Mobile Website Design

The Importance of Mobile

All websites should be mobile for multiple reasons:

  • As of 2015 80% of internet users own a smartphone and 47% a tablet. The amount of website traffic coming from mobile devices increases every year.  Mobile users need to be able to navigate your website and it needs to display correctly.
  • In Sept 2012 Google did a research study* that elucidated the impact:
    • 48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly
    • 36% said they felt like they’ve wasted their time by visiting those sites
    • 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company
    • 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

 *Google, Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today, July 2012.

Mobile Now a Ranking Factor

Google started using mobile friendliness as a ranking factor early in 2014.  In early 2015, Emails with the below warning started to go out to website owners through Google Webmaster Tools (one of many good reasons to be sure your website is registered).

Google Mobile Friendly WarningFix mobile usability issues found on http://www.yourwebsite.com

On April 21, 2015 it became official. As detailed in the article Google Shaking up Search Recommendations on Smartphones, They “will favor websites that Google defines as “mobile-friendly.”

Google’s job, as with any business, is to make it’s customers happy.  The report above clearly indicates users have moved to mobile and they’re not happy. If your website does not work on mobile devices, it will negatively impact your ranking.  It simple as that.  Google will tilt in favor of mobile friendly websites for mobile search results.

Google Mobile Website Test

Responsive Websites

Until fairly recently, if you wanted your website to work on a mobile device a special version of it needed to be built. Now, thanks to responsive design, your website is smart. The browser tells it what device the user is on, and the website gives that device special instructions that change the display and the navigation to fit it.

The best part is that responsive design is now the norm. It is included with all WordPress themes that are worth using. It adjusts the size of what is displayed. It reduces the number of columns from 4 to 3 to 2 and then single file. When on a phone, it changes the main navigation to a menu that pops out with a list of the links that can be easily selected on a touch screen.

To see it in action, change this browser window from full screen (the box in the upper right corner next to the “X”) to “restore down” the browser window to a smaller size. Then, grab and edge and slowly narrow the width until you can no longer do so. You will see how this page gracefully reduces in size and then how it will look on a phone.

Many WordPress themes also let you hide certain parts of the web page on a mobile device. Some content, such as large photos might be superfluous and add to page load times. Some features might not display well because the plugin was not designed by its developer to be responsive. Certain content might the type that users will wait to read when they’re sitting behind a monitor. These items can and should be hidden to make the mobile version lean and more usable.

If your website is not currently mobile ready, it is a good time for a refresh or a new WordPress website.

Convert your Website to Mobile

If your current WordPress website is not mobile and does not pass the Google test, it can be converted to a responsive design by swapping out your current theme with a newer, mobile-friendly responsive theme.

All of your current pages will remain unchanged, but they will need to be reformatted to the new theme’s design. Contact us about our website refresh services.

If your non-mobile website is not WordPress, our website redesign services would be a fit. Keep in mind that the majority of work involved with a website is creating the content. A redesign can be kept simple by retaining your current content. By converting to WordPress you can gain the advantage of a user interface that will allow you to easily edit or add pages.