When it comes to reaching your market, there all sorts of tried and tested methods available, with new ones making their way down the pipeline every month. We have the internet and assorted social media platforms, and we can reach our markets via visual, audio, and textual content on various mobile devices.
With all the tools we have at our fingertips, it would be easy for businesses to assume that they can continue as they’ve have been doing and they’ll be set for the future, but that kind of thinking simply isn’t going to cut it.
We have increasingly found different ways to talk to each other and store, transmit, and share information. The last 3 generations alone have witnessed the evolution of technology on an accelerated scale: from room-sized computing machines to tiny smartwatches, from vinyl records to digital music files, and from rotary telephones to smartphones that can also function as a mobile office.
We learned to think differently with the technology we have.
The word “mobile” can just be taken to mean ‘movable.’ Agile. Portable. Go back again to the evolution of tech: desktops to laptops to tablets, rotary dial up, to cellphones, to smartphones…there’s a trend. Think smaller screen-space. Think lighter.
Now we need to think differently from the technology we have.
Being mobile friendly isn’t just resizing the screen for regular-sized computers and shrinking it down. It’s seeing and presenting information in a different way. The mindset here is a whole way of presenting interaction. And it is a mindset — you’ll have to consider being as clear and concise as you can be in the limited space you have to work with.
This is something that asks for design skills and contextual presentation. For example: how much information can you present and still be understood? How can you make the move from big screen to small screen without losing your website’s branding?
New-think: You respond to changes, not merely react to them.
Technological advances and the internet helped use do certain things faster: communication and business have shown the biggest changes, and now the trend isn’t stopping. The impediment is not in the technology, but in the mindset of the people most in a position to leverage it for their own purposes, which in our case, are entrepreneurs and business owners.
We have our specific markets. We have our ways to reach them, whether it’s ads, newsletter, RSS feeds or a website. And now the mobile trend is going strong and growing steadily. We can use this momentum to teach ourselves to think differently and move with the changes.
We can reach our markets through new platforms, but if we use the same mindset, think the same way, then something is lost in the move: the attempt won’t be able to realize its goal as well as intended. Using a new thing in the same old way molds the actions into forming what is expected.
When change happens, learning helps us understand and adjust from old expectations to continuous education and improvement. If you don’t learn, how can you expand your business and adjust your way of thinking to support that growth? With a smaller screen size, for example, you need to be able to unpack the information your customers want without losing context or control of the user experience.
Responsive websites and responsive mindsets.
One very good example of the responsive mindset can be pulled from SEO and search algorithms. You want to make it to the front page of search results, you can still do so without going all out and perhaps expending more effort, labor and money than you need on mobile support. You can extend yourself into making a responsive website.
Mobile e-commerce is the vibrant new frontier, and using it to build your business up is necessary now, whether you’re operating in an established, mature market (for example, Europe and the US) or gaining ground in an emerging one (the rest of the world, practically.) Think of the possibilities:
- Have you ever checked how much of your traffic comes from PC’s and how much comes from mobile devices?
- The percentage of smartphone owners worldwide is expected to hit over 2 billion in 2016.
A website is an integral presence to making your business accessible. Brick-and-mortar can have the information their customers need to make a decision, or to get directions — for e-businesses, the same thing. You want to let them find you, you need to let them find you — and let them find you using the tools they’re most comfortable using: personal computer, tablet, smartphone, whatever.
The expected number of smartphone users is expected to be a quarter of the total world population by next year. In three years, that figure could be closer to a third of the global population. That’s a very big market, and all you need to do is to ensure the people in your niche can find you, using their mobile devices seamlessly and with the least amount of hiccups possible. Responsive design helps you stay in the forefront of search results and strengthens market reach.
Going back: unresponsive website to market needs means less responsive to user needs — and with higher expectations and shorter attention spans, consumers won’t wait for you to get with the program — not with the overabundance of choices out there.
To make your website accessible.
The whole goal rests on user experience. Yes, it can mean painstaking work, but that’s part of the deal in delivering seamless, quality service — nothing must get in the way of your market’s getting to YOU. Good design, responsive lay-out– and of course, good content.
NUANCE MATTERS: No direct translations
A desktop is not a mobile device. Simplify, simplify. Easy to read fonts, clear buttons (the better to avoid mis-tappings) and simple iterations of your logo and colors are better in such small spaces.
DETAILS MATTER: Cookie-cutter won’t cut it.
You work to establish a brand, don’t lose it. You can incorporate your website’s familiar colors or identity without having to resort to a generic “Well, this is us!” design on mobile.
EASY ON THE EYES
Small screens space dictate design limits. Respect these limits by using clean, clear design (no clutter) and easy-to-read-content. Test it repeatedly to see how it really looks and acts.
WALL OF TEXT = NO
On mobile devices, people tend to read in small, short bursts. Think of where they can pull out their devices — on subways, break times, meals. Present your content accordingly. Don’t let them exhaust their eyes reading on small screens for too long.
Use responsive design elements
- Resizing pictures can go wrong in translation — your website design team should be able to use the CSS code to make sure that images don’t get distorted or take up the whole screen.
- Clear navigation makes for better user experience — test on various devices, don’t stick just to smartphones.
- Think of mobile design as an entity in its own right, not your website’s tag-along littler cousin.
The mobile ecommerce market is enormous — functionality is one of the key ways to keep people on your website, and re-visiting it. Get used to thinking in mobile-use patterns, not just design, layout, and fonts but in touch-tech thinking, data-consumption habits, and smartphone-user habits.
Nobody ever really gets it perfect on the first try, so let tweaking and reworking be a part of continuous improvement, along with field-testing and getting user-feedback. Get the user’s point of view so you can provide the best experience possible.
There is a difference between sticking to the principles that makes your business successful, and doing things the same way because you’re uncomfortable with adapting to new tech. Just as websites need to adjust to the upward trend of mobile e-commerce demands, mindsets need to adjust with new modes of communication. It’s all part of growth and renewal.
- How To Ensure Your Website Is Completely Mobile Friendly (Bluebridge)
- 20 Mobile Analytic Tools For Mobile Websites and App
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