Optimize Your Websites For Mobile Devices (and All Others)…or Else!
More people access search engines on mobile devices than ever before. In fact, users now perform more searches on mobile than traditional desktops or laptops. Pertinent websites are accessed countless times by those looking for products, services, or information. Searchers want websites to display well on their mobile devices. Unfortunately, poor design pushes visitors to other sites that are better optimized for their devices.
Why Mobile Design Matters
Although millions of websites exist, only a fraction of them are optimized for mobile platforms. Un-optimized websites pose various challenges to mobile users. Such sites appear identical to what’s displayed on a regular computer. However, desktops and laptops feature screens ranging from 11-32 inches on average. Smartphones fall under a much smaller range, often 4.7-5.5 inches. Regular websites fail to translate well to mobile.
For instance, a smartphone displays a small area of a traditional, un-optimized website at any given moment. Mobile users are forced to zoom in and out on the website to see content, and sometimes that doesn’t even work. Constant scrolling becomes a requirement, too. In essence, an un-optimized website puts an unnecessary, occasionally infuriating burden upon users of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.
How to Fix This Problem
Many webmasters create a mobile version of their main website so that two websites exist. One outputs the normal website, and the other is a mobile-friendly version. While this solution works, it forces users to access a separate website URL. A better solution to mobile design involves adopting responsive Web design principles for a particular site. Responsive design essentially creates a cross-platform site that works for all platforms.
Programming a website with responsive design isn’t too challenging. The end result is that a website detects the type of device accessing its URL. Typically, code is implemented to recognize the screen size of that user’s device. A site then scales up or down from its base design so that it functions on each platform. Mobile devices often see compacted menus and properly sized text and images from this scaling process.
Without a doubt, the benefits of responsive Web design speak for themselves. A responsive website ensures that one URL displays and functions well across every platform. Screen size no longer becomes a challenge for webmasters or a website’s users. Sure, specific mobile websites work, but they come with extra requirements and challenges. Mobile design matters more than ever before, and responsive design helps simplify everything.