Research shows the use of mobile devices to view websites continues to grow. In fact, Google believes more people will use a mobile device rather than a personal computer to view websites by 2013.Interesting stuff, you might think, but if you manage a business website it’s time to do more than just think. It’s time to get out your smartphone or tablet and take a critical look at how your business website shapes up in the mobile world.There are various reasons why your website might not cut it on mobile devices and in basic terms these reasons can be grouped into two main categories: browser issues and page load speed.Mobile browsersThere are a number of different browsers you can use to view the Internet – on your personal computer and on your mobile device – and this can cause issues.In the personal computer world, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple Safari are the major Internet browsers. Any experienced website developer will tell you the importance of testing websites in each browser (and older versions of Internet Explorer) to make sure the pages look and work as expected.There are also a plethora of mobile browsers in use. Popular ones include Opera, Google Android, Firefox Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile and of course Safari for the Apple iPhone and iPad. As with personal computer browsers, it’s important to test websites in the major mobile browsers to identify any issues.While most mobile browsers do a great job of displaying websites that have essentially been designed for the larger screens of personal computers, some websites can have issues. Here is a list of the common problems:
Abode Flash is not supported by Apple devices so if your business website uses Flash it’s not going to display all the content.
Unless your website uses large type, text is going to be an issue. People can zoom in to read the type but, particularly if your website has large blocks of text, this is likely to become annoying causing people to quit.
Similarly, navigating can be difficult, particularly if small text is used. Imagine what it’s like for us blokes with large fingers and thumbs!
Some website layout techniques don’t produce well on mobile devices.
Page load speedAlmost everyone in a developed country now has access to high-speed broadband Internet but many of us will remember the days when all we could access was dial-up. Pretty slow, right? Accessing the Internet on your mobile device via the network will generally be quicker than dial-up, but not a lot. That’s why business websites owners need to seriously consider page load speeds on mobile devices.Any content that will slow loading times needs to be looked at and, if it needs to be included, optimised to ensure faster loading speeds. Common problem areas are the use of large images or lots of images, bulky Flash files, videos and external media.What you can do about itYou have two options. The first is to optimise your website so that it performs well on both mobile devices and personal computers. The second is to develop a website specifically for mobile devices, which runs in conjunction with your website for personal computers.The second option is by far the best if you’re serious about providing a good visitor experience. And the good news is that it’s not as difficult or expensive as you might think. In fact, a mobile business website can be created for a few hundred dollars or even less.