According to research conducted by Ipsos, a research think-tank, on behalf of search engine giant Google, over 69 percent of American smartphone owners access the Internet on a daily basis from their phone. As noted by Pew, another research outlet, over 56 percent of adults own smartphones. Combining these figures shows just how powerful the mobile marketplace is in everyday life. For businesses looking to expand into online sales, getting the basics of mobile design right could lead to a highly lucrative venture into this burgeoning field.
Say No to Image Clutter
To start, consider the constraints of mobile technology. Every phone relies on signal strength and potential bandwidth limitations. Therefore, a mobile site heavy on images and graphics can bog down a phone’s processing power in a major way, leading to disenfranchised viewers and a site that doesn’t load properly on weaker connections. To avoid this dilemma, start by limiting images to only the essentials. The fewer images your mobile site has, the easier it can load. In some cases, a text and link only site can be highly successful due to its ability to utilize easy navigation tools and faster loading capabilities.
Touch Screen Functionality
Another cornerstone of mobile website development is touch screen functionality. The vast majority of smartphones offer the usage of this platform, so ensuring that your website lines up with this design style is crucial. Consider adding touch buttons and touch links to speed up the navigation process for your mobile viewers. Entry fields and other user inputs are also prime spots for the touch and type design. Incorporating base phone features, like GPS navigation, text messaging, and call capabilities, into touch buttons also adds expanded utility for your users.
Sometimes, mobile users try to use the desktop version of your website. Whether this is intentional or accidental, having a redirect option is vital. While advanced users know workarounds to being stuck on the full-scale page, like clearing the mobile cache, everyday viewers are easily flustered when faced with a page that is clunky and not designed for a smartphone. Automatic redirection, or a redirect option on the page itself, help alleviate this issue and keep your mobile viewers and shoppers happy.
Windows, Apple, and Android users all use different standard browsers. Adding in third-party browsers can create a multitude of capability issues. To help avoid this issue, test your mobile site on several platforms to ensure that scaling, orientation, and visuals all line up properly. While this process is potentially time consuming, the end result of expanded coverage and exposure among a variety of users is well worth the effort.
Tapping into Social Media
The social media giant is one of the strongest assets for Internet-based businesses. As a low-cost and high exposure marketing platform, running strong social media campaign can create impressive sales results. As part of this process, consider adding social media tie-ins to your mobile site. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other services are all prime candidates for integration tools.
To incorporate links to these social media outlets, consider how viewers use these sites. For Facebook and Google+ users, consider adding in “like” and “share” buttons on your content. This functionality allows visitors to your site to expose your content to friends and family members with a single press of an on-screen button. Similarly, “re-tweet” options for Twitter users pushes your site and pages to the forefront of feeds that can have a substantial amount of followers. With each social media referral, your sales and viewership bases can grow, creating a powerful and low-cost solution to gaining exposure for your mobile website.