Mobile compatible websites and mobile web browsing has been a hot topic for many years now, although from a technical perspective, it is still in its early stages. However, that said, having a mobile compatible website right now is hugely important.
Before I say anything more, I should clarify that when I use the term ‘mobile device’ I am referring to devices like:
- Mobile Phones/Smart Phones (iPhone, Android, Blackberry etc)
- Tablets (iPad, Android, Blackerry etc)
The type of device that would regularly travel around with you for use on the move.
And by the term ‘mobile compatible website’ I am describing a website that has been designed and developed to work specifically with mobile devices and their smaller and varying screen sizes, as well as standard computers/laptops.
I deal with new website development projects on a regular basis, whether I am planning a brand new website for a start up company, or implementing a complete redesign for an already established business and brand. Most of the companies I work with are small to medium in size; they aren’t big enough to be employing people in-house to look after their design/web products, so are dependent on the knowledge and experience of 3rd parties to help them with their website projects.
Within the demographic of clients I work with, one thing that strikes me most is how many people are initially reluctant to produce mobile compatible websites. I think there are 2 main reasons for this:
- Cost (Which when you look closer, falls into the ignorance category)
I should first clarify, that by using the term ‘ignorance’, I’m not calling individual people ignorant. Most people don’t know the ins and outs of mobile website design, because they simply don’t need to, and probably don’t want to – it’s not where their interests lie. It’s the same reason I don’t service/maintain my own car, but take it to someone who knows what they’re doing.
Clients aren’t ignorant to the existence of mobile website design, many take advantage of it themselves, and the ones that don’t have colleagues, friends, sons and daughters that live with a mobile phone permanently in their eye line, but many tend not to realise just how many people are browsing on mobile devices and the rate at which it’s growing. I receive comments like ‘Our customers aren’t going to be looking at our website on their mobiles’ or ‘We don’t need to worry about that yet’. This simply isn’t true anymore.
I recently come across some predictions suggesting that in 2015, more people will be browsing the web on mobile devices, than on standard computer/laptop devices that we’ve been so dependent on over the years. For what it’s worth, I think 2015 seems a little far away, and it will happen quite a bit earlier.
For arguments sake, let’s stick with 2015. This means that, in less than 36 months, more people will be viewing your website on mobile devices than full size devices. In addition, we can’t forget the vast numbers who are using mobile devices right now, and the rate at which that figure is increasing day after day. This is a huge mobile audience; growing at a rate we have trouble conceiving.
The longevity of a well built website is typically 3-5 years, so if you are building a new website right now, your mobile based audience during that time is going to be vast. To exclude that audience by not offering mobile compatibility, or at least reduce their experience by forcing them to view a full size website, within the palm of their hand, is simply crazy and extremely costly.
Cost is the other point I touched on. For people not in the know, cost can be a frightening prospect, but the right company will explain the additional costs of mobile compatibility, but more importantly, will explain the additional value for money and increased user experience that comes along with it. A well planned, well designed and developed website that is compatible with mobile devices can be a priceless tool for your business.
A cheaper website, developed for standard computers alone will save you some money initially, but the finished product will be limiting your audience the day it goes live, and will only become more limiting with every day that passes. It’s a false economy, and one you will end up paying for long term.
Advances in mobile website capabilities in the future are exciting and will be on-going, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to wait. Your mobile audience has already arrived and is expanding all the time.
Guest Post By: Warren Groom
Tel: 01223 911830