Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

If your website is not yet mobile ready, then you need to start thinking about what it will take to become mobile ready.  Most sites are what I would call “mobile viewable”, that is, the same content which can be viewed, on a smartphone.  It is likely difficult to navigate the site, and some functionality and features are lost.  If your site is built using primarily html and has limited or no use of javascript and flash then likely your site fits this description.  But it is not truly mobile ready if the experience leaves the visitor with a sense of frustration.  Should you care?  After all, mobile access is still a small part of the visitors, isn’t it?  Let’s look at some numbers.

Why your website needs to be mobile ready.

Some recently reported projections by Google state that

  1. by 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PC’s to get online
  2. mobile searches have grown by four times since 2010
  3. there will be one mobile device for every person on earth by 2015

If you look at your website stats, check your visitor browser type and see how much of your traffic is coming from Mobile browsers.  The most popular browser / operating systems are shown below:

Android         43%
Apple            27%
Rim              20%
Windows        6%

Within Google Analytics, there is now a specific category of statistics for Mobile.  Googles Ian Carrington states, “If you don’t have a mobile strategy you don’t have a future strategy.”  A recent study has shown 57% of smartphone users have heavy search engine usage, and this leads to action.  51% call and 52% visit a business after conducting a search.

Another recent study of website traffic across a wide spectrum of industry websites revealed that 10% of all website visits were from mobile devices, ranging from a low of 5% to a high of 23%.  Interestingly, none of these sites were yet mobile enabled at the time of the study.

There is more of a difference between desktop and smartphone web access than simply the size of the screen.  Mobile users are more action oriented (see above stat regarding call or visit following a web search) and are less likely to scroll to the bottom of your content.

Your mobile strategy needs to ba a people strategy.  Think through the content on your site, and think hard, and get rid of anything that is not in your top 20% of content and then build your mobile version to deliver just this content.

There are several technical approaches to the delivery of a mobile site.  The main two involve using special CSS within your site to only display the “mobile” content.  The second is to maintain a separate set of pages specifically for mobile devices that are designed for the smaller displays.  Remember that mobile no longer refers to just smartphones as the adoption of tablets grows rapidly.  The screen resolution of these (iPads, Blackberry, etc.) is small than your screen on your desk.  “Responsive websites design” is the term used to describe a website which adjusts/adapts to the display capabilities of the device.  The “standard” dimensions are:
Smartphone:     320 px
Tablet              768 px
Netbook          1024 px
Desktop          1600 px

In summary, Mobile makes your online presence more complex and more powerful at the same time (doesn’t all technology).  As mobile usage grows, it will no longer be an option to not have a mobile strategy.