7 Major Pitfalls for Mobile Websites and How to Avoid Them for Yours

Today, companies must optimize for three different user experiences: laptop/desktop, tablet, and mobile. Morgan Stanley analysts predict that more users will reach the Internet on their mobile device than on their computers by 2015 (or sooner). Take Google’s latest changes to its algorithm into account — it’s trying to better understand/produce answers for long-tail search queries (common to mobile users) — and you’ll understand the need for a quality mobile site and landing pages.

If you’re making any of the following mistakes on your mobile site, you’re leaving business on the table.

Your Images Aren’t Scalable

multiple devices
Image via Flickr by mattcornock

The images on your website should change size according to the device they’re being viewed on. If your images aren’t scalable, they won’t fit the screen view and they’ll affect text and flow. You can fix this problem by using responsive design.

Your Mobile Site is Identical to Your Website

Yes, content is important, but when you shrink the size of a screen from 15 inches to 3 inches, your content becomes less valuable once your mobile site is a microscopic version of your website.

Pinching and scrolling isn’t what a mobile user wants to do when trying to get information from your site; they want quick and easy navigation. Analyze and examine your most popular pages and most requested information, then create a design that makes it easily accessible in a size the human eye can see.

Your Mobile Site is Content Heavy

Not only does a content-heavy mobile site make it difficult for the user to find the information he or she wants, it’s also visually unappealing. It makes your business look dated if you have a wall of text, as a stunning visual presentation is becoming more of the norm in mobile and desktop design.

Your Page Load Times are Unbearable

If it takes your pages more than five seconds to load, three-quarters of users will abandon your site. It’s not only frustrating for the user, but it drives up costly data charges, too. Optimize your pages for mobile so they load faster. Long load times are also noticed and tracked by Google and can negatively impact your search standings.

Your Mobile Site Doesn’t Have Images

Piggy-backing on long load times, images may take a while to load on some mobile devices. For this reason, you must have alternative text available to fill the spaces. Here’s how you can write effective alternative text for images.

Your Layout Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Two columns might look great on a computer screen, but due to limited space on a phone, they just don’t work as well as a one-column design on mobile. Additionally, make sure that your layout is clean and clear, avoiding cluttered coding at all costs.

Your Menus Aren’t Mobile-Friendly

Just as one column works better than two, some menu structures are preferable to others in a mobile website. Avoid long horizontal menus and vertical menus on multi-column pages. You should design your navigation with fingers in mind. Small buttons and menu selections will make the user extremely frustrated.

Creating a mobile site is essential to your business. Keeping the user experience in mind, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls in design.

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By Jon Correll

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