user. If your website isn’t optimized for all sizes of mobile screens, your business is losing out massively.
Why Responsive Design Is Important
While larger smartphone screens are the trend today, we are seeing some newer smartphone models with smaller screens – and of course, there are people who simply find that using a smaller smartphone screen works better for them. This is why it’s important to ensure that smaller screens are taken into account when optimizing your website for mobile. Responsive web design means that no matter the size of the screen, whether the user is viewing your website on a smaller smartphone, a phablet, tablet, or a desktop PC, the site is able to easily fill the screen and be easy to browse.
Think Mobile-First When Designing Your Website
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners today make when designing a website is assuming that the majority of their customers are going to be shopping with them from a desktop or laptop computer. But this isn’t always the case, even for B2B companies where their customers are more likely to be computer owners. More people are accessing all kinds of websites from their mobile phones and tablets, so focusing too heavily on the desktop experience when designing your website means that both you and your customers are going to be missing out. Thinking mobile-first when designing your website will ensure that every decision you make has mobile users in mind, particularly as these are likely going to make up the vast majority of users.
Consider Your Audience
Never assume that your audience is going to be viewing your site on a different device. You may be surprised at the types of businesses and products that people will look up from their mobiles rather than a desktop or laptop computer. Whether you are redesigning your current website or launching a website for a new business, the first step should be to get to know your audience and the devices that they tend to use the most to browse the web. Once you determine how your customers are going to be accessing your site, it will be easier for you to come up with an appropriate strategy.
Test on Several Devices
When designing a mobile-friendly or responsive website, many make the mistake of testing it out only on mobile devices with larger screens. And while a good responsive design should work well on any size of the screen that it’s viewed on, it’s a wise idea to conduct your tests on differently sized devices wherever possible in order to ensure that it is truly responsive. This gives you a better idea of how a wider range of customers are going to be viewing your site and whether there are any changes that must be made in order to ensure a pleasant viewing experience.
Ask for Feedback
In some cases, business owners only realize that their website isn’t mobile-friendly when they start asking customers for feedback. Once your site is launched, it’s a good idea to ask your customers to answer some questions about how they find your site and how easy it is to view. Ask them to specify the type and size of the device that they are using to view it so that you can determine whether or not there are any issues with smaller screens compared to larger ones.
Less is More
When it comes to mobile-friendly design, remember that less is more – especially when you’re working with smaller screens. Since smartphones are not quite as powerful as a desktop or laptop browser, it’s not just the aesthetics of the design that you need to think about, but also whether or not any elements of your design are going to have an impact on the site loading time. Ultimately, the best design strategy to take when it comes to optimizing your website for smaller screens, in particular, is to take away as much unnecessary clutter as possible. You want a design that is focused and straight to the point since you have a lot less screen real estate compared to a computer browser.
Ensure That It’s Consistent
Before mobile design became the main priority, company owners would first design a website that was to be viewed on a desktop before putting together a mobile version. But the problem with this was that the desktop and mobile sites often ended up looking completely different from one another. As a result, this leads to inconsistent user experience, particularly for users who switch between a computer and a smartphone when visiting your site. Instead, simple, responsive design helps you avoid this issue and provide a site that looks and feels the same no matter which device it’s being viewed on.
Consider Creating an App
Smartphones have made the concept of apps more and more popular. But does your website need one? Since apps are designed to work well on any screen size, it may be worth considering designing a companion app if your company provides certain functions like shopping for products, booking services, checking balances or uploading information. This way, you can keep your website strictly informational and reduce clutter, while including a link to direct your customers to download the app for anything else.
Today, any business needs to have a website that is first and foremost mobile-friendly. While bigger screens are trending right now, don’t leave your customers who prefer a smaller sized smartphone behind.