Topical information and opinions about the web, including Sarah Doney's Web Expert column in the Western Morning News.

Infographic: Why your website must be mobile friendly

Posted by Chris Bray: February 13 2013

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If your website is over two years old it is almost certainly failing you and an increasing number of your visitors. The explosion in people accessing the web on their mobile phones has taken everybody by surprise. The first iPhone was launched in mid 2007 and now, according to MORI, well over 50% of the UK (36 million subscribers) owns a smartphone. In 2010 that figure was 20%.

As far as tablets are concerned, of the third or so of UK adults who own one, half are over 45 and so we can’t write this off as a teenage obsession with gadgets. It’s time to take a serious look at this uptake in technology and the resulting change in behaviour.

Shopping by phone

Here are three more statistics: 44% of smartphone owners and 56% of tablet owners have recently made an online purchase from their device (imrg, October 2012) and yet only 40% of the top 100 UK advertisers have mobile optimised websites (IAB UK).

What is mobile friendly?

If your website is over two years old it is very unlikely that it will be mobile-friendly “ you may be able to read it on a smartphone with a lot of zooming in and scrolling backwards and forwards but that’s hardly being friendly to your mobile visitors.

Sites optimised for mobile devices not only fit the smaller screens, they also use the phone’s technology to dial phone numbers (or add them to Contacts) by tapping them and they call up the keypad when presented with a form or email address. They are also capable of doing a host of other clever things but it is these basic functions that every website owner wants his visitors to be able to do on his site with ease.

Responsive websites

Responsive is the buzz word amongst website designers “ it means that a website can detect what kind of device it is being viewed on and serve up a version of itself that best suits the device’s screen resolution and technology. If you look at logodesign.co.uk which is – of necessity – a site full of images, you will find that it fits your screen regardless of whether you are looking at it on a large desktop monitor, a laptop, tablet or mobile. Try resizing your browser by dragging a corner to make it smaller and you will see that our site adjusts its content to fit. Below a certain size (where tablets give way to smartphone screens) the navigation changes from being spread out horizontally to a vertical stack.

Mobile Analytics

Google Analytics shows that about 1 in 6 of the visitors to our website “ www.logodesign.co.uk – in January 2013 viewed it on a mobile device (1000 on iPhones and over 1200 on iPads). For some of our website clients the proportion of mobile visitors is much higher. E-commerce women’s fashion sites, and even our websites for Devon and Cornwall businesses for accommodation and wedding venue sites, are showing statistics of over 40% of visitors using mobiles.

It’s time to upgrade your website

So what should you do? If your site’s content hasn’t been reviewed for over a year it is probably in need of an update anyway.  Google likes sites that stay fresh and up to date. Last year it made a series of radical changes to its search algorithms and thousands of sites effectively disappeared from view as a result.  Bringing your content up to date and being Google-friendly is imperative in today’s commercial environment.

Building a website that is responsive adds perhaps 25-30% to its cost. Having a site that you can update yourself will help keep your visitors (including the Google bot) interested and if you let us mix in a little social content it may also win new friends and influence people. All round, it has never been more important and potentially productive to invest in an up to date website.

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Chris Bray is a director of Logo Design & Marketing.

© 2013 Logo Design Limited www.logodesign.co.uk – reproduction of this graphic is only allowed if it is accompanied by this credit and link.

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