If you haven’t updated your business’s website in the past few years, perhaps you should consider updating it so it’s easier to navigate through mobile devices. In what was probably one of the most controversial statements about the state of consumer tech this year (to be fair, it’s only been a week in) Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research at the Consumer Electronics Association stated that we are now entering the “post-smartphone era.”
In September 2012, The International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide New Media Market Model(NMMM) predicted that by 2015, more people will be accessing the internet through mobile devices than on PCs.
If you have a smartphone (of course you do), it should hardly come as a surprise that they’re only used for calls or text messaging around 35% of the time – if that. Most of the time, smart phone users use it for other things – including making purchases.
Check out just how much mobile internet use has grown. Kind of iffy to use Cracked.com as a primary source, but it checks out.
Just let that sink in for a bit. Let’s start with the mobile browsing experience. Browsing your site on a tablet or smartphone should be an experience that encourages people to stay- and hopefully convert. Annoy your visitors and they won’t be doing much of either.
Maybe we shouldn’t be calling them phones anymore.
What To Look Out For
It’s common sense, really. A September 2012 Google Survey just proves what we all have known all along – make people’s browsing experience uncomfortable and they’ll avoid you. It’s as simple as that, really, but Search Engine Watch gives us some ideas about what mobile internet users really want:
- Site speed – loading time of 5 seconds or less
- Big, mobile-friendly buttons
- Limited scrolling and pinching
- Quick access to business contact information
- “Click to call” access to phone the business
- Links to the company’s social media profiles
Usability and design features in order of priority:
- Information in just one or two clicks
- A search bar that is easy to find and use
- A site that fits the small screen
- Clean and efficient design
- An option to visit the non-mobile site
- The ability to save information for later
- Big, finger-friendly buttons
- Non-scrolling forms with a limited number of fields
- A “click to call” button
- One-direction scrolling, either horizontal or vertical, but not both.
If you need to check for mobile compatibility, try this tool from W3.org. There are other tools available as well, but nothing beats looking at your site from your smartphone or tablet and experiencing everything firsthand.
New Opportunities – For Success and Failure
Making sure your website looks fine on mobile devices is just part of it. The success or failure of your business model might very well hinge on being mobile-friendly. Not everyone bothers to lug their laptop or PC everywhere they go. Smartphones and tablets are much likelier to be accessed by someone on the go. And people on the go have very particular needs.
The most obvious example of small businesses exploiting mobile internet devices to great effect would be food trucks. Those of us who don’t live in large metropolitan areas may not be too familiar with the explosion of street food choices that has been made possible by Twitter and smartphones. These developments made it easy for food trucks to connect with their market in real time.
Despite the massive inroads gained in the past four years, the mobile markets are still expanding. It’s not too late to start and there’s plenty of room to try out new concepts.
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