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Optimise to Win, Pt 5: Mobile-Responsive Design – Stay relevant & be usable on-the-go

Note: this is the fifth of our multi-part Optimise to Win series, where we show you how the best businesses get more conversions than their competition.

The global per-capita rate of smartphone ownership has now surpassed that of personal computers. One in every 5 people on earth have a smartphone. Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

In three years, smartphones went from a pipe dream to an essential feature of modern life. In the same amount of time, responsive design has become an essential feature of the modern web. In short, if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices, you are losing business.

Also, tablets are showing faster adoption rates than smartphones. In just 2 years, they reached a global market penetration of 6% – smartphones took 4 years to reach that level.

As you can see in the chart below, mobile devices won’t stop their acceleration anytime soon – within 3 years, more web browsing will be done on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops.

Considerations for Mobile Design

1. Context can be important

If your users are accessing your site on the go, are they looking for the same features as they would be on desktop? For each page, you need to prioritise content for each screen size or context to best suit your users. It’s very simple to present slightly different content to desktop than you would to mobile users.

Are your users shopping online while they’re looking around in-store? Do your users quickly need your phone or address when they’re finding you on mobile devices? Will they want to watch that 5-minute-long video when they reach your homepage? Will they sign up for your services while they sit in a waiting room? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when prioritising your site’s elements.

As we mentioned in Part 4, the more you can simplify, the better.

2. Is your navigation mobile-friendly?

Mobile device users have much less screen space than their desktop counterparts, and navigation menus often take up a lot of space unnecessarily. Mobile users are often better suited to have a menu button that expands to show all options than having a full set of page navigation at the top or on the sidebar like they normally may have. There are a lot of options for navigation that works great for both desktop and mobile browsers.

3. Does your site require too much bandwidth to mobile devices?

In development, it tends to be easier to hide an element or two for mobile devices than it does to only load exactly what’s needed in the first place. Generally, mobile users have much slower connections than desktops do. It is vital to serve them only the assets they need, and to minimise the assets required for mobile versions of a site in the first place. We cover this in more detail in Optimise to Win, Part 2: Performance.

4. Does your site cater to the unique capabilities of mobile devices?

If your site has a user picture for their account, do you allow a photo to be taken with the mobile phone? If your web app offers a useful service that could be used often, have you encouraged users to pin your site to their home screens? If you have sliders, zoomable images, or other interactive elements, do they work with native device actions like swiping, pinching, etc.? These are the types of enhancements that can surprise and delight users and keep them coming back. It’s not too difficult to give your site a native app ‘feel’ with just a bit of forethought.

Sources: Business Insider

For more, check out our other Optimise to Win posts:

At Redfox Media, we employ all of these methods and strategies for clients in our Online Accelerator program. Enquire now to discuss how we can help your business, and get a FREE SEO report!

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