Mobile Friendly Website Design - the Only Way Forward Today
What is it?
Quite simple really: a mobile friendly - or responsive - website is one that automatically changes its appearance to suit the device (PC, large / small tablet or smartphone) that is being used to view it.
We can build and implement this using WordPress, Twitter Bootstrap or our own responsive framework. Each method is different and it’s important to use the right one for you and your website’s requirements - we can advise what’s right for you.
Why use it?
To see how well (or poorly...) your website works on a mobile device take out your smartphone, browse your site and see if you can use it as easily as you can on a PC. You probably can’t. So what are the common problems mobile web users complain about?
- Can’t read the text - it displays too small or you have to scroll a lot.
- Can’t use the links - there’s no mouse for a start so the site needs to handle that, but menus being too small or too close are often the main issues.
- Can’t find what I want - mobile users browse differently to PC users: they more often than not don’t just “surf the net” but look for very specific information, often localised, such as opening hours, location or contact information; web content needs to reflect this.
- Doesn’t work properly - the single biggest complaint users have is that pages take too long to load on a mobile device, and some pages just don’t display at all.
So the mobile user needs a very different user experience to the desktop user. Mobile users need to be able to read your content and use navigation on smaller screens, with user interfaces that are optimised for touch, and not have to download large images or files. Research also suggests that mobile users have less patience and are less forgiving than desktop users.
If your website is not optimised for mobile there are two basic approaches you can consider: the mobile website and the mobile friendly or responsive website.
The mobile website is a standalone website that is built specifically for mobile and when someone visits your website on a mobile device, it identifies the device and redirects them to this standalone mobile site. The responsive website is very different: as stated above, it’s a website that automatically changes its appearance to suit the device that is being used to view it.
WordPress, HTML5 and CSS3
Many companies are also realising that a Web Content Management system - software that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming to create and manage website content with relative ease - can help them manage their online content. WordPress, an open source solution with a range of responsive templates (“themes”) that save time and cost in the design and development of a website, is such a system.
What’s a typical plan of action?
A mobile website can be characterised as a ‘quick and dirty’ approach that sometimes provides faster deployment but leaves a longer term, administrative headache because it’s effectively two separate websites to maintain. The second more elegant and smarter approach is a ‘responsive’ website, which requires a little more time and investment up front but provides the best long term solution. A responsive website usually looks better as well. As such, we prefer responsive as the way to go. So...
- We’ll review the current website.
- Analyse and assess what's required.
- Develop an implementation plan.
- Go do it!
- Look after you when it’s live by providing updates, advice and support as needed.
In addition we can also advise on hosting plans and other aspects of the website if required.