According to a 2013 Pew Research report, 57% of American adults use their cell phones to access the Internet. Even more interesting is the fact that 34% of these users access the internet using their mobile device.

To build effective websites for these mobile users, it is possible to proceed in three directions. The first is to rely on hope, and do nothing special for small devices. For site designs popular in the 1990’s, this might not be a bad option since most things then were big, clunky, and easy to click. But as site design has progressed to much more complex layouts, the other two options must be considered.

Many WordPress themes are advertised as being responsive. Responsive means that the design elements of the site will expand and collapse (or shift and stack) gracefully as the display size changes. This works well but does place some restrictions on design. This option does not always provide the best user experience for mobile either.

Perhaps the very best approach is to have a a mobile-specific version of the site. Here, the navigation and data presentation can be targeted specifically to people on-the-go. Mobile-specific design can tailor navigation links both in name and size/position to facilitate rapid access on small screens.

All three methods have some drawbacks. For the “hope” website layout, unless the site design is exceedingly simple, the drawbacks are too many to ignore. This means that most sites should either be responsive, or use a mobile-specific site, to accommodate the large (and getting larger every year) number of visitors using their cell phones to pay you a visit.

At Maximum Design, we recommend either responsive design or a mobile-specific site for our clients (depending on budget parameters). We think about mobile. Can we help you to ensure you have a mobile presence for your brand?

 

Author: Benson Wills – Digital Manager (More about Benson HERE)