From desktop websites to mobile websites to an expanding galaxy of various screens and devices, it has become a fact that accessing the world’s information on-demand is a part of our lives now. People expect connectivity from every corner of the world, and that too on the devices of their choice. Ultimately mobile-friendly websites, or we can say responsive websites, have become a new norm.
The time had already passed when you could earn good sales with just the desktop versions of websites. However, as mobile users are increasing in number, it is essential to design websites for mobile users and desktop browsing. This can be doing anything from designing your website in a way that it looks good on Android and iOS devices to responsive layouts, CSS media queries, and even developing a completely separate mobile web design. The ultimate agenda is to provide the website users with a tremendous user experience regardless of the device.
To make your website compatible with mobile devices, first, you need to understand how the mobile version differs from the site’s desktop version. The best way to know this difference is first to understand what a mobile website is and what it isn’t. Read further for the same.
What is a Mobile Website?
In contrast to the very small and tiny texts and heavy graphics and navigation experience of a desktop site on your smartphones and tablets, mobile sites are specially designed and scaled to function well on smartphone screens. Because smartphone users want essential decision-making information when they are looking for a service you offer, a mobile website is what can help you attract that customer.
Using fonts and graphics that are easier and larger to navigate and read in smaller screen sizes can help you entice your website visitors.
What a Mobile Website Isn’t?
Being a responsive web design company, the widespread misconception we hear about mobile websites is, “Mobile websites are just the smaller version of the regular desktop websites.” Now, take your mobile phones out and try to browse any website, even maybe your own. If you see a tiny version of your traditional website, if it requires you to use your fingers to expand and see the content on your website, you are merely viewing the desktop version of your website on your smartphone. This is absolutely not a mobile website.
In the following section, let’s talk about the critical differences between a traditional or desktop website and a mobile website.
Key Design Differences between Mobile and Desktop Websites
Let’s start with the fact that mobile browsing is absolutely different from desktop websites. Further in this post, we will see how user interactions on websites differ from interactions on mobile sites. These differences will be beneficial for you to design a better-optimized website.
- Tappable vs. Clickable Interactions
Since most of the mobile devices today are touchscreens, it changes the way how users interact with the websites on different devices. Rather than using a cursor to click on something, users tap on their screens or use gestures to interact with the website.
You might not think of it as a huge deal, but it is one of the main things that need to be considered in mobile devices. Think of viewing desktop sites, how easy it is to click on a text line or an embedded link with a mouse. But to click a link with finer taps says a different story. This is known as a fat finger problem.
Resolving the fat finger problem just requires enlarging interface elements like call-to-actions, links, and navigation labels. Also, ensure giving enough space between them.
- Dropdown Menus
One thing you need to consider for the quality of a mobile website is the number of clicks it requires for a user to complete a particular action. Fewer clicks obviously mean more usability. This brings us down to Dropdown Menus. Dropdown menus work well on desktops as the amount of user interaction or number of taps is not a big deal.
However, dropdowns for mobile users are a big problem. On mobile, dropdowns are often used where the simpler, more user-friendly controls would work better. For example, filling a form with a dropdown in every question becomes pretty irritating as the dropdown requires multiple taps, more interactions, and a longer time.
Not only smaller than desktop, but mobile screens are also landscape-oriented, whereas mobile users view content in portrait mode. This affects a few design choices; the main one is navigation. Mobile phones are better suited to portrait navigation instead of landscape navigation.
Read also: Website Usability – Definition, Importance, and Tips to Improve
In this Navigation styles’ analysis, approximately 90% of the mobile sites use vertical navigation even though the desktop sites were likely to use horizontal navigation style.
- Content Prioritization
The difference between mobile and desktop websites is more than just the screen size. However, screen size is still an essential element to consider while designing an optimized website for mobile phones. Since mobile phones have smaller screens, they provide less space for text, graphics, and other content.
So, to design a mobile website well, you need to prioritize some of the content, which means reducing word count, eliminating some graphics, or adjusting secondary information to some other pages. Desktop sites can afford to have a wide range of content, but it is not possible with mobile websites. The challenge here is to find a suitable line to cut between desktop and mobile websites.
The goal here is to satisfy mobile users without including any information that will have an impact on the website’s user experience – especially the elements that will affect the page load time on 3G or a slower network.
- Situation-based Design
The mobility of mobile is yet another significant difference from the days of the desktop. When people used to browse websites through desktops, designers didn’t have to think much about how and where the users would interact with their website. Now, the majority of users access websites through their phones. Mobile devices are portable, users carry them everywhere, and they’re almost always connected to the internet.
