With smart phones and tablets overtaking traditional PCs in the marketplace, business owners must be keenly aware of how their website looks and behaves in the mobile environment. A clunky experience for mobile users can cut you off from a significant number of potential customers particularly in the much-coveted local market. Approximately half of U.S. adults own a smartphone and for a whopping 28% of Americans, their mobile device is their primary way of accessing the web. Despite this growing user base, 93 percent of small and medium-sized business (SMB) websites are not mobile compatible.
That means if you own a business now is the time to get your site up to snuff.
There are a couple of approaches that are currently used to accommodate the variety of devices that your site may be viewed with. One is to use scripts that detect the device and then direct the user to a separate site that is designed for a specific device or a class of devices. While this gives a greater level of control on specific devices, it is expensive to build multiple versions and tedious to maintain.
The better alternative is to to make a website that works equally well on every device. This is known as responsive web design.
Responsive web design uses “media queries” to determine the resolution of device that the site is being viewed with. The Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) then serve images and fluid grids that size the layout to fit the screen. For example, if you drag the corner of the browser screen that you are viewing this page with and make it smaller you will see the content and navigation shrink, then the sidebar will disappear as it is repositioned at the bottom of the single column of content. It works the same way on the index page of responsive sites as all of the content shrinks and is reassembled to fit in a clean design for any resolutions.
The great thing about this approach is that all of the content of the site is available regardless of what device is being used. From articles to image galleries and video, all of the content is served to mobile devices in a responsive site.
It is also possible to add elements that are only visible at smaller resolutions like those of Â mobile devices. This means the design can cater specific elements to smart phone users to leverage the capabilities of their devices. For example, a banner ad touting a call to action that uses a trackable phone number that is designed for “tap-to-call” could be inserted prominently on the home page just for mobile users. Mobile browsers also allow developers to access applications on devices creating theÂ possibilityÂ to add “tap-to-map” for turn by turn directions directly from a website and many other functions. These types of enhancements launch a whole new realm of possibilities for creative marketing.
Whatever your particular business is, now is the time to convert your website to a responsive website. Itâ€™s an investment that will pay dividends well into the future. Your marketing will benefit from the flexibility it provides and the mobile audience will continue to grow.