With more than half of web traffic coming from mobile sources in 2019, it’s never been more important to make sure your business website caters for mobile users.
Web designers like me are taking this statistic on board and increasingly adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach to our work. It’s the only way to make sure the platforms we create are going to perform well in all browsers, on all devices.
What makes a website mobile-friendly?
The basic principle of good mobile web design is this: anyone browsing your website should be able to view, navigate and interact with it quickly and comfortably, regardless of the device they’re using.
With this in mind, a mobile-friendly website will need to…
Display correctly on smaller screens
A mobile-friendly website will not only look great on a desktop screen – it will also be able to adapt to all major mobile browsers, including those installed on smartphones and tablets, and still deliver a stellar user experience.
Those accessing the site from a mobile shouldn’t need to zoom in on tiny text or scroll around your pages to find the information they want; everything they need should be clearly visible as they navigate their way around the design.
Be easy to read
Overly artistic typefaces are often difficult to read on mobiles and tablets. To attend to the needs of mobile users, you’ll need to make sure the fonts you’re using are clean and legible.
I’d always recommend increasing your standard font size by a couple of degrees, too, just to make sure it’s easy to follow.
Be tappable, not clickable
Most mobiles and tablets don’t come with a mouse. Users will need to tap on a link or call to action to continue their journey – so you need to make the next steps clear to them by creating buttons that are big, bold and completely unmissable.
Boast a straightforward navigation
Mobile-friendly menus need to be much more concise than standard navigation panels. Most designers tend to convert traditional across-the-top menus into list form to make it easy for mobile users to scroll down and find the option they want.
Mobile searchers are even more impatient than their desktop counterparts. According to recent research from Google, if your site takes more than 5 seconds to load, your potential customers are 90% more likely to abandon their journey out of sheer frustration. To speed up your pages, keep images to a minimum and develop the site using clean, clutter-free code.
How to find out if your website is mobile-friendly
Not sure if your website has been built – or optimised – for mobiles and tablet devices? Well, Google has a simple tool that can put your mind at ease almost straightaway.
Simply pop your website’s URL into Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, and the algorithm will tell you within a matter of minutes whether your page is mobile-friendly or not. You’ll be able to see exactly how the content renders on a standard mobile screen, and the tool will flag up any issues that might need to be addressed by your designer or developer.
What if your mobile isn’t designed for mobile?
If Google’s telling you that your website doesn’t render correctly on mobile devices, you’ll need to make some changes. And pretty quickly, too.
If your site has been designed in WordPress, you might not need to hire a developer straightaway. You may be able to get away with installing a mobile-friendly plugin – such as WPtouch or WordPress Mobile Pack – that will help you create a mobile-friendly version of your site yourself.
(Need a helping hand? I’m a WordPress web designer, so I’d be happy to take a look at your existing platform and see if I can help you patch things up.)
If you’ve had your website for some time now – or it was custom-built – there might not be a quick fix. It could be time to invest in a new website that is guaranteed to be mobile-friendly from day one.
I know you might be reluctant to spend money on a mobile-first platform. But with mobile usage set to rise even further in the next few years, so you can’t afford to be left behind.