You must have met some people who will ask – what is the need of having a website? My answer to those people is – of course a website is not required if you are not into any business or have nothing special to share with the world. But if you are into any business or wish to spread your message to the world; it is a must. Why? Because you can promote your product or have your voice heard to more than 2 billion people who surf internet globally. Web presence of your business is essential for getting you successful. The reach of internet is growing at a rapid rate and you can be left well behind if you don’t have a website. But is it good enough to just have a website?
In last few years, internet has seen a rapid growth – mostly because of availability of internet on mobile phones and tablet PCs. After the introduction of 3G and easy availability of Wi-Fi; the internet speed on handheld devices has increased many folds. Most of the smart phone owners use their mobile phones primarily to access internet and search for any information. Purchasing a product, booking tickets, checking emails, sharing photographs, chatting with friends – everything is possible with a mobile phone and it is getting trendier day by day. Your website is available 24×7 and so is the mobile phone with your prospective customers.
Thus a well designed website especially for mobile phones and handheld devices is also required to be successful. You may have a website for desktops, but if it renders poorly on small screens or look awful on phones; nobody will stick to it. According to a recent study by Google, “Two-thirds of smart phone users will more likely purchase a company’s product if they have a mobile-friendly site and 74% will return to those websites later also”. You can’t ignore this huge population who uses mobile for internet surfing. Most conventional websites renders very poorly on mobile devices, takes longer to load and are really difficult to navigate. This is enough for a visitor to leave your website immediately.
Designing a mobile website
Mobile website should look completely different from a desktop website. These are a few essential for designing a mobile website:
- Use bigger buttons which can easily be touched
- Website should load faster
- The font size should be bigger than the conventional websites
- Avoid unnecessary contents and write-ups
- Use small size images which will help website load faster
- Avoid using flash and animation
- Try to split the web pages with more contents
- Minimize the steps required for any operation
- Use icons and dropdown lists for navigation
- Keep the links distinctly different from normal text
- One column website is the best
Two approaches of creating mobile websites
There are two approaches to have a mobile friendly website – redesign your existing website with responsive layout which look equally good on all screen sizes or go for a completely separate website dedicated to mobile devices.
Both the approaches have some advantages and disadvantages. Responsive website is good because you have only one domain name and website. But it will have all the contents and load slower on mobile devices. It is also a difficult task to create layout which looks equally good on all screen sizes. If you create a separate website for mobile, you can control the contents, images, icons, buttons, etc. and make it look exactly what you want but you have different domain names and associated costs.
While a responsive design is a good choice for blogs and other websites running on a CMS like WordPress; for business websites it is better to go with a separate mobile website.
Resources for creating mobile friendly websites
As I explained earlier, if you are using content management system like WordPress; it is quite easy to have a responsive layout. Just select from thousands of responsive WordPress themes and your website turns into a mobile friendly website. However, as a web designer or developer, you need to learn about CSS3 media queries and other techniques for creating a responsive layout. I recommend going through the tutorials available on smashing magazine for creating responsive websites.
Development of a complete new website for mobile devices is just like creating it for the desktop. But you must ensure it is user friendly on mobile devices and fulfills the design considerations mentioned above. At the same time you must check it extensively for various screen sizes.
But if you are interested in creating a separate mobile website quickly and easily, there are several online applications available. By using one of those programs; you can create well designed mobile websites for your customers very quickly.
With growing number of smart phone users; it is indeed necessary to have a website which renders well on mobile devices. The demand for mobile websites will be much higher in days to come. It’s the right time to learn about the tools and techniques for responsive and mobile friendly websites and keep you abreast the requirements.