We see it all the time. Whether you are on a train, walking through the park or even at work – people are glued to the cell phones. While they are hypnotized by their glowing blue screens they are likely searching the web and could be browsing your website.
So why when we design and test our website on desktop do we often forget to check mobile as well?
Don’t worry I am guilty of this as well. 40% of the traffic to my companies website comes from mobile and that number grows every year. Even when our key demographics are people 65+ that number is still increasing. So what can we do about it?
I recent project that I headed up allowed me to answer just that.
Find the importance mobile will play
When redesigning our blog we had to think about how the users would be navigating there.
Two ways came to the top of my mind. One, the user Googles a topic that we have written a blog about and arrive at the blog organically. Since these users would play into the fact that 40% of our website visitors come from mobile – so chances are someone will be one their phone when they are Googleing this information.
The second way would be through Facebook. We post about 90% of what is in our blog on Facebook. When there are statistic saying that there are 1.74 billion mobile active users on Facebook and at least a quarter of Facebook users are mobile only users – you better be thinking about how your blog will look to them.
Due to those two facts, it was clear from the start that we needed to pay just as much attention to how the blog would function and look on a smart phone as it would on a desktop.
Not all website would have the same strategy and therefore could put a lesser focus on mobile view, but the first step should be to asses your current traffic and potential future traffic and find the level of importance it will play in development.
When you design have mobile in mind
Remember that the screen is tiny and in our case many of our visitors will be at an age were smaller text is much harder to read. So make the text as big as possible and do not worry about the scroll factor. If the visitor has landed on this blog chances are they are interested in this topic and don’t mind scrolling to read more information. They will only be more likely to leave if they cannot read that information.
Don’t put large images at the top of the page. Images take up a lot of space on web pages when you’re viewing them from a mobile device. So what might look nice on desktop might be distracting and off-putting to a mobile user. Plus larger images will increase your load time on mobile, encouraging people to bounce from your website.
This isn’t a design feature but a good reminder when creating content. Long link text is easier to tap on mobile. With the ease of a mouse click link text that is one word might not be an issue, however on mobile this could get tricky especially for someone with larger fingers.
Test all browsers
The same way that you test browsers on desktop it is important to test all browsers in mobile. Safari will auto link phone numbers to enable push to call, where as Firefox does not. If you have a video that requires Flash some browsers might have issues supporting it. Even things like font style can render differently per browser. It is important to test them all.
Test all devices
Don’t assume if its good on an iPhone Chrome browser it will be good on an Android Chrome browser as well. Similar to how all browsers react differently browsers in different devices can do the same as well.
Much like how on desktop you can use WebEx or GoTo Meeting to track a users experience in real time. Use it to learn and make adjustment before launch and get real time feedback from people who are unfamiliar with the project.