By now, everyone understands the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. More people are using mobile devices to access the Internet each passing day. As a result, these users can account for anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of a site’s total visitors. With that said, making the transition into these sites is challenging. Here are three common design tips you need to avoid.
1. Converting Desktop Websites into a Mobile-Friendly Version As Is
Too many business owners think that all they have to do is convert their regular desktop site into a mobile-friendly one. While this seems like a logical decision, they are forgetting that this doesn’t translate well. You have to adapt to the devices that are being used and focus on serving to the user’s needs rather than trying to maintain a certain standard.
Mobile-based users spend less time and have a lower attention span than desktop users. The devices they are using often have smaller screens and are being used while they are on the go. So when the users are presented with a content heavy and graphic heavy website, they become overwhelmed and will more likely than not, abandon the website.
You also need to remember that the Internet connection on these devices is far slower than desktop devices. Users understand this intuitively and are looking for a quick solution that loads quickly. You need to design your site to provide what these users want to see and present them with a focused navigation path to help them find what they need. You also need to make the content more concise and focus on conversions rather than entertaining or educating the user.
2. Designing the Mobile Version of Your Site Based on Your Desktop Site’s Analytics
While there is a lot of advice given about using your analytics to adapt your design, not enough people are telling you to dig deeper into the performance on mobile-devices. You’ll quickly learn that how people behave on your desktop will be drastically different from how people behave using these devices.
That’s why making design and structural changes based on the analytics data for your desktop is a bad choice. You need to collect data on mobile-only users and use that exact data to adapt the design and structure. Don’t forget that users are browsing the Internet in a completely different way when using devices. They’re using their thumbs and pointer fingers to browse, sliding their fingers to scroll and pressing down parts of their screen.
3. Setting Up a Separate Mobile-Dedicated Site
One of the worst bits of advice that marketing firms have made in the past is pushing their clients to set up a mobile-dedicated site that is separate from desktop site. This meaning that both sites will have different URLs. There are numerous downsides of implementing this strategy.
First of all, you may face search engine penalties for duplicate content. If you want to avoid this, you will have to go back to rewrite your archived content or produce two pieces of content every time you want to put up something new for your site.
Second, if you’re planning on getting traffic from the search engines, you’ll have to double your efforts since the search engines will see both sites as two separate entities. You’ll have to build separate links, have separate Google Authorship accounts, and have separate content. This is a lot of work to undertake.
Third, promoting your brand and taking part in any kind of offline advertising for your business site will become a headache. You want to get the brand value out of your advertising, but having two distinct websites will make it confusing for your target audience. The bottom line is that it’s a better idea to use responsive or adaptive web design.
Switching over to a mobile-friendly site is no easy task. Part of creating a site that works for both audiences means avoiding critical mistakes that hurts the user’s browsing experience and making it easier for you to promote your site.
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