We get a lot of requests from our clients about making their site “mobile friendly”. It’s important that your organization is effectively represented on mobile devices, but what does that mean really?

Of course we get the “easy button” question… “Well, can’t we just convert it to mobile?” The answer is no… well, sort of. Most well-built sites will render just fine on mobile browsers. For example, here is our standard site on an iPhone…

Wood Street iPhone Site Simulation

iPhone Site Simulation

As you can see, only a portion of the entire page is visible. However, with some simple vertical and horizontal scrolling using the touch screen you can easily find the areas of the site that you need. So, you are probably fine right? Not necessarily…

Sure, the user can get to the content they want with a little extra moving around, but what if they don’t know what they want? What if they have an idea of what they want but aren’t specifically sure what that is?

This is the real issue with the mobile experience. What does the user want, or more importantly, what do you want them to want? What is the desired action? How do you want this mobile user to interact with your site?

With mobile, the experience is much different than it is on a PC. These users are on the move. They are busy and need information quickly. Their goals are often very different than they might be on a PC. The good news is that on mobile you can cut a lot of “stuff” out of your site. The bad news is that you need to know what “stuff” to cut out.

We’ve put together this survey that we hope will get you thinking about the mobile experience and how you can use it successfully…

Question One: What are the calls to action on your web site and how well do they perform?

For this, you will need to look at your site statistics. We use Google Analytics. You want to see what areas of your site are currently working for you and how well your site is converting traffic to sales.

You can set up Goal Conversion tracking with Google Analytics. With this you could set up a goal similar to this… Landing Page à Contact Page à Contact Thank You Page. If a user follows these then you know this is a goal conversion.

With this you can see what works and what does not. There is no need to mimic what doesn’t work on your mobile site; it’s a waste of time and money. For you to succeed on mobile, you need to have targeted goals that you can achieve.

Think about how this could work on mobile, how you can streamline things and get to the most immediate form of a call to action.

Question Two: What information would someone on a mobile device need from you?

Again, these are people on the move, they need information and they want it 5 minutes ago. What information would they need on the go? Do they have to get right to that brilliant white paper or glowing customer testimonial right away? Probably not.

They are looking for the essentials…

  1. Sales Contacts
  2. Location and General Contact
  3. Pricing, etc

Whatever you do, don’t get in their way. Fancy doesn’t play well here – you need to think usability.

Question Three: Are there any tools or extras on your site that mobile users would also need?

You might have a product gallery, a Blog, or maybe some sort of calculator or estimator on your site. Some of these tools or added extras were probably added to give your site depth or some stickiness.

Some of these tools could be essential – essential in the sense that your customer needs these tools on the go. Or maybe there’s something that mobile users would use, even if it is just for fun, and it can further promote your brand.

So, if these tools or add-ons are deemed to be essential, how can they be repurposed for mobile? Will they work as is on a mobile device or do they need to be redesigned or reconfigured for the space and mobile browser requirements? Do they work with a touch screen?

Question Four: Are there any databases integrated with your site?

You might have a member database or product database. Is this information necessary for the mobile user? Some of this information may be necessary on your mobile site just as it is on your web site.

Most times you can probably just make some adjustments on the interface for your mobile site to bring in certain bits of data. It could be that only certain parts of the data are necessary on mobile, whereas the full data would be needed on the web site.

As we mentioned before, it matters in terms of what you want them to be doing on your mobile site. Do you want them searching through tons of data, and if so, will they? Or do you want them to get in touch with you right away and save the extended engagement for the web site?

Again, your web site will most likely render just fine on a mobile browser. But as you can see, this is only part of the story. You really want to guide the user. To do this, you need to know the user, the medium and your desired response.

So how are you feeling about mobile now? Let us know in the comments below…

Jon-Mikel Bailey – Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

5 Responses to “How Does Your Web Site Look on Mobile?
  • How Does Your Web Site Look on Mobile?…

    With mobile, the experience is much different than it is on a PC. These users are on the move. They are busy and need information quickly. Their goals are often very different than they might be on a PC. The good news is that on mobile you can cut a lo…

  • Good point brought up by Blue Sky Factory’s Chris Penn. You can also use tools like http://browsershots.org/ and other simulators and emulators to see what you site will look like in various web and mobile browsers.

  • Good article John and explains to most business folks the basics of mobile websites. I loved your presentation at the Frederick Chamber New Media Conference and hope to see more mobile articles here.

    Also wanted to see if your readers were interested in checking out the new goMobi product thet Network Solutions released for anyone who wants to start a mobile site http://www.networksolutions.com/mobile-website/index.jsp of course for more customization they should use Wood Street.

  • Great article. This should be given to restaurants since their websites are the ones most of us view on our mobile phones… and NONE of them follow these rules. Appreciate the great content.

    • Great point. Restaurants often have an opportunity to be innovators when it comes to using new technology for marketing. Unfortunately, very few take advantage of this.

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