When it’s time to re-design your website or create a new site, you are in the ideal position to take advantage of the opportunity to better reach your customers – and even to gain new customers that you might not have gained – by first creating an excellent mobile experience of your product and then extending that design to the desktop experience.
With all the talk lately about the mobile web and the desktop web, it starts to feel as though we have many different webs, different internets. But there is only one. There is one web, and you are on it if you have a website. The differences we have are mobile experiences and desktop experiences. What your website offers for those different experiences can make the difference in the perception of your product and in your relationships with your customers.
All of this sounds nice – mobile first, one web, mobile experiences. What does it mean, though? And why does it make any sense to do it?
What designing for a mobile experience first means:
- Focus. Taking advantage of the constraints of the mobile screen, give a critical look to your content and presentation. What do your customers need most? What do you have to offer that best meets that need? Make sure that thing, or those few things, are clear, easy to access, and obvious even on a mobile screen. The rest is a distraction.
- Embellish. The desktop is a different experience. Fill the screen in a way that best supports your focus. Here you can take advantage of the larger screen to brilliantly display larger graphics, side quotes, or extras that help people feel good about your product.
Why it makes sense to design for a mobile experience first:
- Global internet usage will more than double by 2015, and most of these users will be mobile.
- 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site.
- Mobile email opens increased 34% while opens on webmail and PCs decreased by 11% and 9.5% from April to September 2011.
- 61% of smartphone users make local searches from a device.
- 20% of telecom, 30% of restaurant, and 25% of movie searches are mobile.
- In 2012, the U.S. saw a 55% increase in smartphone subscriptions to make for 98 million smartphone subscribers, representing nearly 42% of all U.S. mobile users.
- Mentioning a location in an ad or search result can increase click-through rates up to 200%.
Now is the time to be ready. Reach your customers effectively, which means giving them what they need in the way they need it – quite often now a phone number, address, and clear product info all optimized for a mobile touchscreen.
The key is to focus and understand the needs of your customers. This is the first step in building a great web experience – mobile or otherwise.