What is a mobile-friendly website and why is it important?

Responsive mobile with icons

How do you access the internet? The chances are, you use a smartphone as much, or even more than your PC or laptop. According to research, recent figures suggest that over 70% of users access the internet using a smartphone or tablet device, with only 8% using a desktop computer.

Whichever business sector, your customers are just as likely to look for your website when they are on the train, in the garden, or on the sofa as they are when they are sitting behind a desk.

But it is not just about giving your users a good experience when they visit your website using a mobile device, Google also uses mobile-friendliness as an SEO factor. The more friendly it is to use on your phone, the more visible it is likely to be on search engines.

So, if you want your website to work for you 24/7 and you want to improve your chances of ranking well in Google, it has to be mobile-friendly and work anywhere, any time, on any device.

What is a mobile-friendly website?

A mobile-friendly website has been designed with both the desktop and mobile user in mind. Whether visitors are using a small mobile or a large desktop, if they are visiting a mobile-friendly website, they will still get a good viewing experience.

Find out if your website is mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

What is a responsive website?

Responsive web design is the term used to describe websites that automatically adapt to fit the device it is being viewed on. Websites designed to be ‘responsive’ mean no matter the size device your customers are using to access your website – they will still get a good user experience and therefore a positive impression of your business.

Making your website responsive is an important first step in having a mobile-friendly website, but it isn’t the only criteria. You also have to consider the content – what works on a large desktop computer, may not work so well on a small smartphone.

How do I make my web content mobile-friendly?

Large images and videos may make your website look good, but they increase the download speed of a page. Pages that take a long time to load could result in your visitor leaving your website quickly. This is especially true when this content is being viewed on a smaller device. Our advice:

  • Only include relevant content and keep to the point so pages aren’t too long. You don’t want users scrolling long pages of needless content.
  • Avoid lots of large images and videos that will slow things down and don’t use anything that won’t play on mobile devices such as Flash 
  • Avoid detailed images. Detailed images may look great on a desktop, but will be completely lost on a smaller device. Keep images simple, clear and to a minimum. 
  • Opitimise images for the web and post them in the right size. (Use a photo editing application like Photoshop and use ‘save image for web’).
  • Avoid using lots of different fonts across the site and choose your fonts wisely. The wrong font can affect download speed. Google Fonts, for example, download faster than Adobe Typekit.
  • Remove any unnecessary scripts you have running to help reduce the download times. On a desktop with good WiFi, this process takes microseconds; on your mobile phone out and about with only a 4G connection, however, it could take a lot longer to build a page running lots of large scripts.
  • Optimise code – compress and minify CSS & JavaScript, which means stripping out any unnecessary code.

Is your website design mobile-friendly?

A responsive website, with well thought out content is important when designing a mobile-friendly website, but the user-experience is also a big consideration. Think smart when you are briefing or designing your website – make sure it will look good and work well on a smartphone but keep your layout simple.

  • Links and buttons should be finger-friendly for touch screens. The best size is around 48 pixels – which is just slightly smaller than the average finger to make navigation easy.
  • Use simple fonts and keep the body text at 14-16 points for readability.
  • A simple column layout avoids the need to pan left or right and give users the ability to zoom in if they need to.
  • Don’t complicate things with hovers and mouseovers – they don’t work on touch screens.
  • Use colours to compliment content and aid user navigation. You can check if colours are have enough contrast using various internet tools

All Oxford Web websites are built to be mobile-friendly as standard. Whether your visitors are using a phone, tablet or desktop computer, they will get the same quality user experience every time. This optimises their experience, making it more likely they will come back to your website or buy your products and services.

Get in touch

If you are looking for a simple marketing website or something more complex, like an eCommerce or events management website, we can help. Get in touch to start creating your attractive, easy to manage, secure website today.

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