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Make Your Site More Accessible, Make it Mobile-Friendly

design | web design by Shannon Noack on December 2, 2011 | 0 Comments

The use of smartphones and mobile devices like the iPad are growing quickly these days, with more people searching, shopping, and surfing on their mobile devices than ever before. There are some pretty incredible statistics with phones and mobile devices and this infographic from Microsoft Tag estimates that mobile internet usage will take over desktop usage by 2014. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on an ever-growing audience and potential business. We’ll cover lots of great reasons to make the move and some great ideas on how to make your site more mobile-friendly too.

Why should we make our site mobile-friendly?

As we mentioned above, mobile usage is growing pretty quickly. I’m a very visual learner and I like how the chart above illustrates just how quickly mobile internet usage is growing and when we can expect it to overtake desktop internet usage. These numbers are estimated, but from the usage you see out and about and with family and friends, I think it’s pretty clear that mobile usage is certainly on the rise. Why not take advantage of such a lucrative opportunity?

Take this for example, imagine you own a seafood restaurant in a large city and you don’t have a mobile-friendly website. I’m a consumer that’s out and about with some friends, and I’d like to see a menu before I drive over to make sure I like what you have. Your site is slow to load, and I have to scroll around too much so I give up before I find the menu. I know I can find another restaurant nearby that does have one that I can access. You’ve just lost my business, and your food may be better than your competitor, but that’s not what matters at this particular moment. Don’t let your competitors win over something you can control.

What does it mean to make your site mobile-friendly?

A mobile device is navigated by the use of your fingers and it’s generally a much smaller screen than a desktop so accommodating those 2 things will make your site more mobile-friendly for your users. The average width of a website today is 960 pixels, whereas the resolution for a smartphone is usually around 300-400 pixels. Unless your site layout is fluid and resizes to fit that different resolution, your users will need to constantly scroll and zoom to see everything. In my experience Android and Apple phones usually do a good job of displaying websites as they would be seen on a desktop, but usability is still changed because of the scrolling and zooming hinderance.

Another drawback of usability on a mobile device is the fact that you navigate with your fingers and websites are generally created to be navigated with a mouse so links are tiny and hard to click on. This makes it tough to get where you need to go, especially if you’re just looking for something quickly.

How do we become mobile-friendly?

There are a few different ways to make your site mobile-friendly, and our favorite method is to create a site with a layout that resizes based on the size of your browser or mobile device. The needs of an iPad are different from that of a phone user even so we like to accommodate for that as well. The Snoack Studios blog is fully mobile-friendly and illustrates this method well, even on a desktop browser. Visit the site on your phone and on your computer to see the difference, or resize the width of your browser window on a desktop or laptop computer to see how the site changes when it becomes smaller. The navigation text becomes larger and more accessible, pictures become smaller as needed, and everything resizes nicely to stay within the constraints of your browser size. It even goes so far as to move the sidebar completely at the smallest size because it wouldn’t make sense to keep it as a sidebar.

The best layout will depend on your particular site and the things you have on it, but the most important things to keep in mind are:

  • Readability – make sure text is readable on a small device, and not too large on your regular computer.
  • Click-ability – links, buttons and any navigational items probably need to be larger so they can be easily located and clicked on.
  • Scrolling – vertical scrolling is much easier than horizontal scrolling on a mobile device so don’t worry about your site getting too lengthy, but instead worry about it being too wide.

Making your site mobile-friendly isn’t just a trendy thing anymore, it’s a necessity to stay accessible for your users and to stay on top of your competition. Snoack Studios would love to help you out if you need advice or help on making your site more mobile-friendly. Get in touch with us today!


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