With more people turning to hand-held devices to find phone numbers, look up directions, check a score or watch a movie, it's only a matter of time before they'll be logging on to your website wirelessly as well. In fact, 3.9 million Canadians already surf the internet from their cellphones and that number is expected to increase by 5% by the end of this year. More people are firing up their cellphones to view your website and your website's real estate is decreasing. Although stationary computers' screensizes have been steadily increasing and now exceed 14 inches, cellphone screens range between 2 to 4 inches.
This means it's time to start looking at the smaller picture...
The User Experience
It is just as important to control a user's viewing experience on a hand-held device as on a computer or laptop. Power up your site on your cellphone and take the grand tour. How is your site displayed? Is the content legible? Is your navigation usable or do you have to work just to click that link? Since websites have been designed for a larger area, they do not translate well to smaller, hand-held devices. Websites which rely heavily on advanced coding languages or outdated web standards may render incorrectly on many devices, while Flash Animation goes unsupported by many hand-helds. To take back control of your mobile site consider a separate page which is only displayed on wireless devices. Cut back on unnecessary page elements and add a user friendly navigation with large, easy to use links.
Mirror sites automatically redirect mobile users to a sub-domain containing a simplified version of your website. These sites tend to contain condensed information about your company, contact information, directions and services. By adding a link to the full version of the site users will still have the option to access the rest of the website.
With such a dramatically smaller screen, content heavy pages can be overwhelming, making pages difficult to read and increase loading times. When writing content geared towards mobile users only include essential information but be careful when crafting new content. Don't trim to much of the content, otherwise your user may have to look else where for the big picture.
Let's talk images
The bigger the image, the more bandwidth is required to load the image, the longer the picture takes to load. Many people making their own updates often take pictures from their camera, uploading them cold turkey to their site. With pictures from digital cameras easily exceeding 10 inches, wireless users may decide not to wait around for a page hung up on a slow loading photo. The solution? Picnik.com, and other similar sites, offer online photo editing tools, allowing you to easily resize or crop your photos, creating smaller file sizes with reduced load times. Additionally, removing unrelated pictures from a page will help to reduce the user's wait.
With wireless web browsing becoming increasingly popular, now is the time to invest in your website's wireless experience. To find out more about mobile browsing contact Csek Creative.