Designing websites for mobile devices
A prospective client recently asked if he should be concerned that his current website was not “mobile friendly” and if so why. With those questions in mind, we thought it would be useful to outline the basics and the benefits of designing websites for mobile devices.
So the short answer to the first part of his question is – “yes”.
It’s highly likely that at least a third of your visitors from the UK will access your site using a mobile device and this figure will continue to grow. Click on the graph to see a breakdown of Operating System usage in the UK from September 2014 to September 2015. (source GS.Statcounter.com)
OK, but my site works on a my mobile phone and my tablet.
Perhaps so, but is it truly responsive and/or mobile first? If not it won’t make for a good user experience having to constantly zoom in and out on content, some older technologies may not work on mobile devices, e.g. Flash will not work on Apple devices.
Transacting on a non-responsive website on a mobile device can be extremely fiddly, so if your business depends on users interacting with or transacting on your site then you should consider redesigning.
What’s the difference between responsive and mobile first?
The difference is subtle but important. At the very least, any website these days needs to be responsive to be truly “mobile friendly”. Responsive means that pages and page elements like fonts, images etc. scale, resize and adapt position to fit a device’s screen width and orientation.
Mobile first as the name suggests puts mobile device display first and will scale up for for other devices. Mobile first design tends to focus more on content rather than design elements.
Will having a responsive or mobile first website improve my search engine rankings?
Again the short answer to this really important question is yes. Both Google and Bing will give preference to mobile friendly sites in mobile search results. There is an interesting article on the BBC technology website about the changes Google made to their algorithm back in April of this year. Having a mobile friendly website will give you huge advantages over your competitors that don’t.
So do I need to have several versions of my website?
No, absolutely not. Using a responsive web design approach means that your website will work across all combinations of modern browsers, devices and operating systems giving you a competitive edge.
Responsive design has been around for a few years now, but we at Rubber Duck Digital are constantly amazed at how many businesses and organisations have still not embraced responsive design in an increasingly more mobile world.
If you have an existing site that you think should become more mobile friendly, or if you want to discuss developing a new, responsive website, feel free to contact Rubber Duck Digital for an informal chat, or if you would like us to carry out a free digital health check on your existing site, please use the form below: