Yesterday, I read an article which claimed that since 2011 more people own mobile phones than toothbrushes. Apparently being connected to the world is more important to us than our dental health. This may sound strange, but think about it. Do you check your phone before, whilst or after you brushed your teeth in the morning? How often do you check your phone throughout the day to talk to friends, answer emails, search for information… Even my grandpa now only texts me on WhatsApp. Chances are, you’re reading this text on your phone right now.
It isn't surprising that more than 50% of all traffic to websites now comes from mobile devices and this trend won’t change any time soon. For small businesses this means that potentially more than half the the people who visit your website will be using their smartphones or tablets. But so many websites aren’t usable on mobile devices: you have to zoom in to read the text, buttons are too small to click, images don’t show and if they do, they’re too big. You’ve probably come across a website like this too, where you got frustrated because you couldn’t interact with the content properly - and then you left the site.
This is where the buzzword „mobile optimisation“ comes in. It means that the content of your website is designed in a way, so it is displayed properly on any device. You want your website to be easy to understand and to interact with on smartphones and tablets. Here’s a short checklist of 5 things you should look out for:
- Make sure text is clearly readable. It shouldn’t be larger than the screen or too small, so you don’t have to zoom in or out to read it.
- Images should have the right size. On small screens, images are often not displayed completely, or they overlap with surrounding text, making it unreadable. Adjust their size, so they look good on smartphones
- Everything should be displayed. This is especially true for images and videos. On some mobile devices they just don’t show. Make sure your customer doesn’t miss out on important information, even when they’re on the go.
- All buttons should be well clickable. On your desktop you’ve got the little cursor to click on things. But on your phone you need to be able to click on everything with your finger. Make sure buttons aren’t too small and - if you want to be extra advanced - are in the reach of your thumb when you hold the phone.
- Loading speed is probably more important than you thought it was. Your customers will be on the go, using mobile data to access your site. So you want it to load fast - and in the age of short attention spans “fast” means under 3 seconds! Otherwise, people will get frustrated and leave your page. Here’s a simple tool to check if your site loads quickly on 4G.
- Have your customer in mind. This is true for web design in general, but it’s particularly important for your mobile customers. They’re on the go, quickly want to find what they’re looking for and don’t even have 3 seconds of patience. Keep your content to a functional minimum, so they stay engaged and interested.
Now here’s the weirdest thing about mobile optimisation: it also helps people on a computer to find your website. How is that possible, you may ask. Well, because Google got involved. Google figured that if the majority of search requests come from mobile devices, it should tailor search results to mobile users. Google calls this “mobile-first indexing”, which means that it favours mobile optimised sites in its ranking. So, if your site doesn’t live up to Google’s standards of mobile optimisation such as fast loading speed, responsive text and image size, it won’t be under the first results. Optimising your website for mobile devices will therefore help your clients to find you online and it doesn’t matter if they use a smartphone or a laptop. If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly, I recommend using this tool by Google. It’s a good starting point to see if your site needs any improvement.
Mobile optimisation is important, so you don’t lose those 50% of potential customers who visit your site on their smartphone or tablet. Having a mobile friendly site is an absolute must. People won’t suddenly stop using their smartphones. They found their way into every part of our daily lives. I mean, there are even apps for brushing your teeth…