Mobile devices are overtaking the desktop as the primary means of accessing the Internet. Mobile web traffic increased by 78% over the last year and is expected to increase by 300% within the next four years, by which time it will account for more than half of all web traffic in the western world. In the US mobile digital media consumption is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop at 42%. Can you afford to ignore mobile users?Designing for Mobile.
One of the biggest challenges that brands face is ensuring that their website is accessible to both mobile and desktop users. You can be fairly confident that most desktop users, at least in western markets, have a display of at least 1280x1024 or bigger, with the most popular sizes actually being 1366x768 (27.2%) and 1920x1080 (13.4%) according to StatCounter. Mobile devices, however, have a much wider range of displays, processors and browser capabilities. An iPad can handle a traditional desktop website, but someone using a low-end mobile phone with a small display and a slow mobile connection will struggle with a bloated, desktop-designed page.
If your site takes a long time to load, or requires an excessive amount of unintuitive navigation to get to important content, then you will lose that user. This is why it is so important to design your website from the ground up to support mobile devices.Responsive Web Design.
During the early days of the mobile web, it was common for companies to maintain completely seperate desktop and mobile versions of a website on different domains, designating the mobile type with a m.website.com subdomain was considered best practice at the time. This was OK for small, simple websites, but was problematic for larger scale websites with content which needed to be updated frequently. For this reason, modern websites have moved away from the multi-website approach for addressing mobile devices and instead use what is now called responsive web design (RWD).
Responsive web design is the technical term for a website that is designed in such a way that it will dynamically resize and reorganise itself to optimally fit the screen size and orientation of the device from which it is accessed. Responsive design also changes the layouts and navigation systems depending on the actual type of mobile device used, whether this is a larger display iPad Pro or an iPhone 7 Plus mobile phone. This is handled using media queries to switch in and out css styling and content attributes depending on device screen widths, type and orientations. The process has now evolved from responsive web design adapting graceful degredation from 2009 to true mobile first, progressive enhancement best-practice development protocols in 2017.Mobile SEO.
Google announced its algorithm change called Mobilegeddon on April 21, 2015. It placed a lot of importance on the users mobile experience and penalised websites that did not cater properly for them. The position of websites that are mobile friendly are boosted if the search is originated from a mobile device. In short if your website does not render properly on mobile devices, then your search ranking will suffer.
It is worth future-proofing your website. Mobile is the future and businesses that embrace it will be in a good position to access the ever-growing pool of mobile users. If you have a website that is outdated and it does not incorporate responsive web design, or you still have seperate websites for your desktop and mobile visitors then it may be time to think about designing a new website that is mobile-friendly using the latest mobile-first responsive techniques.
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