Look around on the train, in the coffee shop or in the lunch line at the deli, and you’ll see people on their smartphones checking sports scores, catching up on Facebook—or shopping. Consumers are increasingly shopping via their smartphones; in fact, a recent AT&T survey found that four in 10 small businesses said that customers found their website through a mobile device.* Your company’s website may work just fine on a computer screen, but chances are it doesn’t perform well on a mobile device. Use these tips to make your site mobile-friendly:
1. Keep navigation simple
Keep your homepage focused on the information that customers are likely to need most while they’re on the go, such as your phone number, address, hours and directions. Also make sure links and buttons are large enough for touchscreen users to click through easily, and place the search box and contact info link high on the page so visitors don’t have to hunt for them.
2. Limit scrolling
Navigating from left to right to find information can be frustrating on a desktop site—never mind on a smaller smartphone screen. Arrange your content in a single, vertical column so viewers only need to scroll down to find what they are looking for. If you have a lot of information to present, consider using a collapsible menu, which allows users to tap open the content they are interested in and hide the rest—Wikipedia does this with its mobile Web pages.
3. Use small images and graphics
Your regular website may be filled with lots of big, pretty pictures, but you may need to rethink that strategy when creating your mobile site. Having too many images can significantly lengthen page load time and increase the odds that visitors will abandon your site. Choose small images or resize existing images from your full website so they load faster on mobile devices. You can always let visitors see larger images by linking to your full site.
4. Minimize keystrokes
Make your mobile-friendly site as simple as you possibly can. Avoid long forms and anything else that requires a lot of typing, and if your site is e-commerce-enabled, ask only for the details necessary to complete the transaction. Consider having users register on your full site first, so their payment details are stored and they only have to enter a username and password to complete a purchase on the mobile site. Whatever you do, make it easy for visitors to find your phone number so they can simply call you to place an order.
5. Highlight a call to action
Make it easy for your visitors to do the things you want them to. Want them to connect with a representative? Offer a click-to-chat feature. Want more newsletter subscribers? Make your sign-up button prominent.
6. Link to your full website
Some of your mobile site visitors may want the option of clicking through to your full site, whether to find a section not included in the mobile version or to see a larger product image. Include a link in the footer, where visitors expect to find it.