As mobile phones have become more sophisticated they’ve taken on more functions. No longer just for phone calls and text messages many people now run much of their lives via their mobile, using it as diary, camera, address book, entertainment centre and more.
And of course they’re used to access the internet. According to the UK’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom smartphones have now replaced laptops as the nation’s most popular device for accessing the web.
What this means for business
Traditional sites can be hard to use on the small screens of phones as you need to shuffle the screen around and zoom in to be able to read text clearly and access all parts of the page. Modern browsers make this easier with features like ‘pinch to zoom’ but this is really no substitute for a properly designed mobile site.
As people use their phones not just to access the web but also carry out their online shopping, businesses will lose out if their websites are hard to use on mobiles. If you have a website for your company it must be mobile friendly.
How to adapt
The easiest option might seem to be to have two sites, one for mobile and one for desktop, the site code can detect the device and serve up the appropriate version. The problem here is that it’s harder to maintain as you have to keep two sites up to date.
A good firm offering web hosting will be able to advise you on options, but many people maintain their sites using platforms like WordPress or Joomla. Most of these now have plug-ins that you can add to ensure that your site displays correctly on mobile devices. But even this is something of a temporary solution.
The best option for the long term is to use responsive design. This allows for mobile use right from the start, but also allows it to adapt to having a larger screen when one is available and display extra content accordingly. This approach also ensures that your site remains consistent however it’s viewed and will always look familiar to visitors even if they use multiple devices.
Whichever option you select to update your site it’s vital to act quickly or risk being left behind in the race to mobile devices.