Mobile sites are the best possible way to promote the business in the world of smart phones and devices with small screen size. Depends on whether you’ve chosen to build a native application or a web site for the mobile, still you need to think of the contents which are going to be published to the end user. Creating a mobile site is not only about how to fit the contents of a web site which has been designed for larger screens into a narrow and more limited screen space. Reality is that there are more questions every business should ask of itself to know what exactly is the mobile site going to be used for.
There are in fact, key questions which finding the correct answers for each will help the business the to identify the best practice that suit their needs:
- Should we serve the same contents as appear on the main web site to the mobile site?
- Do the clients use the mobile site for the same reasons they visit the main web site?
- When & Where the clients will prefer the mobile site than the web site?
- What do the clients expect to see while they are on the go?
- How can we integrate the mobile-specific features into our site to make it more effective?
Answers will vary by each business and as mentioned here, the reason of being on the web is different for everyone. A hair salon can use the mobile site to promote new deals and promotions along with online booking. Banks are a very good case for on-the-go transactions while they updates the clients with recent offers. There can be millions of ideas to integrate the business with a mobile site. However one of that million ideas may help the business to grow!
Apart from the business needs that drive the contents policy, there are some key features which are less related to the nature of the business and technically increase the chance of being seen on the mobile and as result you will have higher click-through rates:
Feature #1: Simple But Effective
“Simplicity is Beauty and Beauty is simplicity, nothing more, nothing less!”. Not sure who has told this but it is a fact. The more complicated the mobile site is, the sooner the user will get frustrated to find the stuffs he is looking for and will leave the site without making any action. This is called “Bounce Rate” and measure the effectiveness of a page. Always keep in mind that a typical smart phone has a 320 pixel width and putting too much in that small area makes it annoying to focus. Do not use too many colors and use a consistent color themes for your pages and keep the most required features in hand reach. It is very likely that person who is browsing your site on mobile is walking or sitting in public transport which doesn’t allow him to completely focus on the elements on screen. They need to find the data as quickest as possible.
Feature #2: Device specific features
Smart phones are almost a desktop computer, with less screen size but more mobility features. You can use these unique features to improve the user experience “Click To Call” is one of these features which are almost available to all smartphones. Assume that they can tap on a link and it will automatically call the number! instead of copying the phone number (using copy/paste feature which is not easy). Map is also another great features can be used on the site and can be linked to navigator application installed on the phone. There are many other features such as Zooming, Compass, Multi-Touch…That can increase the site popularity by giving extra features to the user.
Feature #3: Mobile advertisement
Use ad banners for homepage and other main pages. Ad can be a simple text or graphic banner which promote your new service or a link to other pages in the site. A very good example is a Online shopping mobile site which displays a graphic of new products at check out point. It also can be utilized to introduce the other mobile sites or applications a business has as part of the network. Needless to mention that Ads are becoming a very good way of making money from search engines. A mobile site can be part of Google Networks to display external ads on its space and receive money for each time it’s shown!
Feature #4: Social network Links
Always think of the other parts of the network when adding a new components to that. It means, when designing a mobile site, think how you can use the site as a gateway to the social networks such as Facebook, You Tube etc. It might be good to integrated the latest posts in your blogs into the mobile site with a “More” link which redirects to the actual blog.
Feature #5: Quick & Responsive
Majority of smart phones use their data service to access internet while some may use wireless. There is a possibility that at some locations there is no network coverage or slow connection which cause the page load time to increase. It is important to keep the page sizes small. High quality images can still be used but the size should be considered. e.g. an image with 1920*1080 is suitable for Tablets but the maximum size a smartphone requires is 768px width. It is better to have multiple version of images with different size to be served by device type.
There are tones of technical tips for improving a mobile site performance and experience but what have been told here is the key non-technical features that a basic user can feel about the site. When proper technical solution for each of the above items are chosen, then the site will start to getting more traffic and it is not because of the extra ordinary design but because people love to spend time on the site!