Business technology

Is your website mobile-friendly?

- February 6, 2011 2 MIN READ

If someone is looking at your website from their smartphone, PDA or palm-sized computer, what do they see? Is your website mobile-friendly?

There are a lot of these small mobile devices out there – and a lot of people looking at websites on them. So if your site doesn’t display well on them, it’s possible you’re losing business. Eeeekkkk!!!!

Don’t panic

Smartphones and other mobile devices are smarter than you think. They can actually do quite a lot, so your website can still have important features and large amounts of content.

But editing back to the essentials on the first two or three tiers of your website is worth considering, regardless of whether it’s seen on a smartphone or a desktop. Why? Because people are busy and they like the information they need to be succinct. Web copy waffle is dead.

‘Fast and simple’ is apparently the catch-cry of the mobile audience. But it’s also the catch-cry of people generally, isn’t it?

Tips for making your website mobile-friendly

Is your potential client using their mobile to search for what you offer? If so, it’s time to make it easier for them to discover just how helpful you can be.

Make sure your site is easy to navigate, presents information succinctly, avoids superfluous graphics and has sharp images that load quickly.

In the end, you’re the one who must decide what’s most important to include on your site. To help you decide, ask people who fit the profile of your target market. They’re the folks you’re doing all this for anyway. 

Ultimately, you need to imagine how your visitor is going to interact with your site via a mobile device, particularly if they have big chubby fingers.

Websites are increasingly becoming more interactive. If you want your visitors to subscribe to your e-news, send a message through your contact form, comment on a news post or buy something from your online store, make sure it’s easy to do on a small mobile device.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business websites section.

JavaScript and Flash

In the past, JavaScript has been a major hurdle in making sites mobile-friendly. JavaScript is a programming language that assists interaction. It can activate drop-down menus, make animated images and pop-up windows, cause an image to change when your mouse rolls over it. That kind of thing. According to various tech heads, we’re entering a world where we can be more cocky about JavaScript now. The iPhone supports JavaScript, as do other mobile devices. Phew.

On the other hand, if your site contains large amounts of Flash (often used for videos and animation), you might want to have a chat with your web designer about the impact of that on mobile devices. It’s not picked up by all devices, which is one of several reasons that some experts think that using Flash is a web design disaster.

Set up an app for that

If changing your site seems too hard, you can still go down the mobile ‘app’ (application) route. This involves creating a new site altogether that has the same branding and key information, but is specifically designed to be mobile device savvy. The rapid growth of mobile device use means that the number of people specialising in creating mobile sites is growing by the day.

Have you taken the leap and made your website more mobile friendly? Please share your discoveries and experiences with us below.