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The World is Mobile. Is Your Website?

The world is mobile. There’s no denying it. New mobile devices are being launched fast and furious. They’re a part of our daily lives being used on the go and also at home. We use our phones and tablets to find information, communicate professionally and socially, and be entertained. According to a study conducted by Google, a third of all Canadians are now armed with smartphones and 79% of them never leave home without it. As one of your business’ main communications tools, have you considered what this means for your website? Add on tablet users and you could be missing out on a significant piece of the pie by not having a mobile support strategy. Do you know your options?

Tweaking an Existing Design

Your business already has a website? Great. Have you used it on your phone? Have a hard time triggering the right link? Do you have to pinch and zoom to read the text? Tweaking your existing site is the simplest thing to do that will help you step up your mobile game, requiring the minimum amount of work to have your site function at an OK level on a small device. Tweaking will likely not provide the best experience for mobile visitors but will require the smallest outlay of cash and time.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a relatively new concept where your site is aware of the size of the screen and responds accordingly. The layout is designed to be flexible – to grow and shrink as need be. You have one codebase so no need to worry about syncing content. It’s faster and cheaper to build and maintain than a separate mobile site and gives you more flexibility than just having one static layout. Retrofitting an existing website to be responsive can be a challenge so it’s something best tackled with a full redesign. Having only been around for the past 2.5 years, not every designer may yet be fully versed in responsive techniques.

Dedicated Mobile Site

A separate website that has been designed specifically with mobile users in mind will often provide a very different experience from your desktop site. A mobile site should have increased performance and will allow you to really tailor the experience for small screens. These sites can take a lot of research and analysis, which can be costly. You will also have to maintain two sites. URL management needs to be considered as well. Mobile users may stumble onto pages from the desktop version and vice-versa. How will your site handle it?

Native Apps

Building your own custom app could take advantage of device-specific features and allow you to hyper-focus the content. This should be the best possible experience for your mobile visitor but it will come with a price and or a lot of small businesses building an app is overkill. If you want a truly custom app it will require development from scratch. Even if you go with an app template it will still need third party approval before your app is available in stores. If your visitors use a range of devices you will need to develop one for each platform which can be costly and time consuming.

The Bottom Line

I believe that every business can benefit from having a strong mobile presence. Mobile devices are only going to continue to become more ingrained in our lives. Whether you have an existing web presence, are redesigning or are just getting started, there is a strategy that will benefit you – and more importantly – your visitors.