Grab your nearest mobile device with web access. Now open up your search engine of choice and search for a term, any term. Click on a few of the results on the first page and look at the sites. Don’t just skim them, take a few seconds and really look at them. I bet some of them look different than what you would see on your desktop or laptop computer. I bet some of them look exactly the same, only tiny. Some of them work really well with your mobile device and others are not as good. They are distractingly overfilled for such a small screen, hard to navigate or in some other way less than suitable. Mobile device use is on the rise. You just can’t fight that trend. As smart phones and tablets become the norm more and more, instead of the exception, you will need to pay close attention to how your site looks on a variety of mobile devices. Today we are going to talk about the four best practices when designing your site for mobile.
Navigation Must Be Simple and Touch Screen Friendly
This means two things. First, it means your site needs to be readable on smaller screens without forcing end users to do a lot of scrolling. It also means that you need to make navigation touch screen friendly. After all most mobile devices these days use some kind of touch screen, so a complex system of pull down menus for navigation, which may make perfect sense for your main site, will quickly become a nightmare for touch screen users who will land on the wrong page when they try to scroll through the menu. If this happens often they will leave your page, have no doubt.
Minimize Load Times
Mobile sites mean data plans. Data plans mean that every second of load time is being paid for, by the MB or even the KB in some cases. You will want keep any fancy graphics out of the way, and reduce load time as much as you possibly can on a mobile version of your site. That is not to say that it has to look stripped down, but you do have to keep a balance between maintaining the look of your site with the amount of time it takes to load. After all most people are too impatient to wait for a long load.
Put Important Things At The Top
Mobile users need to be able to find things easily. That means that putting all of your important offerings at the top of the page is a must. Don’t skimp on this point.
Use a Domain, Instead of Sub Domain
By using a domain for your mobile site, instead of a sub-domain you will be guaranteed to get the best possible SEO and drive the most traffic to your site. After all few of us can afford to take the chance that users will keep scrolling through the pages of search results to find the mobile version of your site. Treat your mobile users like they are just as important in the rankings as your non-mobile users and you will be rewarded.