The rundown

Around 90% of all media interactions today happen on a screen. Therefore, customers expect a seamless browsing experience across multiple devices and platforms.

Let’s face it- we are living in the future. We watched Blade Runner and Back to the Future when we were kids and pictured a future where everyone wore silver shiny jackets and had small magical devices in their pocket that could access a world of information. With the advent of mobile devices more consumers are adapting the ‘always-on’ lifestyle today that we only saw in 80’s movies growing up. By ‘always-on’, I mean the ability to stay connected ALL the time, either through their PC at work, their tablet in the evening at home, or through their smartphone while commuting.

Here are some statistics about the state of mobile adoption:

  • There are over 1.2 billion people accessing the web from their mobile devices. – Trinity Digital Marketing
  • Mobile web adoption is growing 8 times faster than web adoption did in the 1990s and early 2000s. – Nielsen
  • 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. – Google
  • 57% users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. – Google

Gone are the days when you only had to optimise your website for desktop or laptop users, and a few browsers. Now, it’s imperative to create a consistent multi-screen experience. Here are a few handy tips to help you out.

Finding out what works best for you

The bad news is there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You might have to choose between the following options or use a mix of all.

  • Responsive web design

Responsive web design (RWD) allows you to optimise your website for difference screen sizes without creating multiple versions. A website designed using RWD techniques adjusts itself according to the screen size of the device in use.

  • Serving dynamic pages on same URL

You can also serve custom pages to different users depending upon the devices they use to access your website. In this method, your web server detects the type of device your website visitors are using, and present them with custom pages designed for that particular device.

  • Separate URLs for mobile devices

Another option is to design separate sites for mobile and desktop users. In this scenario, the browser detects the users’ device and redirects them to the relevant URL, e.g. if the user is accessing your site from a smartphone, he/she will be redirected to the mobile site.

Navigation

The navigation structure of your site is also a key factor that determines the usability of your site across multiple devices. Remember, consumers use mobile devices mostly on the move, so they don’t have the patience to search endlessly for a particular item on your mobile site.

Therefore, you can’t keep same navigation structure for both desktop and mobile site.Mobile sites should present only key elements of navigation. The navigation should be simple yet intuitive, keeping in mind the nature of mobile browsing.

Mobile website design

Most of the mobile users use a touchscreen device so it’s a good practice to keep a padding of at least 10 to 15 pixels between each link, so that it’s easier for mobile users to click on the intended link with their fingers.

Similarly, if you are including drop-down menus in your main navigation, make sure to provide the option to easily expand and collapse the list.

In addition, ensure that the forms are easy to fill, with minimal typing required on the user’s part.

Load time

According to Strangeloop Networks, 57% of mobile customers will abandon your site if they have to wait 3 seconds for a page to load. So keep your mobile site load time lower than 3 seconds, otherwise you are bound to lose half of your potential customers.

The Takeaway

Among all mobile devices, smartphones are now the most common starting point for all activities across multiple devices. However, your marketing strategy will be incomplete if you don’t allow interaction and movement across other devices, such as tablets, PCs and TVs.

The bottom line is to intertwine the experiences across devices and platforms. Targeting only one device in the current mobile landscape is like presenting a half-baked cookie to your customers.