The 6 Key Components of a Mobile Site
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to search for products and services while on-the-go, and businesses that have not yet established a mobile-friendly site are more than likely missing out on significant opportunities to make sales. Mobile sites are inherently different from sites that are developed for desktop computers. A successful mobile website will be designed with an emphasis on speed and functionality, as rapid page load time is crucial to mobile visitors. Although building a mobile-optimized website may seem like a straightforward process, there are a handful of often-overlooked elements that can make or break the usefulness of any mobile site. Below are six key components that must be in place in order for your mobile site to be fully effective.
1. Keep Navigation Simple
With a mobile site, you cannot afford to have menu overkill. Pare down your navigational menu to include only the most essential options, and do away with any complicated sub-menus. Remember to include the most important information at the top of the page, so that a user won’t have to dig to find what he/she wants. Try to keep the “two-tap rule” in mind: From the home page, a user should be able to access any area of your site in no more than two taps.
2. Use Lower-Resolution Images
Download speed one of the most absolutely critical components of a mobile site. Opt for lower-resolution images on your mobile pages so that they can load quickly without freezing. If you are including multimedia content, be sure to disable auto-start so that the user can be in control of when they want to start (or skip) viewing the content, as auto-start often slows page load times down significantly. Background images are also notorious for bringing mobile sites to a standstill, so avoid using them at all costs. Most users prefer a clean, simple and fast-loading site over an elaborately designed site that performs poorly.
3. Design with Fingers in Mind
Buttons, icons and link text sizes should be large enough to tap without trouble, and should be spaced far apart enough to help users avoid tapping the wrong element by mistake. Utilize appropriate whitespace around each element, and make sure to test your site with a variety of users to ensure that your page elements are easily “tappable.” Another important detail to remember is to provide users with some type of signal to let them know when they have successfully tapped a page element. This can be a change of button, icon or link color, or some type of animation that activates when the element is tapped.
4. Keep the Essential Content the Same
When building a mobile site to mimic the desktop version of your site, you should retain as much of your core content as possible so that users will feel as though they are having the same experience on both platforms. Try to choose a large, easy-to-read font to keep users from having to zoom in too often, which can easily become tedious.
5. Prominently Display Contact Information
This is a crucial detail to include, especially if your website represents a brick-and-mortar business. Make sure that your phone number, street address and hours of operation are displayed prominently on your site. If your business is all-digital (e.g., an e-commerce site, content marketing site, etc.), you should include your contact information in a conspicuous location as well, as users may need to contact you while they’re on-the-go to check on an order, inquire about a special promotion, etc.
6. Include Mobile-Specific Functionality
Be sure to include mobile-specific functionality such as click-to-call, image recognition, barcode scanning and GPS-sensitive features, according to how they may apply to your particular site. For example, a retail chain might include GPS-based functionality to display only the stores that are close to the user’s physical location. No matter what type of business your website represents, be sure to enable click-to-call functionality for your phone number.
The main goal with any mobile site is for users to not notice that it’s a mobile site; it needs to be as intuitive and easy to navigate as possible. After all, you want your users to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience on your site, and by putting the above components in place, you can ensure that your mobile site will accurately and efficiently represent your online presence to mobile users.