Why Your Website Needs to be mobile-friendly or responsive
The days when the majority of internet searches were carried out from a desktop computer or even a lap top have long gone. The number of surveys which have pointed out this simple fact are numerous, but a report published toward the end of 2016 by web analytics company StatCounter found that the number of mobile searches had, on a global basis, officially passed the number of searches from desktop devices.
The figure for global searches of this kind was 51.3% for mobile against 48.7% by desktop, but exact figures vary from country to country. In India, for example, the mobile search figure is as high as 75%. In the UK it is 55.6% and in the US 58%
All of this means that if your website isn’t being seen on mobile devices then, increasingly, it isn’t being seen at all. The fact that the latest algorithms used by Google actually favour mobile friendly websites means that this is more the case than ever. Even if someone is searching for your product on a desktop device, the fact that your site isn’t optimised to work with mobile devices will see it sinking further and further down the rankings.
Being found on a mobile device isn’t enough in and of itself, of course. Your site has to be designed to work well on the device in question. That might be a smart phone or a tablet but the size of the screen is irrelevant because, no matter how big it is, your site has to look good and load quickly. This last point is particularly important. People on the move are apt to be even less patient with slow loading times than those seated at their desks. If your site doesn’t load quickly then the chances are that the would-be customer will swipe on to the next within a matter of seconds.
In the past, this might have meant designing and building two separate sites – one for desktop and one for mobile. Modern web design has moved beyond this to embrace responsive design, however, meaning that the same site works equally well no matter how it is accessed. That means it has to meet the following criteria:
It looks good
the colours and designs used need to work well on screens of any size and to deliver a consistent brand message. If branding works well on a larger scale but not when reduced in size then the message your online presence is sending out becomes confused. Not only that, but your professionalism is compromised. Someone impressed by your website on their desktop who then tries to access it when out and about the next day will be deeply disappointed to find a mobile site which doesn’t replicate the experience. Even worse, they’ll assume that this lack of attention to detail runs through everything else you do.
It’s easy to use
Navigating via a smartphone is different from the point and click standard which has applied for so long. Your site needs to be instinctive to navigate, guiding visitors forward fluidly and making it easy for them to find what they need.
In a few years’ time, the concept of a responsive website will seem redundant, as it becomes industry standard for every site to work on the widest range of devices and platforms possible. You can be certain that your competitors, just like the world’s biggest and most successful brands, are already making that journey. Unless you do the same and embrace responsive web design, you’ll be left behind.