Why is it important to optimize a website for both mobile and traditional use?
The importance of optimizing a website for mobile usage cannot be overstated. While a website designer or design software will automatically be optimized for traditional usage, many of them will not automatically tailor the website to mobile usage. This is a serious issue, especially when you consider the growing popularity of mobile Internet browsing. Mobile browsing is on course to overtake traditional Internet usage within the next couple of years. In some countries, like India and China, it already has. You can’t afford to miss out on this market.
Inside the minds of mobile users
When considering making a traditional website accessible to mobile users, it is essential to understand how mobile users think and how this differs from how traditional users think. Mobile users expect faster load times than traditional users, as they think a mobile website contains less content. This is not always the case, but the fact remains that mobile users generally expect a website to load in four seconds or less. A sizable percentage of these users will not wait for longer than this, and may even avoid that site in the future.
Mobile web browsing has been commonplace for a decade or more, and as such mobile users expect all websites they go on to already be optimized for their usage. If the website is not, the user may not be very understanding.
Make your website as simple as possible
Phone screens are getting bigger and bigger, but they are still considerably smaller than computer screens. Keep this in mind when you are designing your website. With the design software available today from joomla hosting, you can have information displayed one way for traditional users, and another way for mobile users. This is better than having your website always display the traditional way, or always display the mobile-optimized way. It’s very hard to find a design that works for both platforms.
Easy navigation: Possibly the most important factor in optimization
Nearly all websites that have not been made to work on both traditional and mobile platforms have poor navigation. The first thing you can do to simplify navigation is put the most important information and functions on the home page of the website. This is harder than it sounds, as it is often difficult to figure out what information and functions are the most important. The best way to figure this out is likely through extensive beta testing and surveys, but this can be time-consuming and expensive. Many people running smaller websites on joomla hosting like to have a closed beta amongst their friends and family. This will cost little to nothing and shouldn’t take very long.
Two important and often overlooked factors in simplifying navigation are buttons and minimizing text. The buttons on your site should be big enough so that they can be easily tapped by a mobile user. Also, you should minimize the amount of text that someone has to enter to get where they want to go. Obviously, typing is slower and less accurate on mobile devices. Optimizing your website in this way should also make it more friendly to traditional users.
Minimizing load times
Simplifying the design of your website will reduce load times significantly. However, there is much more that you can do to get your website to load more quickly. Minimizing Flash objects is crucial, as these are generally not totally compatible with mobile devices. In fact, they are not compatible at all with Apple devices. Java is pretty much the same. You should also minimize the number of high-resolution images, just as you’ve reduced the number of animations.
Ensure that your brand is still recognizable
Your traditional site and your mobile optimized site will inevitably look very different, but it is important that your brand remain intact. A user visiting your mobile site should instantly recognize it from their traditional browsing, and vice-versa. It’s vital that your logo and design language (i.e. color scheme) remain the same on both platforms. Also, keep in mind the tone of the content on your website, especially if you have content on your mobile site that isn’t on your traditional site or the other way around. This will help your website make a distinct impression on the user, whether they are new to your brand or not.
A repeat user will remember your website and what you’re about, which is rare in this day and age when users are so saturated with content. Always remember the adage that your brand is the most important asset your business has. This may have become a cliché, but that’s only because it’s true.
In closing: How to keep your website optimized for both mobile and traditional users
Many website owners set up their website in such a way that it’s friendly to both mobile and traditional users. However, they get complacent and don’t work to keep it this way. This can end up dooming a struggling website that might otherwise have made it big.
One way website owners fail to keep their website optimized is by uploading content that doesn’t work on both platforms. Most commonly, this content is videos or animations that don’t work on mobile devices, but it could be items that don’t display properly on a traditional screen. Double-check all the content you post on both platforms.
Another way that website owner ruin the optimization of their website is through not maintaining a consistent brand image on both platforms. Make sure that everything you upload keeps the branding that you’ve already established. If you don’t manage to do this, a user that had been visiting via a traditional platform may not even recognize your site if they visit on a mobile platform. Even if they do recognize your site, they won’t be able to have the experience they’ve come to expect from your platform. If this sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. If you can do it, however, your website is more likely to succeed.