1. Your Audience is Mobile. Trust me.
Need proof? I can understand your need to crunch numbers since redesigning your website is a daunting undertaking. This Infographic makes the data more digestible.
The truth is, more and more users are viewing websites on mobile devices. Studies have shown that 67% of users are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site. The payment processing industry is shifting to mobile and even the Girl Scouts are accepting mobile payments for their Thin Mint cookies. You may have also seen the NY Daily News photo comparing the 2005 and 2013 papal ceremonies; the growth and prominence of mobile devices is apparent.
The more I thought about this, the more I realized why mobile is on the rise across the globe. Internet is not as readily available in some countries, but with a smartphone any person can access websites via 3G and cell signals making your mobile user experience that much more important.
91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7
If you don’t embrace mobile, your business will remain forever stuck: I found this article incredibly insightful and it shares additional statistics such as 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7. Oh, I’m part of that 91%. I don’t even wear a watch anymore or carry around a camera because I know I can use my phone.
So, you think you have plenty of time to catch up on this trending expectation? Read reason #2.
2. Google recommends responsive web design.
If you don’t care about search engine rankings, than skip this and move on to #3.
In June 2013, Google announced changes to its SEO ranking algorithm. Essentially, the new algorithm will favor mobile friendly websites and will start to penalize sites that do not consider their mobile users. In fact, Google recommends developers follow the industry best practice of responsive web design, which resizes and reorganizes the elements of your web page to fit and function gracefully on mobile devices.
That said, I’m not sure how much time you have to make the transition, but it is imperative you start considering these changes since mobile has been here for several years now and user interaction shows alarming growth as the device for website access and consumer purchases.
3. It’s hip. Okay, that’s not really #3… Develop your elevator pitch.
It’s no secret that Response Web Design is the buzz word of late. Everyone’s talking about it. If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon, you should. Think back to the 1990s when you may have been debating whether or not your company needed a website. You’re in that situation again as you consider whether or not your company needs a mobile website. The difference is, you’re probably not starting from scratch and you already have the necessary content for your website. You simply have to fine tune it for the mobile experience.
With the limited space available on mobile devices, you’re forced to focus your message put the most important content in front of your users. You’ll eliminate any unnecessary fluff or distracting design elements, leaving you with a clean, clear, concise website. Honing your message in this way is somewhat like trying to develop your elevator pitch. It’s a good exercise for any business.
Your site design and content should always consider your users and how you wish to engage them. Properly message your offering and direct them to the right location quickly and intuitively regardless of their device and you will find that happy users will return to your website multiple times.
Discovering Mobile-Friendly Options
The question of whether to create a separate mobile site at a different address (m.url.com) or use a responsive design that delivers content to many devices, is one that many people ask because they do not want to remove their well designed desktop experience that has worked for them thus far. I for one, cannot imagine managing two sites when I have to option of managing one more successfully, but I did not start out with a site with hundreds of pages to convert so I can empathize with this feeling of anxiety. Google has commented that having two separate sites can be a disjointed experience for users and frowns upon using different urls.
There is also the option of choosing adaptive web design, which automatically changes the user experience and content depending on their device. This method hides content from users and if not applied well, it can be very frustrating for users who need or want content that you have hidden on mobile devices.
For some, a interim solution might be as easy as adding a plugin or tool such as jQuery Mobile to help make your site mobile friendly. For others, you may want to make changes in multiple phases so you can start moving in the right direction.
Thus, it is important to start considering mobile changes to your web presence sooner rather than later as we’re seeing more and more users and purchases on mobile devices. Google has already made strides to nudge businesses in that direction with their ranking algorithm changes and they have named responsive web design as an industry standard. Despite how painful it may be to redesign your whole website, especially if you’re in the business of e-commerce, statistics show that if you don’t make the change, your business could start suffering.