The use of mobile technology has grown in unprecedented numbers over the past few years. In fact, more people will own a phone in 2020 than those who have electricity around the world. In the past two years alone, mobile surpassed desktop in:
- Number of users
- Number of Google searches
- Time spent consuming digital media
The average user was on their phone for more than 2.8 hours per day in 2016, which tells us one big thing: if your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on reaching a massive audience.
What Type of Mobile Website Do You Have?
There are three types of mobile websites:
- Mobile-Friendly: A website that works on a smaller screen or mobile device. Mobile-friendly sites aren’t necessarily designed for mobile devices, but still work for visitors from any handheld device.
- Responsive: Responsive mobile websites adjust to the window size that is being used to view your content. For example, if your website includes an image gallery of dogs that visit your clinic, a responsive mobile website may adjust the gallery size and layout if a user flips their phone horizontally.
- Adaptive: Similar to responsive, this style provides webmasters with a bit more control over how their content is viewed on mobile devices. Using our image gallery example, an adaptive site would automatically size images and content based on the specific device that is being used (i.e. iPad® vs. iPhone®).
Regardless of whether you have a responsive, adaptive, or mobile-friendly website, there are a few best practices that you can use to ensure that your content will be viewed optimally on all devices. Here are some tips on how you can ensure your vet clinic’s website is mobile-friendly.
Quick Tips for a Mobile-Friendly Website
1. Don’t Use Flash!
Many websites want to add plenty of attention-grabbing visuals in hopes of attracting more visitors. Flash is an older Adobe® software that adds moving visual elements to a website. However, this older technology can hurt your mobile website and actually deter visitors. Because search engines have a hard time indexing webpages that use Flash, it could directly impact your rankings in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Don't use Flash unless it's for an awesome Doggy Costume (Photo credit: MyDoggieDuds)
Why? Because iPhones make up about 40% of the smartphone market, and Apple products do not support Flash. Apple® has noted that it also does not intend to support it in the future. This represents a huge audience that may not be able to access your content if Flash is used on your mobile website.
2. Use Larger Font, Buttons and Images
For obvious reasons, font, images and button sizes matter a lot for mobile devices. Think about it:
- Mobile screens are much smaller
- Fingers are used to press small buttons
- Images need to be clear for the user
It’s recommended to set your font size to at least 14 pixels. Compare that to the font size from your desktop and it may seem too large, but it’s better than making your visitors zoom in just to read your content – or worse – leave your website for a competitor.
Buttons or links should be made larger to eliminate the chance that your visitors accidentally miss or hit the wrong button. Apple provides a helpful design guideline for mobile websites. They recommend to set button sizes at 44 pixels by 44 pixels.
Using high-resolution images are vital for mobile-friendly websites. The latest smartphones have high-definition screens that require twice the resolution compared to a desktop computer. Higher-resolution images helps avoid pixelated or hard-to-view images that might drive visitors away from your website.
3. Keep the Design Simple
A clean design that is easy-to-digest is crucial for a successful mobile website. Although design is important for desktop, it’s especially important for smaller devices, where content real estate is so limited.
A simple design keeps information easy to digest for visitors
Too many design elements or flashy imagery can distract visitors from finding the information they need, and can drastically impact the site's ability to load quickly (also known as page speed). Be sure that images are in smaller byte sizes to reduce this load time, and offer added value for the visitor.
4. Don’t Use Full-Screen Pop ups
Large or full-screen pop-ups can be very disruptive for users on a mobile device. While a big, attention-grabbing pop-up works for desktop users, Google can recognize that these interfere with mobile users and will penalize sites that use them.
Google’s Example of a Large Mobile Banner Advertisement
Instead of using a full-screen pop-up, it’s recommended that you use large mobile banner advertisement or implement app indexing. If you currently have a mobile app, this allows you to show content from the app on the search result pages (which is great for promoting your website).
5. Optimize for Page Speed
Page loading time is among the most important aspects of a successful website. Check out some of these statistics from KissMetric’s How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line infographic:
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of consumers will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
- 52% of consumers believe that quick load time is important to their site loyalty
Optimize for page speed to beat the competiton
Try using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This helpful tool has a ‘mobile’ section that rates each mobile page out of 100, and provides helpful tips on how to improve speed by identifying areas that may be slowing the page down.
6. Aim for Functionality and User Experience (UX)
User experience (UX) is a tough metric to measure for mobile-friendly websites. It’s typically subjective, and based on personal preference that can vary between users. However, there are a few UX best practices to consider with your mobile site. To start, make sure your site is completely navigable with one thumb and requires no “pinching.”
Keep in mind that mobile-visitors will be using fingers instead of typical mouse pointers. This is important when thinking about functionality and UX. You want visitors to be able to navigate your mobile-friendly website with one hand. Going back to the importance of font size, if users must pinch to zoom, your written content is probably too small.
Unsure if your content is compatible with touch screens? Try out this touch table by Peter-Paul Koch.
7. Your Contact Information Should be Easy to Find
You’d be surprised at how often companies fail to make their contact information easily accessible. Often, visitors are going to your website on a mobile device to find hours of operation, contact information or perhaps directions to your clinic’s location. Use a large button link for contact information, or include the information at the bottom of your mobile pages.
Don't hide your contact information from mobile visitors
8. Never Stop Testing Your Mobile-Friendly Website
Remember, you don’t need to redesign your entire website or create an expensive mobile app to tap into the mobile market. You can ensure your mobile-friendly by keeping content on your website organized, up-to-date, relevant, and easy to read. You can also use free tools that test your website for mobile-friendliness, such as:
By keeping these tips in mind, you can ensure that your vet clinic’s website is mobile-friendly for potential customers everywhere.
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