Mobile Design Best Practices

 

A mobile website is the easiest way to create your presence on smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. By having a mobile website you make sure people can discover and interact with your business from their phones, at a local level, and virtually in any situation they might run into. Mobile Design Best Practices

That said, I already hear your objection: “A mobile website? Why not an app? Apps are cooler!”. So, let me immediately clarify why I am inclined to suggest a mobile website instead of an app:

Versatility

A mobile website can adapt to all screen dimensions right out of the box. An app can’t, unless you code it to.

Update and Maintainance

Tweaking a mobile site is less complex than getting your hands dirty with a mobile app. You or your webmaster can take care of that, without waiting for the app store of your choice to approve your edits (if they do). Furthermore, you don’t have to stay current with OS upgrades, or keep adding new features to please your users.

Adaptability

A mobile website may become an app, but a mobile app cannot become a mobile website.

Cost

When you develop your mobile app, you must submit it to at least three online marketplaces to reach a wider audience (App Store, Google Play, and Windows Marketplace). Inclusion inside these stores, and all downloads of your app, will cost you far more money than developing a one-size-fits-all mobile website.

With a mobile website you keep everything simple, whether you choose to build the website yourself or you decide to go for a mobile website builder, which gives you a zero-coding-needed online interface to create your site from the ground-up.

There are quite a few alternatives out there whereby you can build, design, customize, update and run your mobile website without thinking to anything else but your business.

Anyway, these services (or your webmaster) cannot perform any miracles. First and foremost, you need to have a clear strategy and a set of goals that you want to accomplish with your website.

Having just a clone of your desktop website aimed at mobile users, is not going to pay off in the long run, as mobile users are a completely different animal from standard web surfers.

 

Here are some best practices to make sure your mobile website is really useful:

Design for Speed

Remember that your users are mobile users. This means they’re on the move, have little time to check out your website, and need a speedy and seamless process to accomplish their tasks.

Build Things Differently

Do not just replicate all the stuff you have on your site. Choose only the elements that are really important to your customers and organize them in a way that makes them easily accessible.

Think Beyond Smartphones

Smartphones are great, but they are not the only type of mobile phone out there. Many people still have a standard cell phone with basic WAP or GPRS Internet connectivity. Make sure you have a lightweight version of your site to accomodate the needs of this kind of users.

Conslidate Your Brand

Use the same colors, font, and logo you have on your standard website. Make customers recognize you and your brand immediately, so they do not feel stranded.

Make Local Contacts Easy

If you own a physical business, do not forget to add a map, your address written as text, and a click-to-call button that allows customers to ring you up with a single tap.

Use Large Texts

Mobile screens are usually tiny, and that makes small letters difficult to read. Employ a font which is big enough so that people can easily read all your texts.

Shrink Your Images

Images do make the difference on a website, but they need to load fast and adapt to the size of different mobile screens. Avoid unnecessary zooming as much as possible.

Provide a Simple Navigation

Allow customers to navigate back and forth on your pages with a simple tap. Do not have them resort to browser controls, so they can fully peruse the whole height of the screen while using your website.

Be Interactive

Use QR codes and push notifications to direct customers to special offers, coupons and discounts that you want to feature on your website.

Test Everything

Click on every link, open every menu, proofread every text. Also, make sure your website looks great in both portrait and landscape mode.

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Author Bio
Daniele Bazzano is an online marketing consultant based in Italy. He is currently the CMO of mob.is.it, a company that helps both non-technical people and Internet professionals to start up their own mobile business by creating and reselling professional mobile websites

Small Businesses: The Importance of Having a Dynamic, Useful Website

We’ve all been there. You hear about a great restaurant/store/online business that has a new, exciting product or idea. You go to visit their website, hoping to see what the company is all about. You arrive at their URL. You start clicking around only to find little information, blank web pages, and no real purpose to the site. This can be very disappointing to a consumer.

In the new era of social media, sometimes companies (small businesses in particular) can find themselves relying more heavily on a Facebook presence and not cultivating a great website. While Facebook is free and easy to update, businesses should not forgo a website just because they have a useful Facebook page. Many consumers still prefer the “one-stop shop” of an actual website.

Here are some tips on important things to include in great, customer-oriented website:

Basic identifying information. This may go without saying, but it’s surprising how often businesses leave the most basic information off of the front page of their site. Some important info to have would be the name of the business, the physical location (if applicable) the hours of operation, and concrete contact information (lots of companies choose to use the “Contact Us” form, but an actual name to call or e-mail is much more personable). Some additional information that can be helpful to have on the very first page of a business site would be a blurb about what exactly the company does, and even the name of the CEO or top management. This way, consumers have a way to identify with the business.

Serves a purpose. A basic website that gives out company information, location, etc. is a huge step in the right direction. However, to keep customers coming back to your site, it must serve a purpose to your consumer base. For example, a site for a restaurant could have the ability to make reservations right on the web. Some restaurants have even added the ability to place an order online. For a clothing store, it’s ideal to be able to order online. Even something as simple as a short game, a request form (for new products, etc.), or a virtual suggestion box are all good to keep people coming back to the site again and again.

Great design. Simply put, a website should be pretty to look at! Most consumers who are savvy enough to seek out a company website are also savvy enough to know when little to no time was spent on the design. You know that old saying about eating with your eyes first? This is absolutely applicable to web pages. Customers are likely to spend less time on a site that isn’t visually stimulating. If you don’t want to hire an actual web designer, there are many free programs available online that can help novices design an aesthetically pleasing website.

Having a website with these qualities will no doubt increase your customer base. It’s also a great way to get a new business established. A strong online presence will help draw new eyes to your product or service. This is especially beneficial to small businesses that are trying to get off the ground!

Mega Totka

Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan also specializes in local business news.