It’s Time to Move Mobile to the Front Burner

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A lot of companies come to us with the desire to redesign their website and rebrand their online presence.  There are already so many things to consider:

•    How will we manage content?
•    Should we start a blog?
•    Should we consider expanding into social media?
•    How can we make sure people find us on the search engines?

All of these are important. But there’s one giant item to consider that often gets overlooked or moved to the back burner…what about mobile?

Mobile use is growing in leaps and bounds.  According to Informa, the telecom analysis company, there were over 2.7 BILLION mobile phone subscriptions world wide by the end of 2006.  According to International Telecommunication Union, we are going to reach 5 billion by the end of 2010. That is a phenomenal growth rate.

According to CTIA Media, 91% of the U.S. population uses mobile devices.
The Pew Research Center report, Mobile Access 2010, states that “40% of adults use the internet, email or instant message on a mobile phone (up from the 32% of Americans who did this in 2009).” That’s a rather large percentage and an 8% jump in less than a year. In an age where people are increasingly busy and constantly trying to multitask, those numbers are sure to keep climbing. And that’s just in the U.S. In many other countries the internet is accessed predominantly on mobile devices.

Design and Usability for Mobile Devices
What does your website look like on a mobile device? Unless a mobile version of your website is available, smart phones will typically display it as a mini version of what you might see on your home computer. This is not always ideal. Users are forced to zoom in and scroll around to read and find what they need. It can get pretty cumbersome. If users aren’t on a smart phone it’s even worse.

Mobile devices have only about 20% of the real estate as your traditional website. Try opening any website on your computer. Then resize the browser window to about 20%. You’ll see how all that scrolling around can get annoying. For optimum usability, your site should have a mobile version.

If you are ready to redesign your website and are committed to meeting the needs of mobile users, web guru Luke Wroblewski suggests starting with the mobile design. Due to the limited real estate, you are forced to prioritize messaging, calls-to-action, etc.  You have no choice but to show only essential items and de-clutter.  When those most important messages and items have been established, you can move on to the traditional site.

Don’t Be Left Behind
If you haven’t thought about your mobile strategy yet, it’s time to take a look. Designing a website only for the traditional web might get you by for the time being but not for long.  More and more, people are turning to their mobile devices to access information. Are you ready?

What does your mobile strategy look like?
Are you ready for the mobile boom we are currently witnessing?
How are you addressing the needs of mobile users?

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