Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
“Make your website mobile-friendly” should be the first thing to consider when ensuring your website is up-to-date. Get onto the train or the bus and you will see tons of people using their mobile phones. Some of those people are talking to loved ones or sharing memes while others are attending to emails.
A large chunk of people are browsing online and visiting multiple websites. It has become so much easier to use your smartphone to look up something rather than opening your entire laptop or PC. This means the number of people using their smartphones to conduct online searches has rapidly gone up. In fact, in 2015 Google found that more searches were carried out by using their smartphones rather than their PC!
Smartphones are only getting better and better which means if you do not produce a mobile-friendly version of your website chances are you may lose out. Users do not want to stick around on a website that has bad formatting or becomes difficult to use on their phones. If you are lucky the same user might wait to visit your site at home with their laptop, but in most cases, users will probably switch to another website. Think of it this way: if you have an online newspaper app then the formatting of the text is suited to a mobile screen. However, if you do not have a mobile version of your site then users might find it annoying to zoom into the text and scroll from left to right to read one sentence.
Got the picture right? Mobile-friendly sites are important.
What Can You Do?
So now you are probably wondering what you can do to make sure users have a mobile-friendly experience when they visit your website. For starters you need to keep two things in mind: firstly, the site should be able to load quickly since 3G/4G networks are slower than a normal Wi-Fi connection. Secondly, your website should also be able to adapt to smaller screen sizes without losing its aesthetically pleasing look.
Now that we have cleared those basic points we can move on to looking at ways you can make your website mobile-friendly:
1. Simplicity is Key
As a general rule of thumb, websites need to be designed keeping simplicity in mind, and this principle of design becomes even more critical when you are making a mobile-friendly version of your website. The images and graphics you might have included in the desktop version may not be necessary for your average mobile user. Also, you can redo the menu and icons for a mobile phone by perhaps maybe reducing the menu from e.g. 8 items to 4 key items. Remember as long as users can smoothly access what they are looking for they will be satisfied.
2. Responsive Themes Are Your Friend
What is a responsive theme? Only the most convenient thing ever. As the name suggests a responsive theme or website template automatically adjusts itself or responds to the device the user is using to access the site. Let us say if you are using a tablet or your smartphone then a responsive template will automatically scale down according to your device. If you are using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or Wix then make sure to select themes or templates that are responsive. Doing so will save you a lot of hassle and stress.
3. Font Style
There are so many choices when it comes to fonts in today’s time that it can be all too tempting to choose an old English font or a handwritten-looking font. However, did you know that fonts can actually be heavy in terms of being loaded when a user visits your website? Hence, for a mobile version of your site, you might want to consider going for a simple font because keep in mind research has shown that users tend to leave a website if it does not load in three seconds. Yikes!
4. Hide Your Menu With a Widget
Normally when you open a website on your desktop you can see the entire menu. It makes sense that you as a user have a large screen. However, when your users are using a small screen then having the full menu displayed can cause a lot of clutter and prevent the user from easily accessing the actual content of your site. What can you do to prevent this clutter? Well, one simple solution might be to use a widget that hides the items of a menu. Consequently, when users would like to access the menu they need only tap on the widget which will then display the full menu.
5. Do Not Use Flash
While Flash can help you include all those cool animations on your website, it might be a good idea to avoid it altogether since most mobiles do not support Flash. Remember, good things don’t need to be “Flashy.”
6. Reduce Image Size
When using high-speed CenturyLink internet and Wi-Fi then image sizes are not a big issue. If they need to load large images over their mobile phone network they are likely going to leave your website. Why? Because your website simply takes too long to load. The speed at which your website loads can make a critical difference in seconds which in turn affects users’ choice to stay or leave. The good news is there are ways to work around large image files.
You can compress an image which will barely affect the overall quality of your image. You can resize an image; this is a pretty straightforward method. You could even choose to hide larger images on your mobile version site and you can even lazy load images which means the image will only load once the user scrolls to that part of the image.
7. Avoid Pop-Ups
Pop-ups annoy people when they are browsing online using their PC so you can only imagine how much it will annoy them when they see a pop-up on their already tiny smartphone screen. Apart from the annoying factor pop-ups can also take very long to load which means your website speed and performance are hindered. For these two reasons it is best, you use a banner or a widget to do the work of a pop-up.
All in All
It is important for any website owner as well as developers to keep in mind these tips for making a mobile-friendly version of their site as competition is stiff and users have short attention spans.