In spite of the massive increase in the number of mobile phone users logging onto the web every day, it seems there’s still a certain reluctance amongst smaller businesses to take the plunge and have their websites optimised for mobile browsing. Estimates suggest only 1% of UK businesses have bitten the bullet so far. Obviously all the big boys are well ahead of the game as you might expect, so it’s no surprise to see the likes of the BBC, Domino’s, William Hill and Hilton Hotels are already up and running. If mobile optimisation was a very expensive process then perhaps it might be understandable. However, mobile website design and optimisation needn’t be. When you factor in the phenomenal growth in the iPhone and Android market, and the fact that a large proportion of the users are on line at all times of day, doesn’t it make sense for your business to take up the mantle too? The trend for mobile searching will only continue to grow, and those businesses that fail to take steps to communicate with their customers when they’re on the go will inevitably fall further and further behind.
There’s some confusion about what a mobile website should look like. Some believe it should simply be a miniaturized version of the main website, whilst others think it should be almost skeletal and paired down to its most basic form. The truth is neither of those assertions is correct. Designing a mobile website and optimising it so it performs well, whilst delivering all the relevant information any customer might want is fundamentally simple. It isn’t about making it smaller per se: it’s simply about delivering a user-friendly design that is uncomplicated, intuitive and easy to use.
What your potential customers are looking for is information, and they want you to deliver that to them in a simplified format at a time that’s convenient to them. Survey after survey has shown that browsers don’t want all-singing and all-dancing mobile websites: they want basic information. All a mobile website needs to be able to deliver is information about the products and services offered, the business location, your contact details and your hours of business. If you can deliver all that basic information in a clear and easily navigable manner, then you won’t go far wrong.