Summary: An interesting article that provide some sort of check list to ask you if your website has or implements any of these points that ensure it is working well for Mobile devices.
Article: As you know we are keen campers here at Eightyone Design and one of the joys of camping is that you can go away on a whim. Is the sun shining this morning? Well let’s go camping then!
We often ring the campsite on route, to ensure we can get a pitch. This involves using our phone to go online, finding their website and giving them a call. So far this has never proved a problem, however this weekend on route to North Devon I logged onto a major campsite chains website only to find the main telephone number they had situated on every page was an image and I couldn’t click on it to call them direct. I know I sound like a petulant kid, but we are now in a ‘touch it and it’ll work’ age and it is so frustrating when websites don’t work as easily as they should. I’ve contacted many smaller campsites who’s websites usability is great on mobile devices so why can’t a major chain sort their site out?
Anyway enough of this rant. Let’s turn negatives into positives. Your website is being increasingly viewed on on mobile devices, here are my top 5 basics tips for ensuring your site works:
1. HTML phone numbers, not images
One of the beauties of logging onto a website from a phone is that you don’t have to fiddle around with remembering and typing in the digits of the phone number to call someone. You can simply click the telephone number and away you go. Using images instead of html has always been a design vs usability issue. But I’m afraid in this day and age an image instead of a html telephone number, email address or url is just not good enough.
2. Clear and Easy Navigation
Confusing navigation is bad enough when you are viewing it on a lovely 27″ screen from the comfort of your home, let alone when you are on the go with a dodgy 3G connection. Small buttons and fiddly fly out menus do not work well on mobile devices so steer clear.
3. Quick to Load
If I’m using my phone to browse the web, then 9 times out of 10, I’m probably using my 3G connection. This means I’m browsing at a snails pace so If the web page is slow to load then I’ll move on to more interesting things. Make sure your website code is clean and therefore quicker to download.
4. Don’t be Flash!
Not all mobile devices are Flash friendly so if your entire website is made in Flash then users viewing it on these devices will not be able to see your website at all. That is ridiculous! If a client is desperate to have an entirely Flash website then always ensure there is an alternate html version of the site as well. The same applies to Flash headers and banners, make sure there alternate a html content for those without flash.
5. Vertical Scrolling
On my mobile device I want to scroll vertically not horizontally, this confuses my phone and me! Also, I don’t want to endlessly scroll so If I have to do so, there are probably issues with your website content which should be revised.
This list is not extensive by any means and is merely the basics to ensure your website works on mobile devices. If you have the budget then the best option is to have a separate mobile version of your website. Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury so for now I would ensure that the main site works on mobile devices.