A 3-point guide for mobile web development

It's critical that your website is mobile ready since more people are depending on smartphones and tablets than ever before. In fact, it's expected that mobile use will outrank PC use very soon. This requires extensive responsive design savviness and the ability to constantly adapt to new devices. Luckily, there's a simple three-point guide to ensure you and your business is on track. If you're not keeping up, your mobile users will go elsewhere.

The good news is that mobile users don't outrank PC users quite yet, so you have a narrow gap in order to get things done. No matter what, make sure your web team is up for the task and don't be afraid to ask questions or possible switch support teams if you have to. No matter how small or big your business, giving customers what they want is at the heart of things. What they want is total mobile access made easy.

Point 1: Niche markets

Niche markets are heavily impacted and profit the most from mobile website development, but you may be surprised just what accounts for a "niche market." You probably don't serve every single demographic in the country. Whether you're a coffee house, online retailer, or provide massage services in Houston, there's a target demographic and you need to cater to them. No matter who they are -- they're getting more mobile.

Extreme mobile niches (such as vegan dog cookie bakers) get the most out of mobile readiness because they stand the most to lose. If they lose five percent of their customer base, that's a much bigger deal than if Starbucks lost five percent. Customers are more demanding in niche markets and may not be as loyal. Regardless of how niche you are or not, understand that your customer's loyalty only stretches so far.

Point 2: Time and money concerns

Just how much time and money it will take in both the short and long term will vary. For example, if you invest X amount of dollars to make your site mobile ready, you should have milestones set for one month from now and one year from now. If you spend X amount of hours updating your responsive design, that positive investment will play out differently at different times in the future.

You need to be able to see where your time and effort is going, and this requires data tracking and goal setting. Don't expect a miracle overnight, but understand that positive change will come. You need to know your conversion rate, CTR rate, where traffic is coming from and which pages are performing. You should see positive changes once you're mobile ready.

Point 3: How to get started

To get mobile ready fast, make sure your IT team has what it takes. They should explain things clearly, have a plan of action, and be able to provide understandable goals and results. Your website needs to read clearly on every browser and on every device, and this needs to constantly be tested and proven. There are always new products on the market and your site needs to work on them all.

This might require a complete overhaul or minor tweaks depending on your current status. Look at hard data, expect regular reports, and make sure goals are achieved in a timely manner.

Putting it all together

Here are four examples of companies getting mobile right:

Obaby
This site took it a step beyond just being mobile ready and has developed a clean mobile app. For some sites such as e-commerce ones with many products and descriptions, it's easier to offer an app for shopping. This reduces any odds of slow load times from both the site's end and user's end.

 

Nixon
It's consistence with identical filters on all devices, simple with just a three-bar icon for tools in the header for guidance, and intuitive so that you only see the main watch colors and don't get frustrated. White space is perfect.

 

Huffington Post
In the mobile version of the popular news site, the information is pared down but still offers key information. Users can choose when on a mobile device whether to go to the "regular" site or the mobile version. However, users don't feel as if they're missing out with mobile.

 

IFC
Structured, clear and accessible, IFC doesn't overload the mobile version with any ads or unnecessary information. It's bare bones and designed to be read in digestible chunks, not pored over like the regular site.

Anna Johansson is the director of product marketing at Sizmek.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

 

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