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10 Tips To Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

April 1, 2011 by Dustin

woman browsing mobile phone 10 Tips To Make Your Website Mobile FriendlyThe number of users who access the Internet using their mobile device continues to grow each and every day. Approximately more than half of the people who use the Internet access it regularly from a mobile device. As new mobile devices are introduced and as mobile web browsers advance mobile web browsing further solidifies itself as a permanent fixture in our everyday lives. When considering how many or your potential customers are accessing the Internet via their mobile phone you should be asking yourself, is your website mobile friendly?

The advances of mobile devices has made tremendous progress however many sites that are not optimized for the mobile web often get lost in translation and present a less than desirable user experience. Due to the quick advancements and development it is probably only a matter of time till mobile browsing can offer an experience equal to that of regular Internet browsing. So, another important question to consider would be is the benefit of mobile optimizing worth the effort or would it make more sense to wait a year or two until mobile browsing possess the same technology and capabilities of traditional Internet browsing?

Most of the time if a user is accessing your website from a mobile device there is a higher urgency to make a purchase or perform a critical action such as finding directions to your brick and mortar store or acquire some kind of contact or customer support. I think it is clear that depending on the type of business and the needs of the customers it is probably worth the effort or at the very least wouldn’t hurt to make your website a mobile companion. The following are suggestions to assist you in making your website more compatible with the mobile web environment as opposed to creating an additional website solely for mobile users.

  • Test your sites mobile compatibility
  • Before you make any adjustments to your site you should first test it and see if any changes are necessary. To do this you can navigate to your site on any mobile device or download mobile browsers like Opera or Skweezer. These programs will give you an approximation of how your website appears on most mobile devices.

  • Best to use XHTML
  • XHTML provides the highest accessibility standards for mobile web browsing.

  • External CSS
  • External CSS are easy to update, separates content from design, minimizes code, decreases load time, and ensures correct display according to screen resolution.

  • Rely less on embedded images
  • Rely less on embedded images, objects, scripts, frames, flash, popup windows, and mouse over events because they have the potential to crash a mobile browser.

  • Avoid Java Script
  • Java Script tends to display web content in its entirety which creates a bulky and uncomfortable mobile experience. Drop down menus won’t be hidden, navigation will be mapped out, all of which will be located above the content pushing it several page lengths down. Too much scrolling to reach the main content makes it hard to differentiate between the pages and will most likely cause a user to leave the site.

  • Address physical order of source content
  • Use optimized internal jump links for quick navigation. For usability it is best to format your website with the header first, followed by the jump links, then the main content, navigation and finish the page with the footer.

  • Enable Mobile links
  • Take the opportunity to put the phone to work by creating links like “send this link to my phone” where it would store or call the linked number. Also incorporate other interactive calls to action such as hours of operation, product descriptions, prices, text alerts, and addresses or maps where it automatically inputs the information into the mobile devices GPS or map applications.

  • Create custom input fields
  • Code input fields appropriately, if the field is meant for a phone number apply a code for numerical characters only and the same goes for text fields where only letters should go. Since most phones have buttons that perform multiple functions by switching between numeric and alphanumeric, having your text fields coded in this way will be easier on the user.

  • Create mobile only pages
  • Implement browser detection, redirection or self selection. With these in place your website will detect the type of browser and redirect to the mobile only pages or you can implement an option that allows the user to select the mobile or traditional version of the website. The mobile only pages can be stored in a mobile sub domain or sub directory.

  • Additional tips
  • Include limiting the amount of images per webpage, limiting image display size to 120px, and limiting the file size.

These are just some of the basics to get you started with making your website mobile friendly. Whether you are optimizing your website for mobile use for the convenience of your customers, or to target your demographic, or to take advantage of the high click through rates, enhancing the website for a mobile device is more than likely worth the effort. Once you have considered the past, present, and the future of mobile web use it should be clear that not taking advantage of the opportunities that the mobile market presents could be a costly mistake.

Thanks for reading!


Internet Beacon

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