Does Your Website Need to Be Mobile?

It's no secret that people spend a lot of time browsing the web on their cellphones. As a result of this shift in usage, many businesses have jumped on the mobile website bandwagon. However, while cellphones couldn't handle full websites several years ago, the iPhone and all of the other devices that have sprung up to compete with it have eliminated that issue.

Mobile Websites Can Do More Harm than Good

When someone uses a modern smartphone to visit a website, it can be frustrating when they are presented with a mobile website that only offers a fraction of the functionality provided by the standard version of the website. The reason this creates a bad experience for those users is they may be unable to do or find what they actually wanted. Because of this issue, if you decide that a mobile version of your website is still the right fit for your business, be sure that you make it easy for all visitors to access the standard version as well.

There are Some Valid Mobile Elements

While your website may not actually need a mobile version, there are a few elements that you may want to adjust for those visitors who come from a mobile device:

Flash: Popular cellphones like the iPhone don't work well with Flash. And even if a phone is able to play a Flash file, it may take forever to stream. There are several options for dealing with this issue. If you have a video that's in a form like MP4 or hosted on YouTube, iPhone users will be able to watch it. And if you're worried that it's going to take too long for the video to stream, you can supplement it with an explanation or even a full transcript.

PDFs: Some documents are best shared as a PDF. However, this filetype is misused on a regular basis. For example, there's no reason that a restaurant should have their menu as a PDF file. Not only is it a hassle to pull up on a desktop computer, but on a cellphone, it can take forever to download. If you've got important information on your website that is currently in the form of a PDF, you should convert it to HTML. Mobile and desktop visitors will both appreciate this change.

Popups: Because they are so effective, many websites use a popup light box to highlight a special offer or email opt-in form. While that's fine for desktop visitors, this type of window can be difficult to close on a mobile device. As a result, if you're using one of the windows, it's best to set it so it isn't displayed to mobile visitors. This will ensure that you don't cause them to go away as a result of being frustrated.

Does your website have a mobile version?

About The Author

Brian Waraksa

Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.

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