You’ve decided to start a website for your business and now you’re considering design. While color schemes and fonts are important, the best web design improvement you can make to your site is to make it mobile-friendly. More and more customers are using their smartphones and tablets to access the Internet, including business information. If mobile users come to your site and can’t access parts of it, they will move on to your competitors.
There are two ways to create a mobile-friendly site. The first is to redirect users accessing your site from a smaller screen to a new, mobile-specific site. This is an older method and businesses have found it to be less effective because it gives them two sites to worry about updating and maintaining. For a small business, the cost associated with running two different sites is generally not beneficial.
The second way is to give your site a responsive design. This means the website changes depending on the size of the screen being used to access it. You can see responsive designs in action from your computer by changing the size of your browser. As the size of your browser changes, the website will change. Visit some of your favorite websites and see responsive web design in action.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design rids businesses of the hassle of maintaining two separate websites. However, the code to set up a responsive design can be a bit time-consuming for someone who isn’t familiar which may mean hiring a professional web designer. While a professional web designer may seem expensive for a small business, the amount of mobile customers you might be losing can make up the difference.
The Rise of Mobile
Smart phone use has increased over the past decade at an alarming rate. A 2013 United Nations study revealed that more people in the world have access to cell phones than access to toilets. An eMarketer study showed that 12 percent of American’s media consumption time is spent on their cell phones. Think about how much time Americans spend consuming media a day – 12 percent is a large amount of that. The most staggering statistic might be that 90 percent of mobile restaurant searches converted and more than half converted within the hour, reported xAd and Telemetrics. With all of those numbers on the rise, you can see that the mobile market is not a spot for any business to ignore.
How to Design Responsively
Besides the technical code that makes responsive design work, there are some design principles that you can implement or understand to make designing your website easier. The most important is to keep your design simple. Simple designs are easier to adjust for smaller screens. You can also build your website thin and vertical, instead of having as many pages. Don’t plan on using a lot of text because most people won’t read it. Keep the images to a minimum as well, though, unless they resize well. The key to responsive design – and design these days in general – is to communicate your message with as little content as possible. Focus on color schemes and get creative (but readable) with your fonts.
The mobile market is huge, especially for small businesses. Your potential customers are spending more and more time on their smart phones. Even though the initial cost of hiring a web designer may seem high, you can’t afford NOT to have a mobile-friendly site.