Go Beyond Mobile Friendly: Design Your Business Website for Phones
Summary: Most people now surf the web on phones, so don’t simply make your website “mobile friendly” (so it works on a phone) but design it for mobile phones.
“Location is everything.”
— Boy Sets Fire
I write songs for a Detroit rock band, but they only work when I remember we play in bars. Bar songs need to get feet tapping and hips shaking. They need a melody. They need lyrics about work, life, love, drinking, or all those things combined.
Your business website, like a bar song, needs to shine where people experience it — and the place they’ll see your website is increasingly on mobile phones.
Before 2007, most people surfed the web on computers, but smartphones use was climbing. In 2014, mobile phones surpassed computers in internet use and never looked back. In 2016 people in the U.S. spent nearly 300% more time viewing the internet on phones than on computers, according to Digiday. And the forecast for 2018? That number will be 500%.
So if you want your website to grow your business, and your target market will see it mostly on phones, then plan and design it that way. Make your site great for mobile phones.
Going Beyond Mobile Friendly
It’s natural to view your website on computers, because you probably work on a computer. And chance are your website has a “responsive design”, meaning it reconfigures itself automatically for mobile phones. It is, in Google’s parlance, “mobile friendly.”
But having a “mobile friendly” website doesn’t mean your website is great for your customers on mobile phones. And with the internet-viewing world moving quickly to phones, there are things to consider. So look at your phone. How would you design a website for that little screen?
1. Simplify. Phone screens are small, so remove what you don’t need. The top of your website, for example, may only need your logo and a search bar.
2. Adapt. People often hold phones in one hand and navigate with a thumb, so we like placing menus for our clients at the bottom of screen, where people’s thumbs are.
3. Look at apps. Apps are designed for phones. So when we design a client website, we look at apps the target audience uses. It often leads to good solutions.
Design a secondary look for computers as well, but put 80% of your effort into making your website great on phones.