The mobile web is the single biggest change in the internet’s short history. Smart phone and tablet users will make up more than half of your audience in the next couple years.
Having said that, optimizing your website pages for mobile is now an essential element in the web development process. Here’s a simple checklist that you can run through to ensure your site is ready for mobile browsers:
Scalability is key. Can your site be viewed well on different sized screens? There are thousands of devices are out there, so selecting just a few screen sizes isn’t practical.
The bottom line is that you have the ability to make your site work on any device. And the way to accomplish this is Responsive Design to make sure that your site scales properly in both portrait and landscape.
Content is King
Obviously, mobile screens offers much less real estate to fit content on a page. Ideally, keep headlines short and to the point. Likewise, keep the page clean and clutter-free, with a low number of links and one image, if possible. Easily readable text and a call-to-action are also important.
Bits and Bytes
A web page should always be quick to load, especially when viewing on a mobile device. If your home page takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds to load you’ll start losing a lot of users.
Your page should be light weight when it comes to file size – below 20 kilobytes is ideal. Images take a lot of time to load and so should be kept to a minimum. There’s also the question of code – it should be nice and tidy and the number of requests being made to the server should be minimized as well.
Being able to read what’s on the screen is really important, which is why less is more. If you can’t read the text on a phone held at arm’s length, then it needs to be bigger. You really are limited for space.
Internet users have a short attention span, so if you don’t grab their attention, or you frustrate them with small, unreadable text, you’ll lose them.
Navigation should be simple. Keep buttons to a minimum, and ensure that they pass the thumb test (if you can’t tap it easily with your thumb on a phone, then dump it).
Any web development team should include a testing phase, and as part of that, a specific mobile-testing phase. Test your site and make sure it works.
Remember throughout the design process that mobile is a different medium to PC. People have even less patience on mobile because they are usually on the go and want to complete their task with a minimum of fuss. Slow loading times and unresponsive interaction also irritate people, so take the time to get them right.
Getting it right can be rewarding and could mean the difference between the site performing well against the competition and losing traffic, fans, and customers.