It means while you design a mobile website, giving a thought to the current scenario is essential. Users’ locations vary quickly; similarly, their attentiveness and internet connectivity fluctuate. According to the Interaction Design Foundation, constantly changing context means the users will prefer short and simple interactions on mobile. However, it doesn’t mean that they will never have prolonged, complex interactions but will be rare.”
- Integration with Phone Functions
Designers have to give up a lot when they’re developing a website for mobile. However, mobile devices have a lot of bonus features that can really enhance your website’s user experience. Integration of your website with various phone functions like direct calling and messaging, location, camera, and voice controls can offer faster interactions with your website.
It can also help users with more tailored functionalities to improve their experience in various ways that desktop websites cannot.
Now that we know the differences between a mobile and a desktop website let’s just move to the next section, i.e., the importance of mobile websites for your business. Here we go!
How is Mobile Site Important for Your Business?
You might have developed the world’s best marketing strategy, the most enticing website design, and the most robust audience that supports your brand but still not be able to make the desired sales from your business. That is because you don’t have a mobile website that is currently the most critical requirement of your business.
As we all know, most of the website traffic these days comes from mobile devices and not desktops. Therefore it is vital to develop a mobile website to increase conversions. Below are the reasons why your business needs a mobile website:
- Increased Mobile Phone Users
In the early days, the need for a mobile website was not that prominent because smartphones were not that famous. Mobile devices were too small to browse any website efficiently, and people used desktops for browsing. However, as time passed, mobile websites became increasingly popular.
Research shows that approximately 95% of adults aged 18-49 own a smartphone and 15% of them solely rely on smartphones to browse the internet. As time goes on, this number is going to increase rapidly. These stats show that developing a mobile website that is compatible with both android and iOS is very important for your business to grow.
- Enhanced Customer Experience
An easy-to-use, attractive website will help businesses retain their customers in the long run. This is the simplistic way to look at a mobile website’s importance, but it’s accurate anyhow. There is a lot more to cherish in a website design, but visitors will make their opinions look at the website’s design. Likewise, if a website is confusing, difficult to navigate, it will convince your visitor to go elsewhere.
Mobile websites are developed especially to attract customers and to provide them with an enhanced user experience and that too on smaller screens. With mobile websites, your customers would not have the hassle of scrolling around to find the taskbars, buttons, and menu. Therefore, it is essential to have a website that is highly responsive and adjusts to any screen size.
- Faster Download and Website Load Speed
In this digital era, website speed is paramount regardless of high graphics and the number of web pages. Moreover, with mobile phones whose processing speed keeps increasing, a mobile website is highly crucial for any business’s success.
If your website is only designed to function well on a desktop, it will take a longer time to load on a mobile device. This may cause website visitors to lose interest and navigate away to your competitors’ websites. Research shows that users are most likely to abandon the page if it takes more than 10 seconds to load.
A mobile website loads quickly on smartphones as it is coded that way. Therefore, if you have a business website, ensure to optimize it for mobile devices as well.
- Improved Search Engine Ranking
What is the ultimate goal of developing a website? It is to make your website reach your target audience. Right? When people search for the product/service you offer, you obviously want your website to appear first on the search results. Being the first opportunity to entice your customers, you have a better chance to convert website clicks into long-term clients.
Earlier Google used to rank the websites based on the desktop version. However, as the mobile browsers kept increasing rapidly, the search engine too moved from desktop to mobile-friendly websites. Therefore, to rank on search engines and grow your business, a mobile-friendly website is a must.
- Business Becoming More Competitive
Although mobile-friendly websites are a trend and necessity these days, a massive portion of businesses still have desktop-only websites. Studies show that only around 24% of 1 Million most popular businesses have a mobile website. And small business research observed that within the USA, Australia, Canada, and the UK, only around 30% of the small businesses have a mobile compatible website. Therefore, having a mobile website makes your business more competitive.
Mobile Website – A Necessity or Not?
There still exist a lot of computers, laptops, and therefore, the need for a classic website design is not going anywhere soon – and even after so much hype of mobile websites, desktop websites are never going to vanish off completely. However, mobile devices are a preferred medium for website browsers, and therefore your mobile websites need to be ready for action.
Here, at WeDoWebApps LLC, we know exactly what a responsive website design is. This means we are experts at developing websites that can function well on any device it is being operated on. We stand ready to offer you the best responsive web design services to help you gain immense popularity and become the best in the industry.