Updating for Mobile Compatibility: Priority or Not?
If you’re updating your website, you do have to take into account mobile device users. To put it in the bluntest possible terms, not taking into account the needs of people who want to view your website on a mobile device is basically telling what could amount to a large proportion of your users that you don’t care if they can get to your Internet site or not.
Consider the following. In May of 2012, the site StatCounter released some statistics that may make you reconsider if you are of the mind that you don’t have to have a website dedicated to mobile users. In May of 2011, 5.8 percent of all of the website views by users all over the world were made by users using mobile devices. In May of 2012, that number went up to 10.1 percent. This is obviously not a trend that’s shrinking.
In some areas of the world, the uptick in mobile device usage was more pronounced than in others. For example, in Asia, the number went from 8.3 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in May of 2012. In Oceana, mobile device use went from 4.8 percent of total traffic to 7.5 percent of total traffic.
Around the world, people are starting to view the web on their Internet enabled mobile devices more and more. Understanding what making a webpage compatible with mobile devices actually means might help you to understand why it’s so important.
Can’t They Use the Regular Site?
There are cases where the answer to the above question is “yes”. For example, consider popular shopping sites such as Amazon.com. There is a mobile site for Amazon.com and a regular site for Amazon.com. A user on a mobile device with a large screen, such as an iPad, may well opt to load the full version of the site, simply because it gives them access to more options and their more familiar with it.
Contrast that with how the user of a device with a smaller screen may choose to view the site. Mobile sites are designed so that a great deal of information can fit on the very compact screens of some mobile devices. For example, if you are checking the status of an order on your smart phone, using the mobile site would be much easier than using the full site. Everything on the full site, including the fonts, the images, the plug-ins, the text fields and the rest of it, are designed for a user who is using a keyboard and mouse, who has a large screen and who has the full processing power and memory of a desktop computer.
Filling in forms, making selections, clicking links and doing other tasks on the full version of a site when you are using a very small screen can all be very frustrating enterprises. Mobile sites are designed so that users can easily navigate everything that’s available on the website, but also so that the graphics, text fields and other elements of the page are sized in a way that makes it easy to manipulate them, view them and interact with them on a small mobile screen.
The long and short of it is that, if you’re updating a website, it’s the perfect time to add a mobile version. You can speak to a web designer about employing a responsive design to accomplish this goal or you can have a separate mobile site built for mobile users. As the aforementioned statistics demonstrate, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need a mobile site if you want to cater to the needs of all of your visitors, no matter what kind of device they use to get to your site.