by Kiersten Bagley
As we near the end of the year, leaders in business are focusing on the future, strategies, goals and ensuring that next year is better than the last. When allocating budgets and emphases, you’d better be sure that a quality website with quality mobile access is on the list of considerations for a successful 2014.
According to Pew Research Center, as of May 2013, 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phones to access the internet. Whether your organization is B2B, B2C or somewhere in between - it makes no matter; your current, potential and future clients are trying to find you online via mobile devices. Why?
1. No one carries around the print phone book in their pocket. Audiences are trying to find your physical location, phone number and general contact information, quickly. Considering that most of us are constantly on the go, the ease of tapping on an address and being routed to a location or tapping on a phone number to make a fast call is crucial. Again, recent research by Pew documents that 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location. Coming from someone who is short on time, most of the time, I can attest to the frustration that is the inability to find my destination quickly/easily/at all. I could segway into the reason for a strong social media presence, but that deserves its own post.
2. Failing to embrace mobile holds you back. If a website ‘wows’ on the desktop and disappoints on the smartphone, the brand appears to lack consistency and a forward thinking attitude. What if your news source displayed content online in the same size and format as it did for print? Zoom, scroll, zoom out, left, right, zoom, scroll - no. Websites must translate flawlessly onto mobile devices and function just as well. If the information housed on your website is not easily accessible immediately, your visitor is likely to go somewhere else for the content, product or service he/she is seeking. Pinching to zoom in on a website that isn’t responsive* (tech term defined at the end of this post) gets old, fast.
3. Just because you have a “mobile site” doesn’t mean it’s working. Did you consider your user before adopting a mobile strategy? Many open source platforms (such as WordPress or Drupal) have options for a generic “mobile friendly” themes or versions, but often you’re getting the most basic, boring and unbranded mobile presence possible. The mobile site should not be an afterthought to the mobile desktop site or the exact same website attempted to be compacted into a 4.87 inch screen. Businesses and brands should begin with a thoughtful understanding of targeted users' needs and create mobile experiences that don't simply exist but impress their users. Can your visitors share information about your organization or business from their mobile devices?
Can everyone easily find the methods to contact you, mail a donation, walk through your doors? If your user is lost, can your mobile presence lead them where they need to be? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, strongly consider making mobile a priority in 2014.
*Responsive design is a website design approach aimed providing an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum amount of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop). Here’s an example.
This article also appeared on Ragan.com.