Having a standard website is simply not enough in the modern technological landscape. According to the Pew Internet Research Project, 55 percent of cell phone users use their mobile devices to view the internet. Of this number, over 30 percent state that their cell phone is their primary source for Internet access. With such a large base of users browsing and shopping online, you may be letting vital business and viewership slip away. According to trends discussed in the study, these numbers show a steep rise over the past three years, with no signs of slowing or going down. To thrive in today’s online market, you need to offer a mobile experience for your customers.
Once you have made the decision to jump into the mobile world, you will need to understand how the process differs from a traditional website. The primary difference lies in the design of the site. Unlike their desktop counterparts, mobile uses place an emphasis on a streamlined and basic layout. This is primarily due to the way that large graphics and extra processes drastically reduce the performance of the phone or tablet.
Touch screen optimization is also a key factor in the design process. Without this feature, your website may feel clunky or poorly planned. Keeping the placement and functions of these buttons and bars in mind when creating the initial site can go a long way in sustaining viewership. Should you neglect this aspect of mobile design, those browsing your site may be turned off immediately. In this fast paced industry with so many competitors, you may not be afforded a second chance.
SUPPORTING VARIED PLATFORMS
Another major consideration when you build a website online for mobile users is what platforms to support. The two main players in the mobile device industry are Google and Apple. Google’s Android platform varies significantly from the iOS offered by Apple. Unfortunately, you will need to support both of these systems, as well as less popular variants, to cover the majority of these mobile users. Otherwise, you could let the advantage slide to a competitor or substitute product that is willing to provide more expansive coverage.
Outside of basic viewing, you may wish to offer other functionality for your mobile constituency. For many companies, this includes integrating your product with social media and other popular outlets. By offering the ability to like, favorite, share, or tweet your content, you can open up a significant new marketing avenue. This new variation on word of mouth marketing can increase viewership and exposure drastically.
In addition to social media tie-ins, your users may wish to make purchases on the go. In this case, your site will need to offer secured services and order forms. These communications will need to fall in line with guidelines and standards set by both public and private organizations, like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Council. Otherwise, you could expose the financial information of your company and your consumers to unwanted attention. A security breach of this nature could be devastating to the viability of your online operations and retail outlook in general.
A successful mobile website can be the starting point for more mobile endeavors. Depending on the success on your site, a mobile app could be the next step. Organizations with strong content can support and maintain a full fledged app, thus tapping into direct connections with consumers. However, be wary of wading into the world of downloadable applications. Many such offerings falter due to instability issues or an insufficient amount of users. Continue to build and grow your mobile site, allowing it to serve as the core of your mobile endeavors. From here, you can reap the rewards of a well planned process and continue to build your mobile offerings.