According to JP Morgan, in 2012 mobile Smart Phone sales will outstrip all PC sales worldwide. In addition, several recent surveys and market analyses show that the mobile internet usage is going to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014 – if not sooner.
What are we to make of this?
Basically, your website needs to be ready now to address where your customers and potential clients are already going. Your site must be able to effectively address the mobile market!
There are a number of competing issues when developing for mobile sites. Different devices, different capabilities, different screen sizes and resolutions, all have impacts on designing a solution.
According to Mongoose Metrics, a tracking and analysis firm, only 9 percent of sites are ready for mobile in 2012. The primary consideration with mobile solutions tends to be enabling better usability and – for ecommece sites – conversion.
Another study by Compuware, a software and services provider, shows that 57 percent of users will not recommend a company with a bad mobile site and 40 percent of users will visit a competitor’s site rather than using a poorly optimized mobile site. Obviously, the case for usability and conversion as primary concerns in the drive to take websites mobile is easy to make.
Consider you own experiences. Have you tried to surf using your smart phone for just basic contact info on a vendor? Have you found yourself doing the 2-finger dance zooming and moving screens just to find a legible contact page? Was the navigation even legible or usable?
The complexity of multiple formats for different user experiences based on their platform of choice is not only a design and implementation issue, but a maintenance nightmare. Further, Google penalizes duplication of website data in search engine optimization (SEO) that typically will occur using different formats and effectively different websites to address mobile issues. Recently, announced clear guidelines and recommendations on mobile SEO dictate that all websites be able to address any device at any size. In short, Google recommends you go with a responsive design when possible, otherwise you can use device-specific HTML but Google asks you to take certain steps to communicate when you are using device-specific HTML.
Fortunately, responsive web design — the leading solution to the mobile usability challenge — not only addresses the user experience for all devices but is also beneficial to SEO.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Consider the benefits:
- Customers or potential clients can interact with a site regardless of the device they’re using instead of having to choose between viewing the whole page illegibly or one small part of it that’s disorienting.
- Scrolling up and down the screen on a SmartPhone is far better than the 2-finger dance you typically have to go through.
- Improved usability leads to improved conversion rates.
- SEO is not damaged.
- Maintenance of the entire website strategy is greatly simplified.
- Your site is ready for any new devices.
- For those who act now you have a leg up on your competition.
The usability benefits are obvious: Customers can interact with a site regardless of the device they’re using instead of having to choose between viewing the whole page illegibly or one small part of it that’s disorienting. Scrolling up and down the screen on SmartPhone is far better than the frustrating 2-finger dance you typically have to go through. Where usability improves, decrease bounce rates and increased conversions are usually not far behind.
Responsive Website Design Benefits SEO
SEO offers another great reason to consider responsive website design: links. The alternative to Responsive Website Design is to develop multiple sites and/or multiple formats to address all the platforms. This requires separate development and maintenance issues and related costs. In addition, each version requires specific links, redirects and other items to get the right version of your website on their chosen device. A Responsive Website requires only one set of links and only one platform to maintain. This is the clear choice of Google and will prevent penalties for duplicate content and other issues. Plus, the valuable link equity you have built up in your website is not discounted or spread over multiple versions of your website.
With so few websites addressing the issue of multiple platforms, early implementers of the technology stand to get a competitive advantage by going to Responsive Websites.
Want to see a Responsive Website in action? Simply move the lower right hand corner of this page to the left and see how the site conforms to the space available. Move far enough to the left and you will see how a Responsive Website looks on a smart phone.
Contact us for details as to how we can help you get a leg up!