Imagine what you were doing with the mobile web five years ago. For most people, it wasn’t much. There was no iPhone, no Android, and reading the web on your phone was a novelty at best and a hopelessly difficult experience at worst. Today there are 311 million people in the US. According to Pew Internet, of the adults in that population over half own a smartphone. It's even bigger than that. Pew's report goes on to reveal that 28% of Americans see their mobile device as their primary way of accessing the web. Similarly, more and more people are finding mobile sites through a growing number of channels beyond search and directly typing in a URL. Social networks, emails, QR codes and text messages are driving people to mobile first. This is a trend that no one can ignore.
So, what if you did ignore it, hoping that your website will be good enough? Here are the five problems with that approach:
- You’re ignoring the needs of 28% of your potential visitors. Would you make a door into your office or showroom, then shut out one quarter of your customers?
- You’re making life hard for your visitors. Mobile users want a quick-loading experience because they are on-the-go. Less than 3 seconds is ideal. Normal websites, though quick-loading on a laptop, tend to load slower on a mobile device due to wireless speed, large amounts of content, and other optimization factors. Easy loading equals happy mobile users.
- You are making magnification of navigation a necessity. Mobile users want simpler navigation that doesn’t require pinch-zooming to see it. Brad Frost noted that, “your navigation should be like a good friend – there for you when you need it, but willing to give you space.” Consequently, mobile navigation should hit the important things the mobile user needs now, with the rest of the material accessible, but not prioritized. No zooming please.
- Fourth, mobile devices make up 20% of all U.S. web traffic. Forrester Research noted 23% of Americans use their mobile devices exclusively, and world-wide we are behind the curve: 30% in China, 44% in Indonesia, and 59% in India have no other device than the mobile web. Why own a computer if you are primarily emailing, browsing, buying and tweeting?
- Lastly, mobile devices are the go-to gadgets for consumer research. 37% of mobile users will research you online before (or while) visiting your store. Think of your first impressions to your potential customers.
So what’s our advice? Do something! Think seriously about how your visitors would use your site, what you want to display to them, and ultimately consider what is the most important information they need. Is it downloading your brochure? Probably not; finding quick ways to call you or find your office – probably yes.
Global Reach can help you create a mobile strategy that addresses all of these challenges and more. Our SiteViz Mobile content management system provides a dedicated mobile experience. In addition, current SiteViz clients can leverage both systems to share news, events, and other data from their main website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.