Why mobile-friendly is no longer a nice-to-have for your website

by / Tuesday, 17 December 2013 / Published in Blog
We are closed Image by Anne http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/ on Flickr

I was really interested to see Paul Sagoo’s article this week on LinkedIn, explaining his big idea for 2014: a website that is easily viewed by visitors on a mobile device. Paul explains eloquently why mobile-friendly is no longer a nice-to-have for a company website, and he’s just one of a chorus of voices who really can’t be ignored. You need to make mobile-friendly a priority for your site next year.

At ENNclick we’ve just finished updating our WordPress theme to a brand-new responsive design (we are using the Kallyas theme). The project took a little while because the new theme was a giant step forward in terms of WordPress functionality compared to our old theme, and we worked with the skilled Fission Creative team in Paisley to customise Kallyas to our needs. The move to this new responsive theme meant new photography, and careful consideration on Fission’s part to select which items in the Kallyas toolbox would be best for our look and feel.

As a long-term user of WordPress, I’m hoping the leap to this new theme won’t be too onerous for us, and Fission has just given us a great tour of the backend, showing how to control the various content blocks on this site.

Work with developers who know mobile

If you are considering moving to a mobile-friendly website in 2014, make sure you resource the project properly, and work with designers who know mobile. WordPress users have a wide choice of responsive designs — “responsive” simply means that the page will render in a way that responds to the device it detects — but any experienced web developer/designer should be able to guide you towards the mobile friendly world, even if you are not using WordPress.

Have a look at Paul Sagoo’s LinkedIn thought leader piece here. Also see this excellent overview by Peter Tanham of SparkPage on the eircom digital boost website. The bottom line is that 30% or more of visitors to your website are going to be using a mobile device… and they will be frustrated if they have to “pinch and zoom” to view parts of the page because it is not rendering properly for iOS or Android.

Most smartphone or tablet computer users have experienced what it’s like to land on a webpage that was never built for mobile, and it’s not the kind of experience that would make you recommend that webpage or company to a friend.

Don’t tell tablet and smartphone users you’re closed for business

Mobile-friendly websites might have been a handy option to offer customers in 2013, but in 2014, websites that are not mobile friendly will send a loud and clear message to tablet and smartphone users: “We’re closed for business.”

By the way, full disclosure: myself and the other ENNclick-ers have worked with eircom on helping market Digital Boost. But that said, I genuinely feel the competition and the content being shared throughout the lifetime of Digital Boost through next April offers a great opportunity for Irish SMEs to learn more about optimising a website for mobile devices, and potentially win a business app developed for their own company. That knowledge is equally useful to companies throughout the UK.

The leap to mobile friendly isn’t a baby step, remember. For instance, at ENNclick we still have work to do on our new site, including updating our older images which aren’t quite right for our new theme, but we’re working on it. And I have no doubt this work is worth doing.

Q. How do you feel when you land on a webpage that clearly isn’t optimised for mobile? Would you be likely to recommend that page, or that company, to a friend?

We are closed image by Anne http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilike/ on Flickr

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