Mobile phones and tablets are increasingly accounting for a larger proportion of internet traffic, so much so that website owners cannot afford to have a website that is difficult to use on these devices. Even Google is now primarily designing its services with mobile, rather than desktop, users in mind.
This trend is only going to become more pronounced as mobile data speeds increase and more people start to use smartphones over older feature phones, and if your website is difficult to navigate on a phone people may just not use it at all.
So what steps can you take to make your website easier to use on a phone?
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• Keep it Simple
Remove all unnecessary elements of your website in its mobile form. These will not only result in slow loading times on older phones, but they will clutter up the limited screen space found on most phones and make your important content difficult to locate. Only include the basic information necessary for your website to function. Present it in a clear and easy to navigate manner.
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• Use Larger Text
Most phone screens are fairly small and it can be very difficult to read small text on these devices without zooming. Some visitors may find zooming into content and scrolling across pages to read the content to be tedious and instead leave to find the information elsewhere. Larger mobile friendly text removes an extra barrier for mobile users and will make them more inclined to stick around to hear what you have to say.
• Don’t Use Flash
Flash may soon be a thing of the past but much of the internet still uses it to a great extent. However, many phones, most notably the iPhone, do not support Flash and these elements will not work on such devices. If your website is made entirely using Flash then it will not work at all. Apple iPhone users make up a significant chunk of mobile internet traffic and so this issue should not be ignored.
• Remove Pop-ups
These may be in the form of adverts or relate to some aspect of your site’s functionality, but they can be extremely difficult to close and navigate around on small phone screens and are likely to make many mobile visitors hit their back button and leave.
• Avoid Fancy Gimmicks
Avoid using fancy gimmicks such as mouse-over effects. These may look quite impressive on a desktop computer but are next to useless on a touchscreen phone. Not only will these effects not work, but mobile users will miss out on whatever content is hidden within them – particularly if they are drop down menus.
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• Optimise Media Content
Your website may rely on images or videos which can drastically slow down page loading times on slower mobile connections. It might not be suitable to remove these altogether from your site, but you can reduce the quality of images and videos on your mobile site to improve speed.
• Allow the Option to View the Full Site
While creating a mobile friendly version of your website will be greatly beneficial to most people visiting your site from a mobile or tablet device, there are some users who simply do not like using these stripped down pages. If your website automatically redirects to a mobile version, allow users the opportunity to return to the full website if they desire by including a link at the bottom of pages.
These are just some of the steps you can take to make your website more user friendly to mobile search traffic, and in a world that is becoming increasingly mobile this is a need that all website owners cannot choose to ignore for much longer.
Do you have any tips to make website mobile friendly? Do share your views in the comment section, we’ll be glad to hear from you.