The use of mobiles to access the web is continuing to grow. Just 3% of websites are optimised for mobile screens, and by 2013, more people will access the web on a mobile device than a desktop or laptop.
A number of recent surveys have shown that mobile phone users are increasingly using their mobile phones to access the web and email.
According to the Office for National Statistics almost half of all UK internet users are going online via mobile phone data connections. 45% of people surveyed said they made use of the net while out and about, compared with 31% in 2010. The most rapid growth was among young people, where 71% of internet-connected 16 to 24-year-olds used mobiles.
In a survey conducted by the Keynote Systems (commissioned by the Adobe), which surveyed 1,200 US consumers, over 75% of the mobile phone users use their mobile web browser to browse the internet.
The survey found that:
81% of the mobile users search product and price information from the browser.
75% users read the blogs from their mobile browsers.
78% read the product reviews from the browser, and the remaining from an app.
63% of the users read news from their web browsers while 37% from the apps.
58% watch the internet videos from the browser.
46% of use their browsers for social networking.
A survey by CNET Direct showed 47% of respondents indicated that they use their mobile device to view and respond to emails.
The continuing rise in mobile web surfers means making a mobile version of your site should be a priority. Investing in a mobile website makes good business sense.
So what’s the difference between a PC friendly website and a mobile friendly website?
When designing a mobile website the goal is two-fold — make the site aesthetically pleasing but at the same time simple enough that it loads quickly on a mobile phone.
An important part of the design process is to prioritise the content that is required on the mobile website. It’s a good idea to make a list of the essential information that will be required e.g. what your business is all about and contact information. Navigation should be simply and intuitive.
iPhones don’t support Flash animation so it’s best avoided. If flash or video are an absolute requirement consider alternatives e.g. HTML5 video. Older browsers don’t support HTML5, so including a Flash backup is a good idea.
For information on the best practices for delivering web content to mobile devices see W3C mobile web best practices. Once designed and coded check the validity of your coding using the W3C MobileOK checker.
How Can You Benefit from Mobile Web Design?
The Mobile Market: In the twenty years from 1990 to 2010, worldwide mobile phone subscriptions have grown from 12.4 million to over 4.6 billion and continue to grow. That’s a huge market.
Mobile Search Engine Optimisation: SEO is as important to mobile website design and coding as it is to desktop design and coding. Google has a dedicated mobile search index for the mobile internet. Google has two crawlers: Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Googlebot crawls desktop-browser type of webpages and content embedded in them and Googlebot-Mobile crawls mobile content. When searched from a mobile, mobile websites with a mobile compliant design and sitemap is more likely to come top of the results. For more information visit Google Webmaster Central Blog and view the Google Search Engine Optimisation Starter Guide which contains information on mobile website design.
User experience: By having a website specifically designed for mobiles you can improve and enhance the user’s web experience by ensuring your mobile site is fast loading, easy to use and specifically designed for the mobile’s smaller screen size. Your visitor no longer has to “pinch and zoom” on their smart phone when viewing your website as it’s fully optimised to view and use within the dimensions of their mobile web browser and screen.
Contact: Phone numbers can be clickable allowing the phone user to call you directly from your site on their phone.
QR code marketing: A mobile website allows businesses to take advantage of QR code marketing, which is becoming more and more popular.
Author: Elaine Wildash / Posted: 28-03-2012