Mobile is now transforming our online world

In the same way that the web has revolutionised the way we do business, mobile is now transforming our online world.

This year, mobile usage eclipsed the desktop in dramatic style: in January, mobile devices accounted for 55{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869} of US Internet usage. Significantly, app usage is driving this trend: apps accounted for 47{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869} of Internet traffic with another 8{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869} from mobile browsers; PCs clocked in at 45{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869}.

Mobile is now transforming our online world

So what does this mean for our business? In today’s online world we have to engage all our web visitors effectively or risk losing customers.

We must provide customers with the experience they’re looking for whether they’re browsing via an app or a traditional browser, or from a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Why? Because 61{cae46e7993c4999f200af9814ce4e65a37fd1ff57f0d8a6946b53fc261028869} of people have a better opinion of a brand if it offers a good mobile experience.

With such a plethora of online devices we need to be able to support many different devices, all with unique screen sizes, resolutions, and capabilities. If this sounds expensive, it doesn’t have to be. There’s no need to design a separate site for each device. The answer is Responsive Web Design, which enables our web pages to adapt to the size of each individual screen.

Of course, size isn’t everything! We also need to maximise performance. For instance, does the site load as fast as possible? Too many people click off waiting for slow pages to load. Can our visitors easily find the information they’re looking for? Are they completing the tasks?

To answer some of these questions we’ve put together a quick checklist of what to look out for.

Don’t make mobile an after-thought – Start your design from the mobile user’s perspective. Figure out what experience the mobile user is seeking and build from there. Above all, keep this functionality in mind: better, faster, easier – better content, faster load times, easier navigation.

Consider a progressive rollout – a responsive design can take time to implement. One way is to use a responsive retro-fitting approach: start by launching a mobile version of your site, then tablets, and eventually rolling out your desktop redesign.

Use an analytics tool to gain deep insight into your customer – what pages of your site are visited most often on each device? Understand which devices visitors are using to find your website and what information they’re looking for.

What are your customer-engagement goals? – Define these up front. If lead generation is the priority, evaluate your content and calls to action to ensure that they’re relevant to each device user. The mobile experience should have short forms, easy-to-digest content, with simple tools for immediate engagement. In contrast, desktop content can be more in-depth.

Build the site so it is easy to maintain – the goal is for marketing and business users to be able to easily update the site regularly without having to rely on their IT colleagues.

Measure success – as with any project, you need to be able to see what’s worked and what hasn’t and how to enhance the site.

Remember, responsive website design future-proofs your web presence. It makes for a better user experience and decreases the time needed to manage the different versions of your sites.