UPDATE 29 June, 2015: It looks like Apple’s website is now responsive, which is great to see! But it’s still worth reading through the below, as we go in to a little detail on the different types of mobile website.
Before I get stuck into the need for mobile optimisation, I’d like to take the chance to point out the irony of that Apple’s website is not mobile friendly. It’s ironic because they are the creators of the iPhone, the most used mobile device in the world, in fact iPads and iPhones represent 80% of all mobile web browsing.Yet the veritable masters of designing user-friendly experiences have an incredibly un-functional mobile website. The Apple mobile site is exactly the same as the desktop site simply scaled down, meaning the navigation buttons are incredibly small and it makes it difficult to accurately press on the button you intended – if you make a mistake its as frustrating as trying to think of an appropriate metaphor for a blog post.
From my experience, and I’m sure I speak for the vast majority of Internet users here. If I access a desktop website and it is hard to use and/or slow to load I will invariably give up and try a different website to find what I’m looking for. The same goes for mobile websites, if they don’t load fast, they’re too cluttered or they require the dexterity and precision of a shaolin monk then I am very likely to leave that website in search for a better one. In fact 79% of a 1,088-person Google study agrees with me. I’m sure we have all experienced the trials and tribulations of a poor functioning mobile website, but to refresh your memory on just how painful it can be, try to navigate through the following websites and see how long you can last before getting frustrated.
There are four ways a company can display website content on a mobile device. The first of which is doing nothing, like the websites above have done – this technique, if we can call it that, is certainly not mobile friendly and it can damage audience engagement, Google rankings and brand image. According to the Google study mentioned before, over 60% of users will simply move on if the mobile site they visit is not optimised in anyway. 52% of mobile users said that a bad mobile website experience would result in a damaged perception of the brand making them less likely to re engage – and 48% said that if a site wasn’t optimised for a mobile device, it gave a strong impression that the company didn’t care or wasn’t passionate enough about what they do.
Mobile apps can be used as a helpful tool or a playful game. However, they can also exist to compliment your online and social presence and provide a unique and aesthetic user experience, but generally speaking they are a separate component to your mobile website. Mobile apps are not really there to capture new audiences but rather to retain existing ones. If your company has a positive and successful brand image, then a mobile app is a great addition for your business. If done well, mobile apps are a fantastic instrument to re engage with existing customers and those who are already interested in your brand by creating functional interactions. You have to assess wether an app is right for your business, will the benefits out way the costs? If so Buzinga App Development is a great choice for stunning Mobile app design. Just to be clear though, a mobile app is an application after all and should not be thought of as an alternative to a website optimised for mobile devices – much like apples and oranges, you can’t and should not choose an app over a mobile optimised website.
Mobile Websites give you the freedom to completely design a mobile website the way you want it, including the layout, artistic design, what information you want to include or remove, what pictures are used, how the site is navigated, do you scroll up or down or left to right. A mobile website is technically another site, separate from your desktop site and so requires development ($$$), an issue no one likes and it’s also important to consider how it will look across all mobile devices. iPhone screens are smaller than Galaxy’s and HTC’s, this sometimes creates display issues. Mobile websites have never been bad, its just that now with responsive websites they are obsolete, they are the VCR to the DVD, the analogue to the stereo, the mail to the email.
Alternatively, you could choose to turn your ordinary website into a responsive website what this means is that your website is optimised for all devices and will resize and fit to screens of any size in a functional way. You wont have a desktop website and a mobile website but one that is streamlined on all devices, and it requires less development and substantially less money than that of a mobile website. What’s more is that Google actually prefers responsive websites to mobile sites because they have a single URL. A single URL means no re directing from desktop to mobile website, this increases load times and allows Google to easily index your website. You can even test if a website is responsive on your desktop by grabbing the corner of your browser window and resizing it, you will notice the way that it automatically changes layout to suit the size. However it should be noted that there is a good and a bad way of developing a responsive website, and Webfirm manage to craft beautiful responsive websites that engage on every device and function with speed.
Mobile browsing has become an integral part of daily life. ¼ of all searches worldwide are now conducted on a mobile device and its big business too, in the US mobile marketing will be responsible for 400billion dollars in 2015 compared with 139 billion in 2012. Furthermore the trend to make purchases almost exclusively on desktops has begun to change. With a combination of incredibly sophisticated smartphones and the rise in mobile friendly websites, ecommerce sites are making more conversions than ever before. I don’t think I need to bombard anyone still reading this article with any more statistics on the relevance of websites optimised for mobile devices, but I will sign off with this.
Optimising your website is not just about capitalising on extra revenue, its also about ensuring that your brand image and company reputation are not tarnished by lacklustre mobile user experience.
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