Smart phones are everywhere. With Apple alone claiming their 700th million iPhone sale back in March of this year, it’s clear that the smart phone has become a fixture in daily life for many. A Pew Research study, released around the same time as Apple’s 700th million iPhone, found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are smart phone users, and for many, these devices are “a key entry point to the online world”. The Pew study also found that smartphones aren’t just being used for standard features like calling and texting; users are directing a large portion of their lives directly from their smart phones. They’re accessing health information, bank accounts, educational content, and yes, they’re accessing your company’s website via their smart phones.
Has your company given thought to making its website mobile friendly? Has it optimized the user experience for smart phone devices? If not, it’s time. But how should you go about it? Here are 6 questions to consider as your company develops its mobile strategy.
What are the digital needs of my customers and prospects?
What information is being accessed on your website? Are visitors largely coming to your site to learn more about your product and service offerings? Are they placing online orders and making purchases? Do they have an account that requires a username and PIN/password? The answers to these questions will help you determine what mobile platform is right for your business.
Do I need a mobile-specific or responsive design?
A mobile-specific site is likely a good fit for your business if visitors are primarily using your site to gain more information about your company. It will give users a stellar intuitive interface, but the trade-off is a more limited set of options for those users. Conversely, if visitor behavior necessitates an experience that’s identical to your desktop site, responsive design is the way to go.
How navigable is your mobile site?
Now that you’ve thought through the needs and online behaviors of your visitors, it’s time to start thinking about specific aspects of the user experience. Try using your own smart phone to test how easily content and basic information can be accessed on your mobile friendly site. You might find that the spacing on clickable links needs to be adjusted so that even users with bigger fingers can click through your site with ease.
Is your mobile site optimized for slow connection speeds?
The phrase “going online” encompasses a much broader scope than it did back when users only accessed the internet through a desktop computer connected to a terrifyingly large amount of wires and cables. Desktop computers are still prevalent, and many of them are connected to lightning fast networks. Smart phones, on the other hand, are more likely to be used while connected to relatively slow “public” Wi-Fi networks. If your site requires visitors to download content or fill out a form, consider the user experience of those tasks across a slow network.
Could I improve the mobile user experience by sharing information visually?
Smart phone screens are getting larger to be sure, but they are still significantly smaller than desktop monitors. Are there ways you can turn lengthy text into visual content for mobile users? Videos and infographics tend to be the best ways to visually appeal to a mobile audience, while still conveying necessary information.
What story do the analytics tell about my visitors?
Browsing through your website analytics will tell you a lot. Draw conclusions and identify trends by comparing the online behavior of desktop users with that of mobile users. How many unique mobile visitors is your website seeing each month? What content is being accessed primarily by desktop users? How much time is being spent on your site by each group of users? Digging down into this data – and continuously tracking it – can give you good direction when it comes to tweaking your mobile strategy.
With Apple’s recent introduction of its newest iPhone “on pace” to outsell their last release (10 million units sold), your company should be thinking about the way its digital home is experienced by users of smart phones.