One of the topics that has created a great deal of buzz is the importance of mobile devices:
- How important is this option to my website?
- How do I make my website mobile friendly?
- What will it cost to do this?
- What else do I need to consider?
There is no single answer to any of these questions but there are some guidelines:
1. First know your desired user. If your customers or employees use mobile devices frequently or if they do/ want to use a smart phone or tablet, this topic is really important. In general, the trend is towards using the web more on mobile devices: http://marketingland.com/report-nearly-40-percent-of-internet-time-now-on-mobile-devices-34639. This is especially true for younger age groups, entertainment and sports content and products/services whose marketing relies on social networking.
2. The major challenge to using the web on mobile devices is that the amount of space is smaller on these devices. Desktop monitors are typically 24 inches or larger with screen resolutions that are typically twice that of even newer iPads. There are two main ways to address this: responsive design and mobile menu integration.
A responsive website is designed so that it adjusts to the size of the display. Each element and piece of content is reduced in size to conform to the device used to display it. If your website is built that way AND if your content is not too dense, your website may be well received as is. If your content is too dense, it would be wise to add mobile menus. Mobile menus change how users navigate a site. This reduces the need to magnify the screen or scroll multiple times to see content. The best examples of content dense websites are news organizations. The BBC website is a good example. I reproduced the mobile vs. desktop version below.
3. The question of cost depends on how your website is made currently. If your site was not created as a responsive design and the appearance is poor, we would recommend it be changed. If your site was made in html only, it will need to have code inserted into them to detect the device in use. Then a different display will have to be created for each device. Many content management systems (CMS) have be upgraded to include that code. This includes Joomla, Drupal and WordPress among open source CMS. If your site needs a mobile menu, the steps to create mobile menus are similar. The costs will vary depending. We recommend you discuss the current need, the future and the return on investment with your developer and marketing team and avoid a hasty decision.
4. Mobile phones seem to be standardizing around the Droid and MAC operating systems. Tablets seem to be standardizing around the iPad and Kindle operating systems. The screen sizes on each device and each platform determine the screen size and resolution available. So it is worthwhile to stay informed on these specs periodically. Aside from that, how your site displays on a particular mobile browser depends on the age of the device and how the user has it configured.