With the increased hype surrounding mobile friendly websites, there’s the obvious problem of knowing what a mobile friendly website even is.
First: What a Mobile Friendly Website Isn’t
Often, mobile friendly websites are confused with a similar structure called “responsive websites”. Although all mobile friendly websites are responsive, not all responsive websites are mobile friendly.
When a website is responsive, it means that a website’s width will adjust to the browser/screen size. However, that’s all it means, and while that’s a good start, it’s not all that’s included in a mobile friendly website.
5 Defining Factors of a Mobile Website
1. Mobile friendly websites have larger text/buttons.
Because of the nature of using your fingers to navigate, one of the many signs of a mobile friendly website is being able to cleanly select links on a page. Usually this is done by having buttons or pictures represent links rather than text. When text is used you have to make sure you’re giving ample space for a person’s thumb or finger to click on your link, otherwise, it’s not very friendly to the mobile user.
2. Mobile friendly websites have large navigation panes.
It’s common in responsive websites to have their navigation bar shrunk down to an incredibly small size in order to show on a phone or tablet. A true mobile friendly website will include an icon of some sort clearly offering the navigation menu to appear when clicked. When in use, the navigation menu will take up the entire screen in order to be large enough to press with ease on a phone or tablet.
3. Mobile friendly websites do not have “pinch to zoom” sections on their website.
We’ve all had to zoom in on our phones before when text is too small to read, or the fill in form is too small to click. Mobile friendly websites remove this problem by having each item on the website enlarged and moved around as the screen size shrinks in order to have every item easily accessible.
4. Mobile friendly websites will not require software uncommon to mobile devices.
This is the most complicated of problems (and thankfully the least seen). The most crucial example is having flash on a website. Most mobile devices will not play flash video and the last thing you want a mobile visitor to find is that they will have to save your webpage to watch it later on their computer, which they will most likely not do.
5. Mobile friendly websites have short loading times.
Although all websites need to load quickly, it is especially true for mobile websites. The problem has come about because as our computer displays have become larger and more fine and our internet connections have gotten faster, it’s naturally slower for a mobile device trying to load the same website. Not only that, but people browsing the web on their mobile device tend to be more impatient. Because of this, it’s crucial to have a website with fast loading times in order to not loose your mobile visitors.
- Mobile friendly websites have larger text/buttons.
- Mobile friendly websites have large navigation panes.
- Mobile friendly websites no not have “pinch to zoom” sections on their website.
- Mobile friendly websites will not require software uncommon to mobile devices.
- Mobile friendly websites have short loading times.
I hope this helps explain what is being emphasized in the Mobile Friendly craze, and maybe even helpful to narrow down some changes you might need to make on your website.
If you decide that you’re needing to revamp your website and are looking for where to start, you can contact me for a free evaluation on how much it will cost to make your website mobile friendly and give your website a fresh look.
You can also read previous posts I have written about mobile friendly websites with the links below.