Mobile Matters

Iain Robinson

It's annoying, isn't it? You try to visit a website on your phone and it appears exactly as on your computer, only many, many times smaller. Your fat fingers mash three buttons at once as you try to navigate to the page you need and before long you're on the verge of throwing the phone at the next person who speaks to you.


Would it really be so hard, you ask, to make the buttons bigger on my phone? Is it really not possible to make this experience a little more straightforward? Why Do You Hate Me!?


Then you leave the site, vowing never to return.


Increasingly Paligap are seeing mobile and tablet users make up more of the overall picture, with almost no sites receiving less than twenty percent of their traffic from these devices and many, particularly in the hospitality industry, exceeding 30% in the ordinary course of things. It's a significant proportion of the visitors to these sites and the picture coming from bounce rates and pages-per-visit is that they are less satisfied than their desktop and laptop compatriots. With these numbers increasing week-on-week it is reaching the critical point where those running websites have no choice but to give pro-active consideration to their mobile visitors, lest they miss out on a significant proportion of the potential leads and conversions they might gather from that group.


There are, however, ways to attend to this problem. If the site in question could do with a refresh anyway then the optimal way to proceed is with a responsive design. This involves creating a site in such a way that the elements adapt according to the size of screen they appear on, providing the user with a positive experience, regardless of which device they are using. Mobile users will therefore be more likely to spend additional time on the site and carry out additional actions, ultimately leading to an increase in leads and conversions.


Not every website needs a refresh, however. In particular, sites that have been built recently, often at some expense, may not be ready for retirement just yet. In these circumstances the optimum alternative to a responsive design is a separately designed mobile site that is delivered to users when visiting from a handheld device.

Care needs to be taken with potential issues of duplicate content, but with advice from a knowledgeable SEO department this type of concern can be addressed without any undue drama. The mobile site can be produced to deliver the same quality of content as the primary site, but in a format that is more accessible to the user, which again leads to the ultimate benefit of increased engagement, additional leads and a better conversion rate.


The fundamental idea that must be remembered is that the harder you make it for somebody to do something, the less likely they are to do it. Users who have to zoom in on certain areas of your site to click an impossibly small button and then type in tiny boxes are unlikely to convert through that process. Present it to them in a more accessible way, make it intuitive and easy and you will see a significantly different response.


If recent trends are anything to go by the mobile users of websites could exceed desktop users in fairly short order and it is already imperative that this market is catered for appropriately. Mobile users today mostly understand that theirs is an emerging technology with which the internet hasn't quite caught up, but it will not be long before a mobile friendly experience changes from being a hope to being an expectation. Responsive design is the ideal standard and has the backing of search giants Google, however separate mobile sites are still a far better option than inactivity and in many cases will deliver as positive an outcome as a responsive site would. The important consideration is to dosomethingto make your site mobile friendly before you find your mobile audience disengaging completely.


Paligap are able to deliver bespoke responsively designed sites that allow you to engage both your desktop audience and your mobile audience effectively and appropriately. By tailoring your approach this way your site is presented in its most usable form to all visitors, no matter where they come from or how they access it.


We have a number of responsive client sites launching in Q3 of 2012 as more and more local businesses wake up to not just the potential of mobile and responsive design, but the need to cater for this ever-increasing audience.

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