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How to Tell If your Website is Mobile Friendly

Leslie Ramey
6 September 2017
Long gone are the days of us sitting at a desk researching whatever whim our hearts and minds have set us off on. With the advent of smart phones, tablets, and compact laptops we have taken to the streets to do our searching. In fact, last year over 60% of searches were done through mobile devices.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly then you are going to miss out on customers. Starting early next year, at the latest, Google will switch its search ranking to focus on mobile signals. If your site isn’t mobile friendly then you are going to lose rankings and traffic.  But have no fear, we are here to help you make sure you know if your site is mobile friendly and what to do if it’s not. Shall we get started?

 

What Happens When Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly

If your website is designed to be seen only from a desktop computer, people using a tablet or smartphone will have a less than optimal experience. You could have the most stunning website with high conversion rates, but if it’s too hard to use on a smaller screen, you’ll lose the interest of plenty of users.

How do you know if your site is mobile friendly? Well, here’s how to tell if it’s not. Go to your website using a smartphone or tablet and start browsing around. If any of the following happen, your site is not mobile friendly:

  • Pages take forever to load.
  • Once-powerful images are small or lacking in detail.
  • Words are too tiny to read unless you zoom in.
  • Once you’re zoomed in, you have to scroll right and left as you read each line.
  • Buttons are hard to find, and even harder to hit, since they’re smaller than your finger.
  • Normally simple tasks, like filling out a contact form or making a shopping cart purchase, take forever and are super annoying.
  • You’d rather wait to look at the site until you’re at home on a desktop computer, because it will be easier.

Unfortunately, this is what your customers will experience, too. And many of them won’t return to your site later. They’ll forget. Or they’ll head to a competitor’s mobile-friendly site because they can accomplish their goals quickly and easily, right now.

Instead, make your site mobile friendly using one of these strategies.

Build a Mobile-Dedicated Site

A mobile-dedicated site is one that is specifically designed to accommodate smartphone and tablet users. It’s completely separate from your desktop site. Graphics are sized to fit mobile screens, words are larger, and the whole site is narrower in width so users only have to scroll up and down to get where they’re going. Menus are small and contract into what’s known as a “hamburger”: an icon that looks like a stack of lines that, once clicked, opens into a menu.

The downsides of a mobile-dedicated site include:

  • You must fund, build, and maintain two separate sites, which could double your costs.
  • You’ll have to decide which content is appropriate for mobile, and upload it separately.
  • Users may feel that your mobile site is a “dumbed-down” version of your desktop site.

What Is a Web App?

A web app is simply a mobile-dedicated site that’s designed to look and act like an app. The difference between this and an actual app is that you don’t need to download it onto your phone or tablet; you’ll access it from the web browser, like a regular website.

Mobile-Responsive

A mobile-responsive site is one that changes its layout to accommodate the screen a user is looking at, whether that’s a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. You can test whether your site is mobile-responsive by simply changing the size of your browser while using your desktop computer. If the site changes when the window is only taking up the left half of your screen (or less), then the site you’re looking at is mobile responsive.

Responsive design allows you to have a single site that works well for both desktop and mobile users. It’s important to remember, however, that, responsive design is a spectrum, meaning that some sites are more responsive than others, depending on how they’re built.

The downside to a mobile responsive site is that websites with complicated functionality, such as those that include complex spreadsheets and visualizations, don’t always translate well to mobile. Integrating third-party functionality is also more challenging.

Adaptive Design

Adaptive design is a type of responsive design that takes flexibility a step further. This type of site detects not only the user’s screen size, but additional device capabilities. The site then decides which content and features will work well on the device and sends those on, while holding back those that won’t.

What Type of Mobile-Friendly Site Is Right for Me?

If through this process you’ve discovered that your website is not mobile friendly don’t stress. There is still time to get it upgraded and ready for the Mobile First Index that Google is working on. While each style of mobile site has its pros and cons, here at cThru Media our Director of Web Development Jacque encourages our clients to choose a mobile responsive design. Jacque explains, “You want to simplify your website to save time, money, and increase user experience. A mobile responsive design fits this need.”

A mobile responsive design provides an economical approach to mobile web design. As technology changes, screen sizes vary, and a number of unknown upgrades create issues for mobile site.  A mobile responsive site can weather most of these storms. Having separate mobile sites means having to make updates in multiple locations. Users may become frustrated if they are looking for something on your site they saw on their desktop version, but isn’t present on the mobile version.

The future of website development will continue to be an innovated area as sites will need to be built to meet technology. Staying on top of these trends and planning ahead can keep you out in front of the competition. If you are ready for an upgrade to your website reach out to cThru Media. Our team can evaluate your site and come up with a plan of attack to get you ready for the future of mobile.