Jan 17

Mobile Website Design: Fad or Necessity?

A few posts back we talked about some advantages of redoing your website.  Today we’re going to look at mobile websites and answer the question:

“Do you really need a mobile website?”

The number of wireless subscribers in the U.S. is now estimated at around 322.9 million.   More importantly, data usage–an indicator that people are using their phones for web-related activity–has seen an 111% increase from the same period a year earlier.  (But don’t take my word for it, just spend some time driving around Tampa, Florida and it will become all too clear that mobile usage is on the rise!  Put down the phone and drive already, right?)

Is your website getting a significant amount of mobile traffic?

An easy way to find out is by setting up a Google Analytics account, which among other things shows you the percentage of your traffic that comes from mobile devices.  We can help you with this if you want to save time or need a crash course on how the analytics system works.

If you discover that you are getting a lot of traffic from mobile devices, or even if you currently aren’t but realize that in the future that’s bound to change, you need to ask yourself:

Is my current website mobile-friendly?

There are a few things to consider when answering this question.  First, how does the site look on a smart phone?  Does it “make sense” so to speak?  Is it easy or hard to navigate through the pages?  Is there a lot of Flash, which won’t even show up on most devices, including iPhones.  Second, what about the content?  Mobile users often come to your site specifically to do something rather quickly, such as find your phone number or get driving directions, look at your menu or make a quick purchase.  You may have content that works for people on PCs and laptops, but is generally irrelevant to mobile users.

A mobile version of your site or a separate mobile website?

Depends.  Some sites lend themselves well to mobile-versioning, which may include showing mobile users a slightly different design and hiding or revealing content depending on the type of device detected when a visitor accesses your site.  In other instances it may be less time consuming and smartest to just create a simple mobile version of your site to include the basic tasks mobile visitors may be interested in.

If you have a smart phone with a QR Reader app handy, scan the code below for an example of our own mobile website:

Scan for J Allan Studios Mobile Website

Bottom line, mobile is here to stay.  It’s definitely not a fad.  If your site is currently working well on mobile devices, you may not need to change a thing.  If that’s the case you’re probably better served putting your time and resources into some other pursuit, rather than worrying about mobile websites.  However, if you feel there’s room for improvement, give us a shout to discuss some easy, cost-effective mobile website solutions.